Remembering the Basics…An Example from the Gridiron

I’m often asked by clients, prospects and colleagues to share my thoughts on current trends and topics such as social media, content marketing, mobile marketing, etc. It seem that the impetus behind these questions is the desire on many marketers’ part to find the next fastest “solution” to the problem of generating more demand, more leads and more qualified opportunities. This line of thinking doesn’t necessarily do the marketing community much good, especially when it comes to the view other disciplines have of marketing. For example, The Fournaise Marketing Group conducted a survey among CEO’s, asking them for their opinions on marketing teams. “74% of them said that marketers focus too much on the latest marketing trends such as social media, because they believe they represent the new marketing frontiers – but can rarely demonstrate how these trends will help them generate more business for the company.” (The Fournaise Marketing Group, 2011 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program).

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the use of new tools, leveraging innovation, and developing new strategies. But along with the “new”, we must also keep in mind that there are some tried and true fundamentals that are still applicable in today’s digital marketing world; key processes that, if implemented correctly, will allow marketers to achieve exponential success.

If you’re a football fan, then you’re probably familiar with Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959-1967. When he took over the team, they were dismal losers. Lombardi knew that the only way to make them a winning team was to remind them of the basics, to take them back to the fundamentals of football. It was with that thought in mind that he stood before his team, held up a pigskin, and uttered the famous quote, “Gentlemen, this is a football”. The rest is history.

In the same way, I’d like to take a few minutes and go back to revisit some of the “fundamentals” of demand generation. I don’t have a football handy, so instead, let me hold up a few demand gen basics you should ensure are in place. Although not an exhaustive list, these are tried and true processes and strategies that lead to success.

  • The Buyer Perspective: Yes, this is being promoted by some as a “new thing”. But the evidence is to the contrary. Companies like Proctor and Gamble have been studying the buyer for decades. To gain this perspective, components such as buyer types (personas) and buying process stages should be defined and used as the basis for your demand gen programs.
  • Data Segmentation: This is being able to properly parse out data according to buyer type, buying cycle stage, product or service affinity, etc. The better the segmentation, the more targeted you can be. Defining the buyer and the buying process is key to proper segmentation.
  • Lead Planning: This is the process of determining how many inquiries are needed to meet revenue goals. The best way to determine this is to begin with the revenue goal and work backwards.
  • Lead Management Process: The operational process for logistically managing the life of a lead. This includes lead qualification, processes for marketing-sales feedback, lead nurture program flows, and metrics reporting.
  • Marketing and Sales Integration: This is the communication process that allows marketing and sales to each understand their roles, and also to clearly communicate expectations and outcomes.
  • Metrics: This is the understanding of what to measure, why it should be measured, and how these measurements are going to be used to improve marketing and sales planning.

So let’s bring on the new, the improved, the innovation, the next set of bells and whistles. But as we look to use them, let’s not forget the fundamentals, the tried and true practices that still work today. Combining new and not-so-new is the winning combination.