Building a Demand Generation Strategy

The A8 formula for a demand gen engine

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1. Review Goals & Business Objectives

Get a good understanding of the overarching business objectives, departmental, and team goals. It’s critical to understand what you’re aiming to achieve in order to be able to build the programs to achieve it. But goals aren’t set with just revenue in mind. Although revenue is important, so is establishing brand authority, and perhaps most importantly is serving your buyer with real solutions to their problems.

2. Audiences and Segmentation

Once you have a good understanding of what success looks like at each level, all attention needs to be given to your audience - the most valuable asset a marketer can have. Leverage segmentation & automation to achieve your goals. Create personas based on demographics, firmographics, buying roles, funnel placement, and behavior-based data. Automate list membership using active lists that add or remove contacts based on the aforementioned data & behavior triggers. The more you understand your audience, the better you can sell and market to them; which also means that keeping good data hygiene is critical.

3. Channel Selection

Now that you have your segments strategically broken out, meet them where they are, and incorporate as many relevant channels as possible. You’ll find that there will be some trends with where you can spot your audiences, but the reality is that there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to target everyone on just one channel. Use targeting and data to inform your channel selection. Campaigns integrating 4 or more digital channels will outperform single- or dual-channel campaigns by 300%. (Gartner Research via Business2Community). Here are some of the major channels leveraged by B2B marketers:
    i.  Email
    ii.  Organic Social
   iii.  Paid social
   iv.  Paid search
   v.  Organic
   vi.  Display
  vii.  Events
 viii.  Direct Mail
   ix.  Partnerships & Affiliates
    x.  Sales Outreach

4. Messaging & Content

With your channels now selected, messaging and content become key. Talk to your audience in their language and offer relevant content and self-education opportunities. It’s not just about the type of premium content you want to offer them, it’s also critically important to give thought to how your messaging positions that content. The content will likely be on a landing page that users will arrive at upon clicking an email or an ad; how will the messaging be tailored to the audience? Each segment may get different content offers, but the positioning of that whatever the content is should vary even more to ensure relevancy. Here are some of the most used content types in B2B marketing:
   i.  Ebooks
  ii.  Whitepapers
  iii.  Webinars
  iv.  Podcasts
   v.  Videos
  vi.  Blogs

5. Automation & Handoffs

With lists built, channels selected, content and messaging prepared, transitioning into automation is the next step.Leveraging marketing and sales automation reduces operational lift, creating seamless handoffs to sales and customer success. Workflows can manage assignments, change/update lead statuses & lifecycle stages, funnel mapping, lead scoring, dynamic content, and triggered communication. 

6. Conversion Opportunities

What makes B2B demand gen unique is that everything must be tracked digitally and there are a few different vehicles for tracking conversions. You may not want to gate all of your content with a form, but perhaps you leverage a chat bot instead. Or perhaps instead of sending someone from an ad to a landing page, use lead gen forms provided by paid social channels. Events, landing pages, forms, etc., are all ways that people can convert, so next up is strategically mapping user journeys to determine the best placement for conversions. 

7. Tracking & Measuring

Gather actionable data, interpret findings, and inform decisions on your next steps. To do this, tracking and measuring have to be considered before any campaigns or systems are built out, because setting a marketing user journey up to be fully tracked often requires setting things up differently. For forms, consider using hidden fields and UTMs to pass more valuable data through; for campaign performance, ensure that all assets are tied to the campaign object and get a holistic view of your campaigns. Track funnel stages and align the data with your campaigns. Track visitor cookies and tie them to contacts upon conversion. Build dashboards to visualize your data and performance. 

8. Optimizing & Iterating

Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your efforts by analyzing the data you’ve tracked along the way. Based on those findings, adjust your strategy accordingly; if you’re seeing a high ROI on a campaign, invest more budget into it; if you’re seeing high CTRs on ads but low conversion on the landing page, adjust the landing page messaging/layout. Test these through A/B variants, and optimize your content to account for the winners.