Loosening your Prospect’s Status Quo is Demand Generation Job #1: Three Ideas for How to Do It

Demand Generation


I’m pleased to welcome Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at Corporate Visions, as a guest blogger. Corporate Visions helps global business-to-business customers create more sales opportunities, overcome the status quo, and win more deals by improving the conversations sales representatives have with customers. Tim has more than 20 years of experience in Marketing and Sales, and is the co-author of Customer Message Management: Increasing Marketing’s Impact on Selling. We are thrilled to welcome him.

We’ve been Marketo customers almost since the beginning. In that time, we’ve seen our Marketing department’s impact on new business and closed deals nearly quadruple — without any significant staff increases. Marketo has been the technology engine behind the campaigns and closed-loop processes that have driven that growth.

But even the best “engines” need the right gas to make it go. In this case, marketing automation needs differentiated, compelling messaging content to ensure that your investment goes the distance.

Messaging to Stimulate the Old Brain

Brain research proves that humans make decisions to “change” or “do something different” that are more adaptive than rational. This has major consequences for the way you develop messages and deliver them in your demand generation programs. Unfortunately, you may be mistakenly messaging for “information” vs. messaging for a “decision.”

People use their neocortex (new brain) to analyze information. But, they actually make decisions using the limbic system (old brain), which is designed to make the fast, instinctual choices that ensure survival. As it turns out, people (and prospects) tend to move away from pain faster than they move toward gain.

Many consumer marketers have figured this out. In B2B marketing, however, marketers tend to be driven by what your product is and what it does – features and benefits. But the last time I checked, a B2B prospect has the same brain as every other human. So, your messages and media choices need to change — potentially dramatically — to improve your demand generation performance.

The old brain craves visual imagery that shows contrast and emotional messaging that provokes its survival instinct. Here are the three biggest old brain-driven changes you need to consider to improve the conversion rates of the assets in your Marketo campaigns:

#1:  Video is a Great Medium

The old brain craves visual imagery over written words because there is no language capacity in the old brain. To activate your prospects’ old brains you need to transform your traditional written word messages into visual vignettes to deliver your early stage, status quo-busting messages. We use a technology created by Brainshark (who also happens to be a Marketo partner) to create short, prerecorded clips using PowerPoint to get our point across. No matter how great you think your copy is, assume your prospect is only going to read half of it. Its only job should be to drive your prospect to watch the video. I’m going to model this technique in the next two points.

#2:  Context Creates Urgency

Recent research shows that your prospects believe almost 90% of marketing messages fail to create commercial impact. In other words, your value propositions don’t cause prospects to want to do anything different. If you want to create more demand, you need to put your solution into an urgent context that gets your suspects to reconsider their status quo. Show them the threats, challenges, and missed opportunities that make their status quo “unsafe,” and put their desired outcomes at risk.   

Context Creates Urgency – WATCH 3-MINUTE VIDEO NOW

#3:  Contrast Creates Value

Your prospect’s old brain needs to see clear contrast to make a decision. A lack of perceived contrast between your solution and the status quo means the customer will not see enough value to change. They’ll think they can solve the problems with their existing solution. You must help them visualize the pains caused by their current situation, the gaps in their current approach, and show how the gaps won’t solve the pain and won’t allow them to realize the significant gain promised by your better approach.

Contrast Creates Value – WATCH 3-MINUTE VIDEO NOW

Your Distinct Point of View

What this post is suggesting is that you need to replace traditional approaches to creating value propositions with a new message and medium for creating and delivering a distinct point of view. If you want to go even deeper into this topic, check out www.corporatevisions.com where I provide more detailed content on how you can create more provocative content.

Did you find these three suggestions useful? Are there other tips that you think should be included? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.