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Why B2B Leaders Should Rebranding the Marketing Organization for Growth

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Hosts: Dave Green & Olin Hyde

Guest(s): David Lewis, founder and CEO of DemandGen International, and author of Manufacturing Demand and the DemandGen Radio podcast.

Topic: Enterprise B2B Marketing

Subtopic: Three core disciplines everyone should be

Duration: 28 minutes

On today’s Scaling B2B show, we interview David Lewis, founder and CEO of DemandGen International, and author of Manufacturing Demand and the DemandGen Radio podcast.

In this quick talk, he gives us insight into what he calls the three true core disciplines of enterprise B2B marketing, based on his 30+ years experience using and adopting martech systems to actually drive growth.

In addition, he also provides insight into how and why B2B marketing execs should be re-positioning itself internally in 2020.


[0:21:10.1] DG: All right, we are live, guys. That’s the bumper music, Dave. Sorry, first time I am doing this. I am new at the controls.

We are here today with David Lewis, the CEO of DemandGen. I am Dave Green and we also have Olin Hyde, the CEO and Founder of LeadCrunch.

David, thank you so much for joining us today.

[0:21:46.0] DL: Thanks for having me, Dave, I appreciate it. We are all getting used to our new toys and technologies for the year. I mentioned just before we got started. I got a new soundboard, so let’s see how it goes.

[0:22:00.6] OH: Well, David, I am excited. This is really exciting for me to get into the first podcast of the year for us, and David, you are a phenomenal person. Thank you for coming on. I think your demand management stuff is really exciting. I say that as a systems engineer, and the way you think about demand generation really speaks to my heart in that demand generation is really a system of systems—

[0:22:27.6] DL: I could not agree more.

[0:22:28.0] OH: —that all need to be managed. Yeah, good stuff.

[0:22:31.3] DL: Well, thank you for that, Olin. Since we are still getting to know each other, my background is in technology. I was a childhood programmer, so I grew up writing code and building software. When marketing technology came to be and I would see slides on waterfalls and things like that, I’d be like, “Well, you’ve got to operationalize that. We can’t just paint pretty pictures of what to do.” So, very cool. Thank you, thank you for sharing that.

[0:23:00.1] OH: Absolutely. Well, let’s talk about how marketing is going to change in 2020. You just put this really cool blog up on LinkedIn that I think is a really interesting thing. My guess is you might have a book coming out behind that. Is that accurate?

[0:23:18.7] DL: No, actually. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like you guys, I do a podcast, DemandGen Radio. We are actually launching DemandGen TV this year. We are going more of the video, live and recorded content, rather than written. I have written a book, it is called Manufacturing Demand. It’s been very well received. It is in its second edition. By the way, to anybody listening, I’d love for them to check out that blog post you mentioned and weigh in on it.

The article I wrote, like you said, is called, How to Reposition and Strengthen Marketing’s Role in 2020. What prompted that was a year of observations in 2019. I was on a flight, and I started just jotting down some of the observations and things that I saw and was hearing. I said, “You know, I am going to do a beginning of the year post.”

A lot of people write predictions posts, and they’re fun, no doubt. I have done it myself. I predicted flying cars a couple of years ago. I don’t think I was far off, although not a lot of people have bought these flying single passenger cars. Anyway, we digress, but I thought, “You know, what is the point of predictions when we should talk about the here and now?” Let’s talk about marketing’s role and how challenging it is, but more importantly, let’s reposition, rebrand if you will, the role and responsibilities of marketing in 2020 and all talk as a community about those responsibilities to help the industry. I mean that very broadly, like help the world, help B2B understand what marketing is doing these days.

That is what the article is about. I thought it would be important, Olin and Dave, to kind of look back and say, “Well, how did we get here?” None of us woke up all of a sudden with a buffet of technologies and changes in buyer behaviors and go, “Okay that’s marketing.” I don’t know about you guys, but I was taught the four Ps of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion—and a lot about advertising and content creation, and sure, some “tech” if you will. But it was like neuroscience, the psychology of buying. It wasn’t really about marketing technology and digital transformation.

