• After many years of experience, it might seem like there’s nothing new in demand creation – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth
  • High-growth companies are always looking for better or more effective ways to work
  • Leading demand marketers are thinking about learning databases, agile programs, programmatic ad buying and privacy

Nearly 10 years ago, I began implementing my first marketing automation platform (MAP). At that time I had no experience in MAPs and therefore no idea that it would kick off a whole new perspective about what demand creation is – bringing together people, processes and technology with a disciplined methodology that puts marketing right in the critical path of revenue. The era of the science of marketing had begun.

Fast forward 10 years, and the mystery that surrounded demand creation at that time seems like it’s all but gone. Many marketers have implemented demand creation technology and processes in multiple companies. It’s easy at this point to think “We’re good – our MAP is up and integrated with our SFA, we’ve got drip nurture programs, visibility into our Demand Waterfall® and a decent Web site.” But when I hear comments like that, I can’t help but think of Intel’s Andy Grove, who famously said: “Success breeds complacency; complacency breeds failure.”

The Future of Demand Creation

For those who are not complacent, here are five areas of demand creation research areas that SiriusDecisions is leading that should make your “what’s next” or “future picture” list:

  1. A continuously learning prospect database. By connecting a prospect database to predictive engines and external data feeds that include third-party attributes and behaviors (intent data), companies can continuously update both account and contact records and maintain surveillance over “shopping” behaviors. Additionally, predictive algorithms can continually maintain prioritization and program/tactic assignments.
  2. An agile program management process. Building agility into the program implementation process is all about starting smaller in scope and allowing the data and insights to shape the evolution of the program over time. Embrace program and tactic experimentation, frequent feedback and the ability to course-correct as insights are gained.
  3. Programmatic ad buying. This involves utilizing algorithms that can be set for the spend limits, target audiences, and sites/ad inventory desired. With programmatic buying, advertisers can buy media more efficiently by removing the human aspect traditionally needed in order to understand demographic, firmagraphic or behavioral data, as well as performance.
  4. Getting ready for GDPR. By May 25, 2018, all companies doing business in the EU, irrespective of their headquarters location, must comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and secure an opt-in before being able to establish an ongoing marketing dialogue with a prospect. This regulation is the catalyst to two parallel sets of activity. First, there is the issue of data compliance and the process that companies must go through to understand, audit, plan and operate their programs in a compliant fashion. Second, and in many ways more challenging, is the need to improve market engagement by driving opt-in demand creation and utilizing preference centers, because emailing to purchased lists will no longer be an option where the regulations are in place.
  5. Embedded digital. As the buyer’s journey becomes increasingly digital and the line between digital and non-digital touches begins to blur, the ability to seamlessly plan all marketing and deliver a consistent, mutually supportive set of interactions to prospects will be the hallmark of an effective demand creation team. These teams will break down the traditional barriers between the strategy, planning, execution, measurement of digital and traditional marketing within the organization to establish a common process designed to drive demand and revenue.

Demand creation best practices are refreshing every year as new technology, regulations and buyer behaviors emerge. So if you’re thinking “We’re done” – it may be time to think again.

Discover five planning assumptions that will impact demand marketing leaders in 2017. Download SiriusDecisions’ 2017 Demand Creation Planning Assumptions Guide.