Marketing Tactics Are Changing At Light Speed, And What Worked Last Week Might Not Work This Week
I’ve been in marketing for over 30 years. I’ve been running an agency that works with clients of all shapes and sizes for over 18 years, and I don’t remember a time when the demand generation tactics and playbooks we use to get clients results have evolved so quickly.
Some of the demand generation tactics we used for clients last year are already different this year. It’s our job to keep up to speed on what’s working and what’s not working so well anymore. We bring that expertise to our clients. This expertise spans all the clients we work with, and this experience is one of the major advantages of working with a demand generation agency.
But the pace of change is accelerating. It’s hard for most marketers to keep up.
Here are the six new tactics we’ve been using for clients to improve the performance of their demand generation programs and get them better results.
Video is not new, but how you use it might be. First, most people think video is expensive, is time-consuming and requires a production crew. If you want to make a high-end corporate video, all of that might be true.
But today, video is more available than ever before. The technology both for capture, production and post-production is easy to use, affordable and accessible to almost anyone.
Take a look at this video. We shot it on an iPhone with a portable video kit, portable green screen and an iPhone app to manage the shoot.
The video footage was picked up a minute after the shoot wrapped via the app, and post-production was done in 24 hours. The video under $1,000 to make.
With a little guidance, experience and the right tools, anyone could make a video like this – or 10 videos like this. If you want to create a ton of videos for your company, this is the ticket.
But there’s more.
Zoom introduced us to a wonderful video capture platform. In fact, all of the video conferencing and virtual selling platforms have video and audio capture capabilities.
You can easily record an interview with a customer. You can have an hour-long conversation with a thought leader and record it. You can do a joint webinar, host an ask-me-anything session or have a recorded office hours session that features your company and the participants on one of the video meeting platforms.
Once you get the recording, which can be stored on the cloud or on your laptop, sending the video and audio files to a video editor is easy. Give them instructions on how to package your video footage, how you want it edited and what branding you need. You’re ready to go, and you can have new videos every week.
Finally, this last idea will blend with our next recommendation for demand generation tactical upgrades, but podcasts and video are quickly blending together. We’ve been referring to them as vodcasts.
Most podcasters, including the best ones like Joe Rogan, record both audio and video during their podcast interviews and publish both video and audio files post-production.
The videos make it to their YouTube channel as video shows, while the podcasts end up on the podcasting platforms as the latest episode of their podcast. By thinking about the content this way, you kill two birds with one stone.
You can use video and audio shows in a variety of distribution strategies, such as shared on social, emailed to customers and prospects, positioned on your website, included in lead nurture and sales nurture cadences or served up by sales in their conversations with prospects.
The uses are almost limitless, and the ability to scale this type of content is magical.
Since we mentioned podcasting up above, let’s keep going and talk in more detail about using a podcast to drive demand generation.
Some of you might not be sold on podcasts. Maybe you don’t listen to them, but a lot of other people are heavily into podcasts.
Here are some data points from Edison Research and Triton Digital:
- 78% of Americans are now familiar with podcasting
- 57% of Americans have listened to a podcast
- Podcast listeners have grown 29.5% over the last three years
- 41% of Americans listen to podcasts every month
- Monthly podcast listeners have grown 61.5% over the past three years
More people are listening, and they’re listening more frequently.
Here’s the downside to starting your podcast: Podcast Insights reports there are more than two million podcasts and over 48 million podcast episodes.
This means your podcast had better stand out. It needs to be remarkable and sustainable. My mother once told me, “If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say anything at all.” That’s good advice if you’re considering starting a podcast.
However, I know almost everyone has something interesting to say. It’s just about finding the right story and the right voice.
Thought leadership is important to every business. You have to take a stand, take a position, make a point, grab an area of the industry and make it yours. If you don’t, your marketing in general is going to languish and underperform.
That is especially true today when most people are looking for the companies they do business with to take a side, have a position and articulate it publicly. This is your chance.
If you think you have something to say, next consider your format. Our podcast, Smash The Funnel, uses a traditional 30-minute guest interview format. While that is easy, it’s also very common, so I suggest you try something different.
These short podcasts feel rushed, the guests have an agenda to promote and the content becomes ordinary. Even if I get Gary Vaynerchuk to be a guest, is he going to say anything different than his 100 other podcast interviews? I doubt it.
You have to make sure your format is remarkable. Look at Joe Rogan, who runs podcasts that span three hours or longer. His conversations are deep and his guests go into detail. His audience loves it.
Consider having a co-host. This takes some pressure off you, provides a different feel to the podcast and allows you to potentially attract a new audience to your company.
Finally, make sure you understand who you want to attract to the podcast as listeners, then focus on what they want to learn.
When it comes to guests, an interesting execution we’ve been using successfully is inviting targeted prospects. Get your account-based marketing (ABM) targeted account list and invite those people to be guests on your show.
Almost no one turns down an invitation to be on a podcast. Most people will be flattered and excited. Keep the topics to areas that allow your guest to shine, and during the interview you can work to uncover areas of challenge.
After the show is over, ask to continue the conversation and see if you can help them with their challenges. At the very least, you made a new friend in your target market and helped promote their brand. It’s a no-lose situation for you and your company, and it’s a big opportunity to gain a high-target prospect, too.
