SiriusDecisions – Demand Creation Planning

SiriusDecisions is passionately helping marketers to prepare for 2019 with a few materials some of us find absolutely irresistible.

Marketers sometimes confuse programs with delivery mechanisms. A website or a content syndication effort are examples of delivery mechanisms, which support marketing programs. Delivery mechanisms include digital and non-digital channels (events, DM, etc.). I guess as we observe specialization of the marketing function, we also see a “merge” of digital and traditional delivery mechanisms into each demand-related family.

Interesting: as field marketing specializations persist, the definition of “what each function does” clarifies. Demand Marketing is probably no longer expects to evolve into ABM, but the definition of “Defined Demand Marketing” is definitely evolving. Some companies are starting to separate the roles, but may not yet fully separate the accounts.

SiriusDecisions recommend approaching marketing technologies selection from the perspective of business needs, rather than a specific task. Many technologies have overlapping capabilities, and business objectives consideration could help companies to find the best tool for the task and future needs.

Sample campaign performance report

Webinars, Webinars…

On24 runs a wonderful series of webinars on… how to run webinars. The insight is very useful and typically comes from companies, which are advanced webinar users (and religiously measure the success of their efforts).

How Ericsson is Growing Global Engagement Through Digital Events

  • Ericsson runs over 150 webinars a year; the number of webinars grows about 25% every year
  • Every campaign has a webinar component
  • Ericsson has webinar series specifically for analysts
  • Every physical event has a digital component
    • Challenge is packaging the event materials to be easily digested online
    • Many customers who attend physical events share video recording with colleagues (easiest way to share)
    • Physical events can be also used to prepare a “package” for a certain customer (ABM)
  • Video gets more engagement (no video needed if it is “just me talking,” the video is used when a piece of equipment, etc. could be demonstrated.
    • Ericsson partnered with a video production company
  • Webinars released just on-demand get slightly less attendance; attendees typically would like to ask questions
  • ABM: production webinars dedicated to specific accounts
    • Plan to expend this practice to additional accounts
    • 80% educational, 20% sales
    • Typically producing the webinar together with the customer
      • The customer sends invitations
      • Only employees of the target company can attend
    • This type of webinars get the most engagement
  • The best option for increased engagement: have 2 people to present as a dialog. This approach is less formal and usually preferred by the audience
  • Recommendation to experiment constantly around webinar content and delivery

Lessons from 1,000 webinars – Informa

Informa runs over 1,000 webinars a year in a very organized program (outgrew Excel as a program management tool).

  • 6 – 8 weeks cycle
  • Webinar registrations:
    • Majority of webinar registrants are coming from email
    • On24 promotes registration for the next webinar during the live event
    • On24 successfully tried LinkedIn for webinar registrations (less than $40 per registrant)
  • Case studies are a popular content type (strong registration)
  • Informa is seeing growth in a discussion-based webinars
  • Polls tip: if you can do a poll, where the audience will most likely answer a question in a certain way, and later in your presentation, you could show that this approach is wrong, it is a very powerful tool
  • Twitting during the live webinar brings additional registrants
  • Pre-recorded webinar:
    • polling is not possible
    • but a good option for multiple presenters with busy schedules
  • Webinar engagement correlates with a higher lead acceptance by sales (On24 data)

Expanding webinar program globally – Invidia

  • Nail down your process before global expansion
    • centralized calendar
    • process with clear timelines
    • central location with support materials
    • Templetize… everything!
    • Perfect the process and then share with regions
  • Regional events might require an additional week of preparation (translations, etc.)
  • Train one regional group at a time, and move to the next group when the first one is comfortable
  • Internal newsletter “Webinar Wednesday” – bi-weekly communication sent to the group of people interested in webinars in addition to Slack channel update
    • webinar best practices
    • tool changes
    • program update

How SFDC uses webinars

  • Why webinars are successful:
    • People are more comfortable providing their information in exchange for attending a webinar (information is valuable and they are accustomed to “register” for events)
    • Sales are more likely to follow up on webinar leads than some other type of leads (webinar attendees spent time listening to the company’s content)
  • SFDC uses a Webinar Brief, which is required 5-6 weeks in advance but promotes webinars only about 15 days in advance
  • Master webinar calendar is shared through the entire organization
  • Speakers are encouraged to promote webinars to their contacts
  • Sales are encouraged to promote webinars (marketing and sales promotional emails are used)

ANA – Breaking through with your CFO

event.pngWhile trying to connect with sales and negotiating with IT, marketers also need to convince a CFO that the dream initiative makes sense.  Based on the conversation at the last ANA Business Marketing event, the interest from finance is increasing.  Anecdotally, a financial representative is more likely to be present on a QBR an agency presents to the company this year compared to previous years.  Depending on the company size, it might be a CFO or another representative from Finance.  The question is the same: marketers need to present the case to the financial function of the company, and this function becomes more and more involved.

One of the first recommendations is actually “connecting” with the CFO, scheduling regular meetings, and learning CFO’s understanding (or misunderstanding) of marketing.  The conversation during the event suggested that this misunderstanding might be unexpected, and needs to be clarified first.

SiriusDecisions addressed a similar topic in its Think Like a CFO to Prove the Impact of Customer Engagement webcast.  During this presentation, a SiriusDecisions CFO explained marketers “how to speak his language,” and also gave a few very practical tips for justifying customer engagement initiatives.


Data is important for CFOs; smaller organizations, which may not have access to data science resources, could reduce the cost of the analysis by partnering with local universities.


SiriusDecision webcast is an excellent example of a framework to use and a case study presented by the CFO himself 🙂

SiriusDecisions Forum – Building an Audience-Centric B-to-B Content Engine


Ah… we somewhat know our personas, but not enough (based on the consensus of the forum’s audience).

