The company is trying to grow and the CEO is unsure if he or she is getting enough out of its media. Typically, the CEO senses that the company is not growing fast enough, or that it is spending too much or not enough on user acquisition. The CEO doesn't know or have faith that existing demand generation efforts are working correctly.
The market for senior people with demand generation expertise is very competitive, and it can be difficult for a Series A company with a limited budget to attract the skills it needs. Typically, more junior people are in place, but because their career path has usually been in a silo (paid media, social, content, brand…) few of them have the ability to look at the big picture and prioritize where marketing should spend its time and budget holistically.
Without this, priorities are usually in the wrong place (and typically are restricted to whatever a more junior person is already good at).
The math is difficult, and the instrumentation needs to be there, else you’re flying blind and wasting money. Often the technology team that needs to help with this have been “drip-fed” instrumentation instructions over time, rather than given a proper plan and best practices approach. Or, they’re just too busy building the product to respond to the marketing team. Until this is fixed, you can’t tell what media works accurately, and you’re both wasting money and missing opportunities.
Few companies master this well, other than in gaming and the more advanced B2C companies. If you are company that relies on episodic purchases, such as clothing, rather than sales via subscription, this is difficult. Often, LTV is calculated as a blended average (because it’s easier) rather than by channel, or junior data analysts always “need more data” before they’ll work on solving this.
This doesn’t cut it. Marketers need the best estimate of LTV by channel at their fingertips (even if it has a high degree of uncertainty) because it should always outperform the only alternative – their gut! With reasonable assumptions on upper funnel data points, and experience, this can be done.
There are now literally thousands of marketing technology point solutions, most of which will relentless pursue anyone with a senior marketing title. Of course, some of these work, but it’s hard to know objectively which ones, or which “play nice” with existing marketing technology. Experience sorts the wheat from the chaff, and can take time-to-live from months to weeks.
To some extent, demandgen activities can follow a checklist, once priorities have been identified. There are best practices for paid media, social, product marketing, and almost every marketing function, and you can score a team based on how they adhere to such a checklist. Because marketers have very different training experiences, there can be big differences in how they approach certain tasks, and whether they are doing the right things regularly. Call this the “audit” or health check to make sure you’re not wasting money or missing things.
Often, tech teams are monolithic. In other words, they’re owned by product, whose priority is usually product delivery and not much else.
In fact, marketing usually needs dedicated staffing to support marketing technology and instrumentation, and to build new customer experiences, sites and landing pages for AB testing (and getting the typical 10-20-30 percent gains from an untested baseline). Also, many engineering teams are now following an Agile development schedule with two week sprints – great for the larger projects, but utterly restricting for a quick turnaround on a few simple page changes.
Without sufficient development resources allocated to demand generation, you won’t make any progress. And that’s something that a lot of companies find pretty hard to swallow. They want you to wave a magic wand, but the magic is in the data and infrastructure required to optimize the funnel.
Google and Facebook will give you this. Some display media companies will also. You always want to know how well you are doing vs. competitors, and what the potential revenue upside is for more media.
Account executives are incentivized to grow accounts, yet many companies don’t get aggressive about asking the hard questions. Demand the data you need from Google and Facebook – it will pay off.