How Messaging Fits Into Demand Generation
Messaging and positioning are elements of marketing strategy as old as the discipline of marketing itself. But, unlike our marketing ancestors, modern marketing technologies now give marketers the ability to create better conversations with prospects in a dynamic and precise way. The old adage of right message, right time, right person has never been easier to execute. But beware! With great power comes great responsibility. Catalyst marketers know that truly understanding the buyer and their stage in the buying journey is the first, critical step to having conversations that delight, inform and ultimately sell prospects.
Leverage This Framework to Create Better Conversations
In his post “Demand Generation Framework, A Playbook for Impacting Revenue“, our Chief Strategy Officer, JT Bricker, explained the strategic elements to our demand generation sub-framework. From looking at the boxes below, you can likely guess that this post will detail how we work with clients on the second box in the Planning pillar: messaging and positioning.
Over the course of this month and next, other members of our team will explore our methodology on each area. Our goal is to share our learnings and hear from other marketers. So, please, let us know in the comments below about your thoughts, especially if you’re investing in this activity!
Standing in Their Shoes
It feels really good when someone “gets” you, right? Whether it’s your friend sending you a birthday card with a dog on the front that looks just like your dog or your boss showing they appreciate you with a gift card to your favorite restaurant, when your interactions with others reference and acknowledge who you are, as a person, the experience is more meaningful.
The first step to create better conversations, more meaningful ones too, is to truly understand your prospects. As a framework to organize those understandings, begin by mapping your lifecycle stages (for example, anonymous, known, MQL, SQL) to the content funnel stages. We leverage the acronyms TOFU, MOFU and BOFU to represent Top, Middle and Bottom Of Funnel.
After you create the map, simply fill in the blanks. For each area you will identify the thoughts, feelings, actions, channels, opportunities, and blockers of your buyers.
Tips for Completing the Sentiment to Stage Map
As always, this is a great time to be collaborative amongst teams. Gather opinions and feedback from sales, customer services, etc. Here are some quick descriptions you can use for yourself or share with your counterparts as you collect their feedback. It’s an interesting mental exercise to use the pronoun you as you populate your answers.
- Thoughts: What thoughts are you having at each stage?
- Feelings: In the form of a statement or bullet points, how are you feeling at this point. Hint – sometimes it’s easiest to populate this one last after you understand the thoughts, actions, and blockers.
- Actions: When you’re in x stage, what would you do to get information? Think about yourself as a consumer – typically when you need to understand a product you start with searches, social, and move to reviews, content downloads, etc.
- Channel Magnets: Given the actions, what channels could your company use to strategically get information to this person?
- Opportunities: Piggy-backing off of channels, blockers, and thoughts, outline how you could get proactively build demand at each stage.
- Blockers: What are the potential road blocks the prospect is feeling? These typically trend in hesitations and lack of information.
Once mapped out, you’ll have a better feel for messaging to pull into campaigns, content to create, and even ways you could utilize different channels to speed up stage transitions that may be lagging! Remember that demand generation isn’t just top of funnel, it’s throughout.
Incorporate Personas into Your Messaging
There are always ways to turn it up a notch, and in this case you can do that by breaking the framework down even further, relative to your business model. This could look at creating demand for different products, or by audience segmentation such as personas.
In this example, we’d be filling in the sentiments for only Persona A, during TOFU. Then, we’d start creating targeted demand generation campaigning ideas.
What to do with all of these ideas
Getting quick ideas down keeps the momentum and speeds up the process. You can then utilize your ideas and as a team decide what tactics to use in your demand generation. Things to keep in mind with prioritization:
- Business goals and KPIs – some of your business objectives may directly align more to certain audiences or stages in the funnel. Start with these!
- Timing – certain times of year may be better for certain channels or themes
- Effort and resourcing – although we’d hate to think that not enough hands could hold us back, but it is a consideration. We’re here to help if you need some additional team members!
- Campaign Cohesion – demand gen strategies that can possibly work together or build on each other often create a stronger message and better results
After you have your themes prioritized, continue along with your demand generation campaigning framework, which will include creating more detailed briefs.
Meet Kim Para Allen
Kim Allen likes tapping into right- and left-brains equally; and marketing automation serves perfectly in exercising both the creative and the analytical! With 7+ years in the marketing automation space, she’s very thorough in strategy, troubleshooting, and tailoring systems to support business needs and goals. Kim is a past member of the Marketo Champion group and is now part of the Marketo Champion Alumni group. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Kim enjoys spending as much time as possible in the sunshine. You can usually find her sailing, reading, cheering on her Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Jacksonville Jaguars, traveling, or exploring with her husband and their two dogs.