I wrote the post, and it is a long one. It is a long article, but I think it is a good journey together. I don’t know what you guys think, but for me, it all started in 1980s, in ‘84 with the personal computer and that invention, which enabled all of us. Remember desktop publishing was the thing. At first, there was Macintosh. I literally bought the first Mac. I was back in college at that time and I was making personalized business cards and stationery and things for folks and generating revenue doing desktop publishing. That was certainly transformational in and of itself. You didn’t have to buy a printing press in order to make and create content, especially digital content. Then what happened?

It was the ‘90s with the Internet and the web. Now we’ve got a computer that enables us to create content. Now we’ve got the Internet which enables us to communicate and exchange information. Then, not to take everything away from reading the post, but I go through those series of events, including the smart phone and all of the mobile apps that have come to empower that device. That’s why, today, when we wake up in January of 2020 and we look at the world that we are now in, everything has changed.

Marketing, as a discipline for driving awareness, interest, desire, and action, has not changed,  but our roles and our duties have dramatically changed. Guys, I feel that marketers in general still talk too much about lead gen and top of the funnel, and I wanted to make sure in the article that I really talked about the three disciplines and the three areas, these essential areas that we, as marketers, need to be responsible for. I map that as demand creation, demand management, and demand expansion.

[0:27:27.1] OH: Yeah. I think we also added a lot of Ps. It started off as four Ps. I think we are now at seven. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance, okay?

[0:27:39.3] DL: Oh yeah, we’re going to add those, too.

[0:27:42.3] OH: With that kind of context, how do you think about measuring results? So much of marketing, I think, is made hard because it is hard to measure. It is hard to get to that magical ROI, and that’s what the CEO wants to hear. That is what the CFO wants to hear. The old joke is you go to a board meeting and the CFO would talk about numbers and then the CMO would come in and talk about the pretty colors of the new logo and that’s why CMOs have such a short lifespan in the C suite. It is really hard to get those numbers to something that we could all bank on, and that is what we are looking for.

How do you think about that?

[0:28:24.8] DL: I want to go deeper on that. There is a point to what you are saying. There are many marketers out there—let’s call them the right-brain marketers. Those are the marketers who are phenomenal at branding and content and creative, and that is a discipline that is challenging itself. It is not easy. Ask anybody to write copy and come up with an image and you put them in a role of a marketer, right-brained marketer.

That tenure, though, I think there are a few reasons for that. I think that many marketing leaders have hopped from company to company finding the best place, best culture, best environment for them. I think that played a role. Maybe there was too much antagonism between sales and marketing or other reasons. Maybe the company really wasn’t on board with making the right investments in marketing. There are good reasons tenure has been maybe short, reasons in terms of not the right environment.

Today, I was just talking about this with Joe Terry who is the CEO of MarketingProfs. We had breakfast and we talked about how you’ve got to really dig in and plant yourself for several years to have an impact on an organization. This is not an overnight pit stop. It is a journey and when you come in as a new head of marketing—CMO or head of marketing ops or whatever—you’ve got to map out a set of initiatives to take that company to the next level. That is not going to happen in a quarter or even two quarters, so if you are not up for that challenge, you’re never going to have an impact.

[0:29:56.8] OH: I couldn’t agree with you more. We see this over and over again where commitment wins, focus wins. It is not about short-termism, which seems to dominate so much of not only just marketing but business in general. We manage the quarterly, manage the month. It is all short-termism, but to really build a strong team, look at how long it takes to recruit a top marketer. How long does it take to get a great sales team put together?

These are things that don’t happen in a week or a month or a quarter. Like you said, it’s a years-long journey, and I think that right brain is really hard to appreciate unless the left brain, the analytics side of it, can justify it. That’s where my question was coming from. Hey, branding is awesome, and if you are Apple and you are really amazing at branding, great, but there are very few of those out there. Maybe it is because no one gets enough time to actually build it. The talent is there but the patience is not.

[0:31:03.4] DL: DemandGen, for those who don’t know, is an agency. I’ve always felt weird using that word because that implies creative. We much more help people with the use and adoption of marketing technology systems to drive growth. With our clientele, it is almost like Star Trek if I can use that framing. Captain Kirk is the CMO. He’s got a lot of color and flair and excitement and creativity to him.

He had Spock, and Spock was the guy who is really going to get shit done. I think the organizations where you’ve got a great marketing operations head, Spock, and you had Captain or Mrs. Kirk, where you’ve got a great creative leader, someone who can work on the overall strategy and pull the pieces together. People who have the technical acumen, the operational acumen, and the stamina to put initiative and project—it’s a very IT-like function today in marketing. You need both. You can’t do it all. I looked back on my own career and said, “If I was to start all over again, would I track towards the CMO? Would I track to the head of marketing operations or CEO? What would I do?”