But…  we have so many personas and programs!  We need to prioritize personas by programs.

Key issues:

  • B-to-b organizations understand that modern buyers seek more and higher-quality content than ever before
  • Very few b-to-b companies understand their buyers’ decisions process and thus struggle to create the right content at the right time for their buyers
  • With an audience-centric approach, organizations have an opportunity to deliver better-quality and higher-impact content while increasing scale and efficiency.

Though smaller companies (<$100M) produce about 80% of content internally, larger organizations (>$1B), produce about 53% of content internally.

The unfortunate situation is that advanced organizations do not distribute all created content (activate = distribute).  Just adding a piece of content to the website is not “promotion.”


Top reasons why the content is not used: findability and relevance.

Some organizations found success with the “content amnesty week” when any content can be easily re-surfaced without any questions asked about its original purpose and justification.

CXO Buyers indicate that previous experience with the company is the most likely reason behind the selection of the vendor (the experience does not require a previous purchase; it might be a webinar attendance, etc.).


CXO opinion:

  • Analyst reports are the most effective (Gartner, etc.)
  • Content provided by a rep is very influential in the vendor selection
    • Successful sales reps use more content than unsuccessful ones
    • Packaged demos are effective when promoted by sales
  • CXOs engage in human and non-human interaction with the company at the same rate throughout the buying process (education > solution > selection)
    • Live webinars are considered “human interaction”

Interesting point from the audience:

  • “Look at the sales data: what is helping sales?  Very useful data, but a lot of work to find it.”
  • “Understand why deals were lost.  In some cases, the culprit might be pricing or product features rather than content.”

Content strategy is the biggest pain for the organizations and usually absent.  When internal stakeholders demand: “We need more content!” the reasonable question is: “What are you trying to accomplish?”

SiriusDecisions provides Content Transformation Roadmap.  The recommendation is to try content transformation without…  telling anybody (if it is the easiest approach  🙂 ).  “Just do it!”

ANA – Marketing Leadership for the Driverless World


Why marketing?  Shouldn’t “driverless car” live in a technology universe?  If “driverless car” is left in the technology domain, it may never roll into the human world in its most helpful (and profitable) form. Marketers should shift the focus from the tech to the customer, and define business models of the future.

Do we need to buy a “driverless car?”  Maybe not…  Maybe the “car” is not necessary, and the concept of “mobility” eliminates (or includes) the concept of a “car?”

If we have a driverless vehicle for a limited use, what would be the ideal customer, who can instantly appreciate its benefit?  Driverless cars were tested in retirement communities.  “Mobility” opened new opportunities for residents to visit places, which were not accessible before.  The demand always existed, and now the technology offered a very valuable service.

The most interesting concept, from my perspective, is the question Sudha asked about the “Driverless World:” OK, the mobility can be available, but which business would want to pay for it?  Maybe, a shopping center?  These experiments are already underway…

The session took the audience on a wonderful trip into the future; the future of business.

ANA – Integrating AI/Machine Learning/Predictive Technologies into your Marketing Stack

Ah, marketers’ infatuation with AI!  But…  who can blame us when the same obsession can be observed in almost every industry and corner of the business world.  Though, all of us are still trying to figure out how to make it work – for our business.

Kevin Liu, Director of Marketing Operations at MongoDB, shared his experience with a couple of interesting (and now well-known) tools.

Kevin uses Lattice to improve lead scoring, which was previously set up in Eloqua in a traditional way.  Conversion increased dramatically after the switch.

MongoDB recreates scoring models every 6 to 12 months and employes several models: regional and market-specific.  A wonderful aspect of Lattice – no charge per scoring model, which allows flexibility and experimentation.


Kevin also uses Conversica, which is loved by reps!

An interesting aspect: MongoDB uses Conversica to manage the lead volume.  Depending on the workload of the SDR team, Conversica gets either more or less leads.

Webinar and White Paper leads are typically channeled to Conversica, as the leads are not as active, and few sales reps have the patience to go through all 8-touch process with this type of leads.  Conversica is happy to help!

ANA – Closed-Loop Customer Discovery

We may not think too much about the concept of an industry survey.  We might think more about an incentive to encourage a customer or a prospect to share with a marketer his infinite wisdom in the area where the marketer should know everything.  Somehow, the most important insight tend to escape the marketer, and, if found, is valuable to other potential customers.  Though we may not think holistically (or even long enough?) about an industry survey unless we are lucky to stop by a marketing event, hear interesting ideas, and start asking questions…

Closed-Loop Customer Discovery: Converges Demand Gen, Market Research & Thought Leadership


Another typical marketing approach: a survey might be intriguing for a person who is filling it out because he will get the aggregated report with answers of his colleagues and competitors.  Aha – this is a great opportunity to satisfy natural curiosity and…  generate some materials for marketer’s next demand gen program…  and never share with the product organization.

Closed-Loop Customer Discovery Center is based on understanding customer pain points, providing an assessment with a response immediately valuable for the responder.  This “evolved” assessment can be valuable for the responder again when he reaches the next milestone in his organization’s business journey.  This thought process not only satisfies prospect’s immediate interest and generates materials for the next thought leadership masterpiece, but also contributes to product ideas and gives sales insight.

Results can be rather remarkable.


SAP example of Analytics STrategy Assessment and the link to take the assessment.

book.pngThe cooperation and coordination between all involved groups are critical for the project.  The questions must be found on the intersection of customer pain points and the company’s product; the answers should provide value for the person who filled out the survey…  potentially, multiple times.

More information can be found in Adrian’s book, The 24-Hour Customer: New Rules for Winning in a Time-Starved, Always-Connected Economy, which is now on my reading list 🙂

Excellent event!