• The Future Of Demand Generation Too Few Leaders Prepare For

    As a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or sales team leader, it’s easy to focus only on today’s tasks and take your eyes off the long-term horizon. However, with the Demand Generation industry constantly evolving, and at a rapid pace, there are certain trends and developments that simply can’t be ignored.

    In this final part of a three part series with Carlos Hidalgo, of ANNUITAS, on the role of Demand Generation at enterprise companies, we dive into how marketing and sales leaders need to prepare their teams for the future.

    In the first interview, Hidalgo discussed the relationship between Demand Generation, sales and marketing, and in the second interview, we took a closer look at the role of content marketing and buyer insights for Demand Generation.

    As the CEO and Principal of ANNUITAS, Hidalgo has nearly two decades of experience in the fields of Demand Generation, B2B sales and lead generation.

    Emma Vas: How do you think B2B marketing and sales have changed the most in recent years?

    You Need Buyer Insight Before You Create Content For Your Demand Generation ProgramCarlos Hidalgo: “It used to be that marketing was just doing what sales wanted or needed you to do. That has changed dramatically. From a strategic approach, marketing is much more important because of how things have changed from a buyer perspective.”

    Vas: What is the most important factor in Demand Generation that Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Revenue Officers are missing today?

    Hidalgo: “I think the biggest thing they’re missing is the need for Change Management. Too many organizations are repeating the same practices over and over again but expecting different results – which is the definition of insanity.

    Most companies are running around 15+ different marketing campaigns per year, which is more than one a month. This number is confirmed by studies from ANNUITAS, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Forrester.

    Typically, these short campaigns are ineffective. Their turnaround is too quick, and they don’t truly qualify the ‘leads’ they generate. There’s also no continuity between different campaigns.

    Unfortunately, a lot of organizations are built to support that campaign model. They have a lot of teams that are siloed with individual tactics. Chief Marketing Officers have to understand that there is a need for Change Management from the perspectives of people, process, content and technology.

    We have to change the way we do B2B marketing, because buyers are light-years ahead of us in terms of sophistication. They want conversations; they don’t want campaigns. They want dialogue; they don’t want one-off contact. They don’t want to be ‘handed off’ to sales; they want continuity with an organization.

    Those things all take substantial change. It changes how we think. It changes how we develop content. It changes how we design programs. It changes how we use technology. And it certainly changes how we’re organized as firms.

    Change Management involves an element of cultural transformation, which you may not be willing to make as an organization. But, without Change Management, you sink a lot of money into technology and content, expecting different results. You may end up marginally moving the needle, but with more organizations expecting you to drive greater revenue and pipeline growth, your investments won’t yield a significant result.

    Demand Generation isn’t just about content marketing. You have to fundamentally change if you want to succeed in this modern, sophisticated, buyer-centric world.”

    Vas: What coming changes or disruptions to Demand Generation should CMOs and business leaders be preparing for?

    Hidalgo: “They have to prepare for more buyer sophistication. We are already behind from a marketing and sales perspective. We can’t afford to fall further behind.

    You need to ask yourself: How are you, as a marketing leader, going to adapt or change your content to what buyers are already doing? And, as much as I talk about marketers being behind, B2B sales people are even further behind.

    Honestly, CMOs need to step up and lead. In order to drive this transformation and adapt to what our buyers are doing, it’s going to take a lot of leadership from the top. Those who have the fortitude to lead will see a much better response and return from their marketing dollars.”

    Vas: Any closing thoughts on Demand Generation, sales and marketing?

    Hidalgo: “From a marketing perspective, it’s our game to lose. With all the changes happening in B2B demand generation, we should take this opportunity to take the bull by the horns and change our organizations for the better.

    We have the opportunity to bring tremendous value to our companies, and now it’s just a matter of grasping that opportunity.”