The Demand Continuum helps marketers answer this all-important question.
We all have that person in our life.
The dear friend or family member that we see once a quarter for dinner or a drink, and each time they announce that they’ve undergone a drastic, diet-altering change.
“I’m no longer eating white foods!” they will say. Or, “I’ve given up fish, dairy, and nightshades.”
You know who I am talking about.
You love and admire this person for their willingness to experiment for better health. You envy their discipline. But you also wonder about the extremity of their choices.
When account-based marketing picked up speed, there was a tendency from our community to proclaim their divorce from demand generation.
“We’ve made the shift to ABM!” became a rallying cry, and usually coincided with an ABM-specific technology investment. “We’ve made the shift to ABM” was analogous to, “We spent a lot of money on this tool and need to shift focus to getting the most out of it.”
It was disconcerting to see many marketing organizations abandon their mature demand generation programs. Especially when ABM was yet unproven at their company. Especially because demand generation can work alongside account-based marketing to impact the marketing function’s sourced and influenced quota.
The co-mingling of demand creation and account-based marketing efforts in a marketing model is what gave way to The Demand Continuum, pictured below (open the Demand Continuum in a new tab to view the full size):
The Demand Continuum describes different families of marketing activities as they relate to the level of insight-driven relevance and personalization the marketing requires. When the audience is more specific – you know them. Therefore, you should be able to personalize your marketing in a meaningful way. When the audience is less specific, the personalization leans toward data and technology-driven.
Inbound Demand Creation
- Inbound demand creation is the least predictable of the program families because it relies on the accuracy of your buyer archetypes and how much they care about the content you’re putting in market. It’s reactive. The tactics are primarily digital in nature.
- The most popular arrow in the demand creation quiver is the targeted outbound program family. If you’re able to identify your ICP with confidence, you can acquire a list of buyers and begin marketing to them with light personalization based on the demographic (data points you collect about the buyer him or herself) or firmographic (data you collect about the account) attributes of their profile.
- The crucial difference between targeted outbound marketing and scaled ABM is the level of insight used to personalize. In a scaled ABM scenario, technology is used to personalize according to attributes above and beyond demographic and firmogrpahic information. Things like intent monitoring, psychographics and cognitive data are used to craft compelling messaging and offers.
- If you’re dealing in “hundreds” of accounts, you’re probably leaning toward account-centric motions. These types of programs involve critical clusters of accounts that look similar, are facing similar challenges, and have similar buying centers. The level of research and insight-led marketing required to be successful with account-centric motions is greater than with scaled ABM.
- There may be target accounts that represent a disproportionate amount of potential revenue for your business. When that’s the case, you need to treat that account like a market unto its own. A coordinated, deliberate executive engagement program is a way to make inroads into the account and create relevant, meaningful engagement at the highest levels.
Where should your revenue come from?
The demand continuum can help you answer this all-important question by organizing your programs into categories with associated deal sizes, conversion metrics, budget, and resources. Once you establish baseline metrics for each program type, it will become obvious where you should scale for the most impact.