Olin, you said something earlier, which is worth coming back to at some point. There’s the pressure from the CEO and the CFO to show impact from those investments. “How was the booth? How was the show?” “Oh, the booth looked great.” Wrong answer. That wasn’t a question that was actually asked. That wasn’t the answer that was sought. “How was the show?” “The show was great. We met with the following clients and opened these opportunities. We generated this type of response and we are now following up in this way.” It depends when you are giving that answer, but when the CEO or CFO asks that question, the real question was, “Was it worth the investment? What are we going to get out of it?”

You have probably seen this “new sheriff in town” syndrome where the new CMO comes in and it is time for a rebrand, time for a new logo. I don’t know what prompted Staples to change their brand. I know that they are one of the largest.

I can’t say who, I am sworn to secrecy, but one of the largest software companies in the world is going through a major rebrand and should be done by the end of this quarter. It is not their first time. By the way, I am not talking about Microsoft, but they are one of the biggest. They have gone through a rebrand as well. When I worked with them in the ‘80s, the logo is different. A lot of things have changed there, and Windows and the Windows colors have changed.

There is a time and place to rebrand and stay relevant and stay fresh, no doubt about it, but the playbook shouldn’t always be when a CMO comes in to say, “Let us rephrase everything because that is going to change things.” It may be needed, for sure, and there are some incredible marketers who are great at branding and lifting the brand image, no doubt. That has to be met with an operational discipline to systems and processes and technology that is going to drive revenue as much as that awareness and image can have an effect on the brand.

[0:34:15.4] DG: How do you think marketing should try to brand itself internally, David?

[0:34:20.2] DL: That was a big focus of the article. What I said in the article is this, and I am trying to be as humble as I can, but I just have to say like I am the guy who coined the phrase “demand gen”. I have the worldwide trademark. I had the URL, which people are like, “How did you get that URL?” It’s like, “Well, because I started the term way before it was Kleenex.”

I never intended demand generation to be synonymous with the leads and net new. Demand generation, for me, has always been about market share and wallet share, generating that new business but also growing your install base. For most companies, 65% or more of their revenue is from their customer base. What I say in the article very succinctly is a discipline of marketing has three essential areas.

Demand creation is the net new, and branding is part of that to me. Customer experience is throughout the entire continuum that I’m going to share, but demand creation is what I mean: net new, driving net new.

Demand management is that middle area where we take what we create from a demand perspective and we turn it into customers. We manage the process as much as we can, that engagement with prospects and turn the highest percentage of that as we can into customers.

Demand expansion is taking that customer and recognizing that closed one is not even closed done. We have to now grow that contractual relationship, their purchase, and turn them into our raving fan, a customer who buys from us repeatedly and is a fan and helps generate more business because of their enthusiasm and experience with us.

Demand generation is demand creation, demand management, and demand expansion. That’s what I have always intended the term to imply, and you know what? That’s a hell of a lot of responsibility marketing has, a hell of a lot of collaboration that’s needed with other departments to make all that happen. I do not believe in—I talk about it in baton-passing metaphors, “Okay, we generated the lead. Here you go, Olin. Good luck with that lead. I hope you turn it into a customer,” Those days are over.

[0:36:47.4] OH: I love your framework, these three disciplines, each one is very deep. You’re not going to get good at those in less time. Those are decades-long journeys to get great, probably longer than business cycles.

What are some suggestions you have on each one of those three? What do you look for in a best practice? How would a marketer withstand an acid test of, “All right, what are you doing for demand expansion?” What are you looking for there?

[0:37:22.4] DL: It’s a phenomenal question, and I’m grabbing my phone. If you see me looking around, it’s not because I’m going to text somebody. I wish I could find a picture fast enough. There’s too many.

[0:37:30.3] OH: I thought you were looking it up on Wikipedia to see if they have an answer for that.

[0:37:34.3] DL: Yeah, the source of all knowledge. No, I took these of my sister, who I’m sure is not listening to this program. She’s very public about it, so I’m just going to say she lost over 60 pounds in the late part of 2016. Super proud of her.

