SiriusDecisions: Creating Demand Maps to Power Account-Centric Planning

As marketers find Demand Maps difficult to create, SiriusDecisions introduced a helpful process designed to help with the task.


Demand Maps can be used for the overall planning process, which should include marketing and sales.  Demand Maps allow reviewing all potential opportunities and prioritize them between marketing programs and sales plays.  Marketers can also use the maps for budget allocation.


The webcast discusses the Demand Map creation process, which is now used by a larger number of marketers.


SiriusDecisions library of webcast replays contains a treasure of materials!  Excellent place to start a preparation for many projects… 😉

HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2018

HBR.pngA pleasure to read as usual!  The collection typically includes articles, which I do not find attractive based on the topic or an industry and would not read otherwise.  However, these are often the articles with the most insight and the most unexpected perspective of the business in general.

A couple of most unexpected discoveries are below.

Customer Loyalty is Overrated

The problem: Product innovations often flame out on launch, despite tremendous efforts to make them attractive, relevant, and up-to-date.

Why It Happens: Customers don’t want to spend the mental energy needed to choose between products.

The Solution: To strengthen customers’ habits, innovations should represent a progression of the brand rather than a break with the past.

…you should find ways to make products fit in people’s environment to encourage use.  when P&G introducced Febreze, consumers liked the way it worked but did not use it often.  Part of the problem, it turned out, was that the container was shaped like a glass-cleaner bottle, signaling that it should be kept under the sink.  The bottle was ultimately redesigned to be kept on a counter or in a more visible cabinet, and use after purchase increased.

Tide: The new products all preserved the look of Tide’s traditional pasckaging – the brilliant orange and the bull’s-eye logo.  The few times in Tide history when that look was altered – such as with blue packaging for the Tide Coldwater launch – the effect on consumers was significanlty negative, and the change was quickly rerersed.

Visualizations That Really Work

Context: Knowledge workers need greater visual literacy than they used to, because so much data – and so many ideas – a not presented graphically.  But few of us have been taught data-visualization skills.

Tools are fine…   Inexpensive tools allow anyone to perform simple tasks such as importing spreadsheet data into a bar chart.  But that means it’s easy to create terrible charts.  Visualization can be so much more: it’s an agile, powerful way to explore ideas and communicate information.

…. But strategy is key:  Don’t jump straight to execution.  Instead, first think about what you’re representing – ideas or data?  Then consider your purpose: Do you want to inform, persuade, or explore?  The answers will suggest what tools and resources you need.

The Performance Management Evolution

The Problem: By emphasizing individual accountability for past results, traditional appraisals give short shrift to improving current performance and developing talent for the future.  That can hinder long-term competitiveness.

The solution: To better support employee development, many organizations are dropping or radically changing their annual review system in favor of giving people less formal, more frequent feedback that follows the natural cycle of work.

The Outlook: This shift isn’t just a fad – real business needs are driving it.  Support at the top is critical, though.  Some firms that have struggled to go entirely without ratings are trying a “third way”: assigning multiple ratings several times a year to encourage employees’ growth.

At GE a new business strategy based on innovation was the biggest reason the company recently began eliminating individual ratings and annual reviews.  …Supervisors will have an end-of-year summary discussion with subordinates, but the goal is to push frequent conversations with employees (GE calls them “touchpoings”) and keep revisiting two basic questions: What am I doing that I should keep doing?  And What am I doing that I should change?  

ON24 – Anatomy of an Awesome Webinar

ON24, not unexpectedly, started its dissection of an Awesome Webinar from the objectives (stage of the buying cycle and target audience need to be understood and articulated in advance).

ON24 also uses Campaign Brief for promotional activities and maintains a year-long schedule of upcoming webinars.  The schedule can be adjusted based on the popularity of unexpected topics throughout the year, but the framework needs to be established in advance.

Similar to BrightTALK, ON24 emphasizes early promotion and recommends 4 dedicated promotional emails to get the maximum attendance for each event.



ON24 changes email format (general HTML email and a personal TEXT email from the presenter) to get maximum visibility.  Interesting: the last email may be sent only to those who visited the registration page, but did not sign up for the webinar. 




Webinar title is part of the creative ideation process, which can also be related to the promotion.  A good slide to consider during the preparation discussion is below.




ON24 shared 2018 webinar benchmarks,  plus 10 Steps to Planning a Successful Webinar, and Driving Webinar Registrations Best Practices guide.

The data is somewhat different from 2018 benchmarks shared by BrightTALK, but the general idea is the same: planning, preparation, and promotion are needed to maximize the potential of a webinar program.


Book – Skin in the Game

book.pngThis is one of the books, which helps to think about life in general, history, and the future of the society and, at the same time, explains a few simple practical concepts.

The book is fantastic, as the other books of Nassim Nicholas Taleb I was fortunate to enjoy.

A couple of concepts in the book, I think, particularly useful and not always noted in reviews: minority rule and companies person.

