Today, B2B marketers have many core objectives – brand building, customer communications, multi-channel coordination…the list goes on. But regardless of what else your marketing strategy needs to accomplish, demand generation (the process of generating promising buyers for the sales team) probably tops the list.
At Marketo, demand generation is deep in the DNA of the whole marketing team – it’s not only a high-level objective, but also an on-going set of activities by which our performance as a marketing function is measured. In short, we take it pretty seriously!
But demand generation can mean quite different things to different marketing teams, and companies vary in how they define and measure it. In our recent survey with a set of B2B marketers in the UK, we set out to understand how marketers define demand generation, and the metrics they use to judge success. And while our survey was given exclusively to UK marketers, we thought the results were worth sharing with our entire international audience.
Notable Demand Generation Statistics
Here are some of the individual results worth noting (be sure to check out the entire report for our complete findings):
- 89% of marketers say that demand generation is either an important or primary focus for them
- Email marketing is still the most popular demand generation tactic by far, with 61% of respondents selecting it as their top choice
- Inquiries were the metric most popular for assessing success of demand generation activity (at 44%)
- 56% of respondents declared they were able to measure the impact of their demand generation activity on revenue creation
- But 74% answered “No” when asked whether they could forecast future demand.
- Nearly 80% of respondents answered “Yes” when asked whether they wanted to build closer alignment with sales
Differences in Definition and Maturity of Demand Generation Activity
While demand generation is clearly an important (often the primary) focus for marketers, there are significant differences in how they define what demand generation means to their organisation.
Tellingly, almost the same number of respondents suggested that demand generation is simply “the process of generating leads,” when compared to those who proposed that “demand generation extends from first touch to beyond sale.” This dichotomy illustrates the varying levels of maturity and sophistication that exist in the way marketing departments define, manage, and measure their demand generation activities.
Challenges in Measurement of Demand Generation Activity
We also found a wide diversity in the way marketers measured demand generation success. While some marketers said they measured sales-qualified leads and opportunity pipeline, measuring the number of inquiries – responses of audience members after a marketing campaign – was one of the most popular ways our respondents measured results.
The fact that inquiries still rank as one of the most important metrics suggests that many companies are still not syncing their marketing-generated leads with their customer relationship management tool (or CRM). Without synching these leads, marketers are hard-pressed to measure how their demand generation impacts revenue creation. Accordingly, nearly three-quarters of respondents said that they were not able to forecast future demand.
On the positive side, we found that most UK organisations are embracing the foundations of successful demand generation such as sales alignment, marketing technology adoption, and CRM integration – therefore moving into a much stronger, more strategic place. They can not only report on the metrics that matter to the C-suite, but also start to forecast demand and the impact the marketing team is going to have on the bottom line in months, quarters and years to come.
But what do you think? How do you your measure your demand deneration activity? Do any of these findings or themes ring true for your business? Read our full report, Generate More Demand: Research, Analysis, Best Practices, and let us know how your organisation lines up.