How do you develop your demand generation plan?

September 30, 2020

Photo by Matthew T Rader

Demand generation plans typically include at least one of the following three components:

  1. Target audience;
  2. Marketing activities;
  3. Business goals.

I like to think of these components as the plan's “who,” “what,” and “why.”

Ideally, every demand generation plan would include all three components, but I suspect that’s not always the case due to poor organizational alignment, poor data management, poor performance measurement, etc.

For example, many demand generation leaders start with the “who” (based on input from their sales colleagues) and have some notion of what marketing activities to execute (based on cost per lead metrics or attribution models) and what goals they want to achieve (again, based on sales input), but these components are often disconnected.

Lack of alignment between these components (even if you have all three) is a real challenge; especially, if you don't also consider the level of effort required to achieve these goals.

Using all three components isn’t necessary, but there are risks to not including them, and best practice would suggest starting with “why” and working backwards to determine “what” and “who.” For example, decide what business impact you want to make, identify the requisite actions for making that impact, and target the audience primed for those actions.

Establishing and maintaining alignment isn’t easy, but it’s critical to ensuring what you do in the near-term has a meaningful long-term impact.

To illustrate my point, imagine “who,” “what,” and “why” as three circles in a Venn diagram.

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If the three circles don't intersect (or appear altogether), your plan risks misalignment.

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If your plan only includes two of the three circles, you risk:

  • wasting effort because you don't know why you’re doing what you’re doing;
  • not taking action because you don’t know what to do;
  • executing aimlessly because you don’t know who to target.

No one wants to find themselves in those situations.

If the three circles do intentionally intersect (i.e., alignment exists), that intersection is the key to determining the next best action for your business (i.e., the most efficient and effective plan for achieving your goals).

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After supporting a large, enterprise marketing team for many years, I've long aspired to make it easy for any marketing team to identify the next best actions for their demand generation plan so they can reliably, knowingly, and confidently impact their business and avoid those pitfalls that are all too common to the planning process.

Do you successfully incorporate "who," "what," and "why" in your demand generation plans? If so, how do you ensure alignment and identify the next best action for your business?

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Matt Webbink

Matt Webbink is the Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Klearly. Matt has spent 20 years building decisions support systems for enterprise B2B marketing teams and joined Klearly to democratize that data-driven decision-making capability for marketing teams of any size. He wants to empower those marketers with the information they need to confidently, credibly, and knowingly contribute to business growth. Matt's imagination was sparked (and continues to be fueled) by Star Wars, Lego, and the arts.