Minority rule explains an imposition of a certain preference or taste of a minority to a larger population.  If some of the consumers prefer “non-GMO” food, and the cost of “non-GMO” food is not prohibitively high, producers are more likely to assure that all their products meet the requirement.  As people who do not have a strong preference would buy “non-GMO” food, but people with the preference for “non-GMO” would not buy products without a specific label, the minority inadvertently imposes its preferences to the larger population.


In promoting genetically modified food via all manner of lobbying, purchasing of congressmen, and overt scientific propaganda (with smear campaigns against such persons as yours truly), the big agricultural companies foolishly believed that all they needed was to win the majority. No, you idiots. As I said, your snap “scientific” judgment is too naive in these type of decisions. Consider that transgenic-GMO eaters will eat nonGMOs, but not the reverse. So it may suffice to have a tiny, say no more than five percent of evenly spatially distributed population of non-genetically modified eaters for the entire population to have to eat non-GMO food. How? Say you have a corporate event, a wedding, or a lavish party to celebrate the fall of the Saudi Arabian regime, the bankruptcy of the rent-seeking investment bank Goldman Sachs, or the public reviling of Ray Kotcher, chairman of Ketchum the public relation firm that smears scientists and scientific whistleblowers on behalf of big corporations. Do you need to send a questionnaire asking people if they eat or don’t eat transgenic GMOs and reserve special meals accordingly? No. You just select everything non-GMO, provided the price difference is not consequential. And the price difference appears to be small enough to be negligible as (perishable) food costs in America are largely, about up to eighty or ninety percent, determined by distribution and storage, not the cost at the agricultural level. And as organic food (and designations such as “natural”) is in higher demand, from the minority rule, distribution costs decrease and the minority rule ends up accelerating in its effect.

Another interesting concept is a “companies person.”


A company man is someone who feels that he has something huge to lose if he doesn’t behave as a company man –that is, he has skin in the game

If the company man is, sort of, gone, he has been replaced by the companies person, thanks to both an expansion of the gender and a generalization of the function. For the person is no longer owned by a company but by something worse: the idea that he needs to be employable.

A companies person is someone who feels that he has something huge to lose if he loses his employability –that is, he or she have skin in the game

The employable person is embedded in an industry, with fear of upsetting not just their employer, but other potential employers.

As I thought this approach was “smarter” than a “company man,” who often could not find another job after a layoff, the true picture is quite different: we, companies people, have more “masters” to please.  But, as marketers, we can appeal to this need and create “products” to reduce this fear…  🙂

BrightTALK – 2018 Benchmarks Report

Are the time when we knew the “secret sauce” of the “right” day of the week and the “right” time to promote the webinar over?  Maybe 🙂

One recommendation has not changed, however, over the years: BrightTALK still recommends three dedicated emails over three weeks before the webinar to generate the best results.  Reducing the number of emails will limit the webinar’s audience.


Interesting: the day of the week to promote the webinar does not play a significant role in generating registrations (BrightTALK measures registrations for the webinars rather than CTR or open rate of the email – very reasonable approach).

“Live Tomorrow” in the subject line seems to generate needed urgency (good to test in the future).


Another interesting point is the wide range of time to host the webinar to maximize live views.  BrightTALK recommends selecting time based on presenter availability (reasonably), as the difference is minimal.

webinar time.png

Financial industry – afternoon webinars might be more successful.

BrightTALK also did not see much difference in the day of the week when the webinar is scheduled.  In the past Tuesday through Thursday were considered more effective; the new data suggest that Monday – Friday is completely acceptable.  Mondays even showed a slight increase in the attendance compared to the rest of the week.


Marketers need to define the objective of the webinar (awareness?  lead gen?) and collaborate with the wider team on the promotion of an upcoming event (social, etc.)

Regions: presentations in the local language will increase attendance (Latin America example – over 1,000 live attendees tuned in to watch a webinar about WonnaCry Ransomware).


More interesting points from another BrightTALK webinar…  about webinars:

  • As the role of marketing is changing to influence the entire customer journey, many “awareness” tools used throughout the sales process and beyond.  Financial Services (as a target audience) are more likely emphasize customer marketing than a search of new logos.  Use of the webinars will depend on the objective of the marketing organization.
  • How to increase live attendance?  Ask to submit questions in advance.  Use social media buzz to generate the interest to questions and speakers.  Create a hashtag for the webinar, and promote it in advance.  Asking questions in advance increases live attendance.
  • Attracting attendees with a gift card – typically produces more registrants, but does not have a good conversion to pipeline – people are only interested in the gift card, rather than the topic of the event.
  • Creation of videos: understand first what are you trying to achieve and what audience are you targeting.  Then, reverse-engineer these objectives into an interesting topic and a story.
  • Measurement of webinar’s success also depends on the organizational objective.  BrightTALK ultimately measures bookings and also retention.  The objective of generating net new is measured by first touch and multitouch is used for the overall measurement of the program success.  Webinars can accelerate pipeline 30% (BrightTALK data).
  • This is a good report to review every year 🙂