"Research your idea. See if there's a demand. A lot of people have great ideas, but they don't know if there's a need for it. You also have to research your competition," – Magic Johnson.
A fitting quote for pretty much all demand gen marketers. Magic shares some solid advice when it comes to doing what we're supposed to be good at – creating value, challenge people's thinking and doing it better than our competition.
Let's start from the top and break this down; 3 ways to test whether your demand gen campaign will fly or flop:
Rule #1 – Research Your Idea
Often times we (marketing people) crank out 20 new ideas in a team brainstorm session; and BAM! We've got it – off and running. We add some timelines and tactics in a spreadsheet and call it a campaign. But wait – how do we know if our prospects even care about our awesome idea. I mean it is awesome, right? We like the sound of it, we assume prospects will too.
Not so much.
Why? Well, according to Mr. Johnson, there may not be any demand. This is where data comes in. Think of all your marketing tools and ways that people consume the content you're creating. Break down the metrics–website visits, digital body language, form fills, content downloads, webinar registrations, recording playbacks, video views, social shares and likes – that's a LOT of information. Where do you get the most bang for your buck? Take these stats and make them actionable. Compare your inital (awesome) idea to this data and see if there is alignment OR if you need to toss it out or rework your approach.
Rule #2 – Find the Need…OR Create It
If you did the research and discovered that your (awesome) idea was actually a flop, don't dispare. Find the need – what do people actually want? Well, as noted above, metrics are a great place to start. Where are you seeing the fall-off on your website or form fills – obviously you're missing a need there. Start doing some A/B testing. Has your pricing page taken a hit? Maybe it's confusing – people like simplicity. What has your customer care team heard lately? Is there are particular issue or request that stands out – a frequently asked question that you could capitalize on? There are needs and there are answers, you just have to make sure the two are matching up.
Once you've come up with a list of pain points that you can solve for your prospect, start creating demand and challenge their thought process. Maybe they haven't verbally expressed this thorn in their side, but if you can point out the aggrivation it is causes, the time it wastes, and the money they lose, you will immediately capture their attention.
Rule #3 – Research Your Competition
Another way to figure out what your prospects might be looking for is to scope out the competition. Not the ones you crush – the ones you aspire to be like. The ones that are so good you just can't stand them. Obviously, they're onto something. Sign up for their blog and see what kind of messaging you get. Opt into their newsletter – what are their highlighted stories. How are they capturing your target audience?
Let's take the webinar as a specific lead generation tactic. Do you know what your competition is doing for their prospecting webinars? Who is speaking for them? What kind of topics are they choosing? How many attendees are they getting? We've put together a competitive analysis toolkit that can help you track and keep pace with your competition on webinars, but you can use the same concepts for other marketing tactics (content, social, events, etc.). The Competitive Recon bundle includes tools designed give your webinars an edge and make the early stages of planning easier.
With this kit, you can:
Track your competitor's webinar programs.
Decide where your webinar program fits within your industry's competitive marketplace.
Evaluate potential webinar vendors side by side.
Make educated decisions on which webinar vendor works best for your specific needs.
You now have a litmus test to use against your campaign ideas. Before you dive in , stack your reasoning up against this logic and then decide if your idea will resonate, if there's a need or if you can create one, and then do a little detective work. A great campaign does't have to reinvente the wheel, but you should be able to create some new tension or urgency to leverage the message in your favor. So, get a head start on your competition with this toolkit. You can also view a full listing of our webinar tools on our website.