Personally, I don't think there is a one single path for Demand Generation. I came into the role by surprise. I was interviewing for a Marketing Manager role at a company, almost 10 years ago and during the interview we were whiteboarding out pipeline funnels. I was talking through waterfall metrics and which type of assets I would place at each stage in the funnel. Then we went on to discuss global digital strategies and then lastly, my favorite, events and the campaigns that surround them. I had lots of experience in SFDC reporting, Pardot and over all dashboarding and my soon to be manager said, "Liz, you're not a Marketing Manager, you're a Demand Generation Manager" (shout out to one of my mentors Allen Johnson)
He taught me how to mold all the different parts of marketing I loved into the Demand Generation role. Being a Sales driven marketer, who knows their data, how campaigns work and the best way to create growth quick was the trick. So, my advice as to career path ... Become passionate about all aspects of marketing and sales. Learn the numbers, ask questions to those who are in the roles you strive for. Connect with me on Linkedin (I'm always an open book), research - you've got this.
Where do I see Demand Generation heading? That's an interesting question. Like most DG roles I am see them being converted to Field Marketing. In my humble opinion, a traditional Demand Generation role is much more than just Field Marketing. With Demand Generation you basically sit with one foot in marketing and one foot in sales. You not only strategize and run campaigns, but you track the metrics, ROI, leads and conversation rates/success metrics all the way to closed won. Those skills are the reason I LOVE DG. It is all encompassing. This is not to undervalue the importance of the Field Marketing role, my title event recently has shifted to include Field Marketing in it. Maybe the real future of Demand Generation is converting Field Marketing to it?!
My favorite question to ask during an interview is “If you could spend an extra $100k on demand generation in your current role, what would you spend it on and why?”
I really like this question because it helps me understand a variety of things about how the candidate thinks. Dependent on the response, I can learn which type of marketing campaigns they tend to prefer to work with and how they budget and plan.
The answer I look for is typically something with a multi-channel approach. Throughout my career I have learned to trust the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” That has been even more true after the last 2 years of the pandemic. The entire way we do Demand Generation or Field Marketing shifted with the removal of in person events combined with the rising cost of digital marketing. Now as we are shifting back to in person, we face the battle of inflation overall. Multi-channel gives you a lot of at-bats and allows you to shift funding around as needed.
My biggest tip for gaining influence as a new member of an organization is a two-parter - Work creatively and know your numbers.
As cliché as it sounds, thinking on your toes & thinking outside the box will constantly give you a leg up. Failing fast and pivoting to a new program or idea is something I learned quick in my career. Try everything!
The second part of this tip recommendation would be to know your numbers. Dig into the details. When you think you know everything, review the numbers through a different lens. Understand your waterfall metrics, your conversion rates, your ROIs. Follow your leads. Partner closely with your Marketing Operations teams and BDR Leadership – understand what data is good vs bad. Never be afraid to ask the questions to see what else you can uncover.
In the Demand Generation world, KPI's are ever-evolving but one always remains consistent - "to drive marketing pipeline for the business."
When starting out your career in DG, KPI's will be decided by your MLT team and assigned dependent on the annual, bi-annual or quarterly goals. Some of the most common may be dependent on:
- a low performing product line needing a boost
- a regional team needing pipeline assistance
- or a channel needing support
As you grow into DG leadership, additional KPI's come into play around driving better ROIs on campaigns, driving down business costs, while delivering additional pipeline, as well as employee development for your team.