3) Facebook Paid
When it comes to paid social, most B2B companies turn to LinkedIn. This makes sense, because it’s the business social media platform. But therein lies a number of challenges.
First, I don’t know about you, but my feed, my messages and my inbox are filled with people doing cold outreach. They don’t know me or my company, and they’re only interested in selling to me. Most marketing and salespeople have oversaturated LinkedIn with worthless messages and content.
What you should know today is that Facebook offers marketers an equally efficient way to get in front of your prospects and at a much more reasonable cost. LinkedIn ads are running over $5 per click, while Facebook ads are between $1 and $2 per click.
Your prospects are on Facebook just as much (or more) than LinkedIn, and they might be on Facebook at a time when a strategically placed ad cuts through the clutter and tells an important story.
We’re currently testing ads that run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and all day during weekends. CEOs, CMOs, CROs, COOs and other executives are checking Facebook at off-hours. Right now, these ads are outperforming the Facebook algorithm-served ads by a decent margin. Stay tuned for more on the results.
Because of the targeting capabilities and the data in Facebook, you can serve up a highly targeted, highly personal ad to almost anyone at any time you want for a reasonable price.
Facebook advertising should be part of your demand generation playbook. At the very least, consider it a test to see if you can use it efficiently and effectively to drive your brand.
4) Weekly Live Webcast
The event space has changed dramatically since the pandemic started. All events, trade shows and conferences were canceled. Today, only a few of these are coming back in 2021, and while more might come back in 2022, I don’t think events will ever be the same.
Virtual events popped up last year and continue this year. Unfortunately, these pale in comparison to live in-person events. While cheaper to attend and produce, virtual events struggle to keep people’s attention.
Although some technology platforms have made these better for attendees, it’s still not a sustainable substitute. Big events, conferences and trade shows might never return in the same way.
But there is an alternative format that has gained traction and is providing a lot of value to both attendees and the people running these kinds of events – smaller live events done more frequently.
Consider this: You have a monthly webinar that gets 200 registrations and 80 people to attend. You have no idea how much they gained from the event. You market to them post-event and the response is weak. That’s not productive from a revenue generation or demand generation perspective.
Now consider an alternative: You run a weekly live event that gets 20 people to attend. Because it’s live, they ask questions and they’re engaged. They might come back next week and may even tell a few people they know. Over time you get 40 people to attend live. You build your brand in an authentic and intimate way. You help people one-to-one instead of one-to-many. Rather than selling or presenting, you’re talking to them and working with them.
This costs less, requires less of your time and produces better results. This should be part of your demand generation plans for the rest of this year and into 2022. Record the sessions, post them to your website and share them with your social followers.
Consider doing this jointly with a noncompetitive partner to extend your reach and audience while growing your own contact list. More on that in the next section.
5) Joint Web Events With Partners
Eventually, your ability to grow your contact database might start to slow. Your list might start to get a little stale. While you’re generating net new names from inbound, it’s still slow and steady up to the right progression.
A time may come when you need more leads and you need them fast. Consider partnering and doing joint marketing or joint web events with partners to quickly grow your brand’s awareness and jump-start your results from demand generation tactics.
If you sell technology, services partners might be a good fit. If you sell services, technology partners might do the trick. If you sell professional services, complementary services firms could be a wonderful combination. If you manufacture, find a partner that manufactures a noncompetitive but related product. There are almost always a few potential partners that can become part of your partner marketing program.
They market your event to their audience, they drive attendance to hear you talk and they become prospects for your business. You provide the same access and potential prospects to them, and it’s a marriage made in heaven.
While we’re talking about events, you can also do joint marketing with partners around content. Each partner brings a piece of educational content (whitepaper, e-book, tip guide, playbook, etc.) and you both joint market each other’s content to each other’s contact database. The results are the same – net new names in your database for you to nurture and grow into new business.
The real secret here is having the right partners. You want partners that are good at marketing and that you can trust to not sell but rather help guide and advise. This is an important and often missing element in demand generation programs.
6) Organic Social – LinkedIn
The last demand generation tactic in our new playbook is LinkedIn organic. This means using LinkedIn to drive demand not with ads but with content that people share, engage with, comment on and remember.
It’s possible that some of what we’ve covered above – like video, podcasting, live events and partner marketing – can be used as part of your LinkedIn organic effort.
In fact, more than possible, it should be probable. The key to many of these new tactics is being able to execute it at scale, and by leveraging assets on LinkedIn you can drive more organic engagement.
One item to consider is whether to use your company LinkedIn account or your personal LinkedIn account. Our research and experiments show that people connect more frequently with other people rather than with companies.
This means you should use your personal account and have other people at your company use their personal accounts, too. While the company account has a place in this strategy, the real power is leveraging your personal brands to attract attention.
Because there is a direct relationship between you and your company, the company will gain brand awareness and demand, but using your personal brand drives this faster since most prospects will trust people over companies.
Keep close track of comments, likes and shares. You’re looking for engagement. If you post something and no one comments on it, move on to another topic. If you post something that gets a ton of engagement, consider that topic for blog articles, videos, podcast episodes and live events.
By now you should see how all of these new demand generation tactics are threaded together. This is going to help get the one plus one equals three formula to execute. It’s also going to allow you to scale all six of these programs in a reasonable and efficient way.
Get started now, because you might need a few months to feel comfortable with these new plays. But in no time the results will keep you going.
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