Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: 80% of CEOs don’t trust marketers. We have about the same reputation as used car salesmen. And for good reason — too many marketers are creative but lack business savvy, particularly when it comes to the reality of the sales funnel and measuring ROI.
The idea of hiring a VP of Marketing or an outsourced marketing team sends waves of nausea over most CEOs/presidents/partners. It’s one of those tasks on the to-do list that weighs heavily and keeps getting moved to a future date.
Well, today we’re going to make that task a little less nauseating. We’re going to look at the two different types of (legit) marketers and give you guidance on which is right for your individual company.
This should give you confidence that you know what to look for, and we’ll offer a few guidelines that will help you evaluate potential hires or outsourcing partners.
Where Most Companies Begin
Most B2B companies start out either with the partners being responsible for finding leads or with the leadership delegating marketing tasks to one or two creative folks who can design marketing materials, write blog posts, and work their way around social media — in the hopes that the activity somehow results in new leads. Lead generation is slow. Cohesive, strategic campaigns that attract a stream of targeted prospects are rarely, if ever, done. At some point, the leadership realizes they need to get serious about generating leads that the partners or sales team can nurture and then close.
When your company reaches the point where you’re ready to take that step, you want to make sure that the VP of Marketing or outsourced marketing company you’re hiring is going to be strategic and focused on business objectives. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a bunch of fancy ads and collateral that looks good but doesn’t result in any new leads.
The Two Types of (Legit) Marketers
Let’s take a look at the two types of marketers or outsourced marketing teams that smart companies typically hire. (We’re not considering incompetent or sleazy marketers who claim to be “gurus” — you know you don’t want one of those. We’re looking at legit professionals whose approaches are each valid in different situations — so you can evaluate what type you need.)
Brand marketing is what it sounds like: it’s focused on brand awareness, building and maintaining a brand. Its goal is to make the brand top-of-mind when a prospect is ready to shop, a no-brainer decision to at least get in touch for a consultation or a demo. Brand marketing has succeeded when its target market immediately places the brand into the consideration set when prospects start the buying process.
Think billboards, TV ads, national sponsorships, the types of things you see the big guys doing. Brand marketing primarily works best for established companies who have secured their place in the market, because it’s incredibly expensive. If you’re bringing in $5 million in revenue, you probably don’t want to devote at least $1 million of that revenue to brand marketing. But if you’re bringing in $20 million, it starts to make a whole lot more sense. Brand marketing is for companies who have laid the foundation and are now ready to dominate.
Demand Generation Marketers
Demand generation is more grassroots. It works closely with Sales to identify what a qualified lead looks like and what he/she cares about, and then creates and implements strategic campaigns to drive action that results in contacts (leads) that can then be nurtured and called by Sales (if they don’t call first) when the time is right.
Demand generation marketers are all about the numbers. If $X is spent, that should result in Y leads that turn into 4 x $X in revenue.
Each demand generation marketing campaign starts with a very targeted group of prospects, considers what offer and message would resonate best with that group, crafts conversion-optimized landing pages and matching ads, and strategically places those ads where the prospects are already visiting or reading. Ad spend is optimized as well, to get the lowest CPC for the highest number of leads that fit the qualified lead profile. Everything is tracked and measured, and campaigns are continually tested and honed for even better results.
A demand generation marketer will be able to tell you exactly how much each lead cost the company for any given campaign, as well as which platforms and ads performed the best. Metrics and ROI are the focus of the demand generation marketer.
Demand generation works best for companies who are ready to invest in marketing, but who need to see real ROI with every campaign. They don’t have time to wait for brand awareness to build to a level where it begins to deliver revenue — they’ll run out of cash before then. These companies typically are in the $1 million to $10 million in revenue stage. They have money to invest, but they need it to pay off sooner rather than later.
How Do You Spot Each Type of Marketer?
When you’re talking with a brand marketer, you’ll hear a lot about the brand, naturally. They’ll talk about “building the brand”, “generating awareness”, and “making sure the brand is in the consideration set”. They’ll talk about market research and the need to learn the market’s perception of the brand. They’ll discuss media buying for TV, radio, and outdoor, and their experience with it. They’ll probably also talk about generating awareness with digital display ads and social media. They may recommend print ads, depending on the product/service and the market.
When you’re talking with a demand generation marketer, you’ll hear about understanding the psychographics of your various buyer personas, digging into pain points and how to communicate in language that resonates. They’ll talk about creating integrated, strategic campaigns that target individual verticals or markets, with very specific goals in mind. Their focus will be on delivering the biggest bang (the most qualified leads) for the buck. They’ll stress the importance of conversion optimization, user experience, and split testing. They get excited when they talk about the ROI of campaigns they’ve completed.
There will be, of course, some overlap with each of these types of marketers, but you should be able to get a sense of focus.
If a marketer isn’t talking about any of these things, only the “cool” tools and latest platforms you “need” to be on, and stressing his or her guru status, you’re probably looking at one of those people who give marketers a bad name — there are lots of them out there.
Armed with these profiles, you should be able to determine which type of marketer you need, identify the brand marketers and the demand gen marketers, and more quickly evaluate which individual or outsourced team is the one you want to work with.