[0:37:48.3] OH: Wow, that’s hard. That’s hard.

[0:37:51.0] DL: Transformational in her own journey. She and I got together over Thanksgiving before I wrote the post and she was talking about the phrase, “optimal health”. It’s so relevant to what you said, Olin. Those three disciplines that we talked about under demand generation, like you said, do not happen overnight. Each one of them is a journey of mastery, and it’s never ending, its infinite. I said in the article, and I’d love to get people’s perspectives, “Those three areas are, if you talked analogous to optimal health, it’s like nutrition and sleep and exercise.”

Think about nutrition. Under nutrition, there’s a whole set of things, which is food and hydration, food composition. If you want to be like my sister and lose 60-plus pounds, you’ve got to get the right sleep, you’ve got to change your diet, and you’ve got to exercise. If you just exercise, you actually won’t lose weight for the most part, or won’t have optimal health certainly because you’re eating the wrong things, which are making up your body.

I make that comparison because I want people to read the article and realize, “This is just the start of a conversation.” I’m going to spend the entire 2020 and beyond creating content that helps us become masterful in each of those areas. I mean, I’ve already written a lot of content, certainly in demand management. That’s what the book is about. Take the topic of ABM. Where is ABM? If nutrition is one of those areas and hydration is under nutrition, demand management can be analogous to like lead management.

Lead management is a subset of demand management, scoring is a subset, nurturing is a subset. There are pieces you need to pull together under those areas. To get mastery in any one of them is an infinite game. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it should be treated as such that you’re not like working on this project like, “That’s it, we’ve got command generation in place.” You’ve got to level up along the way.

[0:39:55.2] DG: You know, one of the things we do here at LeadCrunch, David, your article talks about the history of demand gen. We take people through that history. What was it like in the ‘80s? What was it like in the ‘90s? What’s been happening? We need that perspective to try to see where we’ve been, and by the way, where some people still are. You run into marketers and they’re still back in 2005, or 1995 for that matter.

[0:40:27.6] DL: The ‘80s were great. If I’m going to go back in time, I want to go back to the ‘80s, because the ‘80s were phenomenal.

[0:40:34.6] DG: Anyway, that history and that context is really important, especially as you look forward because you have to then realize, however it is right now, it’s going to be a little bit different, maybe a lot different five years from now because of the pace of technology change driving new capabilities and new things that people are going to do.

[0:40:57.2] DL: For sure.

[0:41:01.0] OH: Well, the cool thing about that is I think of the explosion of marketing technologies, the B2B marketing technology, the famous graph, now has over 7,000 marketing technology companies that are out there. Those are just the ones who’ve been venture backed. Who knows how many? There are probably tens of thousands. It seems to me that there are all these tendencies, David, to grab on to the latest, greatest thing, and it almost becomes a religion. For instance, intent-based marketing, ABM, or whatever method you want to look at.

These three disciplines, really transcend, kind of blow that model away. You’re not going to get one technology to do all three things. How do you think about the use of technology to accelerate each of those three areas? What would be a first step to get really good at demand expansion, for example?

[0:42:05.6] DL: Anybody who knows me, anybody who spends time with me, knows that I am part ADD, part OCD, and just a hardcore geek. I did a podcast earlier today that will air soon with Sabrina who runs marketing operations. She goes, “You know, Dave, you’re a little bit of a geek.” I’m like, “Yeah, I am.”

Olin, I love technology. It is throughout my home, and it is throughout my work. In the studio, AKA office that I’m in, I spend a lot of time figuring out what microphone I wanted to get, what cables I want to get, what arm right here, what sound board I have, the camera, the lens. You know, I love technology, and I’ve got great home automation.

I’m kind of your guy who will see a new tool come out and go, “Should we get that tool for our organization?” I’m constantly looking at MarTech and Sales Tech and evaluating it. I do think, for the right size organization, that an incubation of technology is an important thing to do. You should be looking at new tech regularly.

Let’s say you started your website on WordPress, or maybe you started with a template and a GoDaddy host. Maybe today you’re on Adobe Experience Manager or need to move there because of where your business is going. Well, you don’t walk in the office and go, “Today’s the day that we’re supposed to change that piece of technology.” Unless you’re looking at incubating technology, then you might miss how to improve customer experience.

