Generating demand starts with understanding

A couple interesting conversations about demand generation this week.

First was John Petralia, former Chief Marketing Officer of Iron Mountain.  John will present with me and Eric Andrews, VP Worldwide Demand Generation for IBM at the CMO Thought Leadership Summit in May.

John told me one of the problems he had at Iron Mountain was the fact that marketing always wanted to work on creative.  John made the point that customer understanding and planning must come first.  I agree with John.

This was reinforced by a presentation entitled “Three Steps to Developing Effective Calls to Action”  by Ahmed Director of Strategic Planning for Bulldog Solutionsbulldog-logo(If you ever get a chance to hear Ahmed speak, go for it.)  Ahmed walked the attendees through the foundational steps of generating demand.

It starts with Audience Development — taking a white board with Post It notes and sketching issues and concerns on two axises — Importance to Audience and Relevant to Product Offering. Top right is ideal.  Then you group the responses into Pain Points.

Next you work on customer personas.  You need to identify three behavioral traits:

  1. Pain Points
  2. Motivators (aspirational)
  3. Validators (decision making support)

Now one can start sketching out the issues and then and only then, start identifying gaps in creative.

In our next posting, we’ll start focusing on how to engage our audience with the information we learned in this step.

For companies looking for best practices in b2b lead generation who wish to improve the way they acquire new customers, Find New Customers is the place to go.  CSO Insights says companies need to improve the way they generate leads and implement processes for business to business lead generation.

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is a demand generation expert and sales leader, as well as the President of Find New Customers, a lead generation company, who helps businesses create lead generation campaigns and continually publishes the best lead generation ideas, so his readers can determine the best lead generation strategy to find new customers.  He can be reached at (516) 284-4930 or

2 thoughts on “Generating demand starts with understanding

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more – I had a stint in marketing at IBM (though never met Eric – looking forward to meeting him in May) and John nails it: far too many marketeers only had the faintest of ideas of what the business issues were, and many simply never met with the sales or technical folks – much less customers. As a result, ‘marketing’ was often seen as fluff, and often didn’t have a seat at the table.

    My advice to younger marketers: spend time – a lot – with the business folks. Get to know their issues and their language and don’t talk in marketing speak.

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