Look at mobile apps. If B2B companies aren’t thinking about how to engage with customers over mobile apps, shame on them. B2C companies know this. In fact, if you talk to folks at the Oakland A’s, they’ll tell you that the majority of time their attendees are like this (staring at their phones) at the baseball game. They’ve got to figure out how to engage on that device. If consumers, the same people we sell to in B2B, are on their mobile devices, at that rate, how are we interacting with them?

I’m a big proponent of technology. I’m not a big proponent of the shiny new toy syndrome, and I’m definitely not a proponent of buying carelessly, buy a piece of tech and don’t think about the total cost of ownership because it ain’t the license. That is a fraction of the total cost of ownership. You’ve got to hire people, train people, maybe retrain people, rehire people, and that investment, if it’s really going to pay off, doesn’t go away. It’s now institutional in terms of marketing infrastructure.

Incubate? Yes. Be hasty and not thoughtful about the investments? No. Definitely not. If we didn’t look into new technology regularly… I mean, there are only like under 10,000 B2B companies on the leading marketing automation systems. What the hell is everybody else using, doing? I’m stumped. How many people are not on a cloud-based CRM and one of the leading brands yet? A lot of enterprises are still not. It’s crazy. They’re still running home-grown CRMs or have an instance of Microsoft dynamics over here and an instance of Salesforce over here and an instance of Oracle over there. Because they’ve done all these acquisitions, now they’re like, “Oh my god, we’ve got to integrate all these things.” It’s a big project, but it has to be done because you’ve got to standardize your infrastructure and organization to really grow.

That’s why, Olin, when you said before we hit “go live”, the job of marketing is really hard and it is. I think we almost need an AA-type of program for all of us marketing leaders to get together and go, “I’m Dave Lewis and I’ve led marketing. I’ve got some war wounds. All my leads suck, I don’t know if you know that. Oh, yours, too? Okay, cool.”

[0:46:21.2] DG: David, it’s been really fantastic having you on today. Do you have any final thoughts for the audience before we wrap it up?

[0:46:31.2] DL: Thank you and Olin for having me on. It’s the second time we’ve done some work together and I enjoy it. I’m really proud of you guys and your commitment to educating and informing marketing and sales about these disciplines and how to continue on our mutual journeys in success.

My recommendation is this: never stop learning. It’s a new year and we all kind of enter the year with, ideally, goals and initiatives for our companies. I think it’s always good to start the beginning of the year not with just weight loss goals but with, “Where do you want to end your year from a competency perspective?” Is there a new method or technology or area that you want to learn and excel in? Rise to that occasion and do it, keep being driven.

I literally built these lights that you see in the back of my office here, and that’s because, again, my constant desire to learn. I was on Pinterest over the holidays, and I got inspired. I’m like, “I’m going to go to a hardware store and make some steampunk-looking lights,” and stuff like that. You know, it’s so rewarding to learn new things. You’ve got to stay in your lane and do your job and get the things that you need to do done.

It’s such an exciting time to be in business and there’s tremendous, unlimited opportunity to have an impact on the business. I can tell you as a CEO, I love the employees, members of my team who are driven and invested and create innovations and bring those innovations to our business and to our clients. I would just encourage people to make 2020 their best year and learn something and do something new. By the way, if it sucks, fail fast. That’s okay. I mean, you know, hey, that’s part of the process.

[0:48:19.3] DG: Yeah, that’s going to happen. You know, I think one thing that I would encourage everybody to do in that regard is step back a little bit and try to think a little bit more holistically. I think you can get really deep because you have to get deep. If you’re going to be an SEO expert or a content marketing strategist or any of those things, there’s a lot to learn, you know? You can keep peeling that onion for quite a while, so it is really important to step back sometimes and just look more broadly, which is what I like about your framework. There are these three parts of the journey that you’re taking your customers on. How does it all work together, and how does your little part play into each one of those things or any of them?

Anyway, thank you so much for taking the time today, we really appreciate it.

[0:49:07.6] DL: Thank you, Dave. Thank you, Olin, and thank you in advance for anybody who goes out and reads the post and sends me comments and feedbacks. I said it then, and I’ll say it again: none of us is smarter than all of us, and I really look forward to hearing people’s reflections and thoughts on it.

[0:49:22.3] DG: Thank you very much, both. Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or any of the favorite services that you have. Thanks, everybody.

[0:49:34.1] DL: Take care.