An early-stage company may think its most difficult work is done once it has developed its product, identified its market fit and secured funds to take the product to market.

But a critical and often-mismanaged next phase awaits, and understanding it can make the difference between success or failure.

This is the demand generation phase.

During this phase, a company identifies customer segments and targets, analyzes the costs of acquiring them vs. their lifetime value, then executes relentlessly to create demand.

But the scope of "demandgen" is more expansive than that. It begins before you even begin talking to potential customers and continues through the full life cycle of the customer.

Meet the Expert

Neil Shepherd

Consultant Neil Shepherd

Skills and Expertise: What's this?

About Neil

  • Expert in digital marketing and analytics, including user acquisition, funnel optimization, instrumentation.
  • Head of growth channels at PayPal, with focus on growing user and merchant base.
  • Technologist and strategist, including several years as engagement manager at McKinsey.
  • My specialties include:
    • Digital marketing, demandgen (have run $3m++ / mo across Google, FB, display at various times, each at industry leading LTV/CAC yields, plus content, social.... all other meaningful channels)
    • Product Marketing (customer insights, persona identification, content strategy)
    • Lifecycle marketing (measuring every online or offline interaction, and designing a lifecycle management system to optimize engagement)
    • Lean operations (20-30% cost savings and >50% throughput improvements using lean techniques)
    • Growing and building teams of up to 30 at different times (marketing professionals, digital marketers, growth hackers, analysts, data scientists and engineers)


Principal • The Boston Consulting Group
2016 — Present
  • Member of the TMT practice.
  • Primary areas of focus are Sales & Marketing, operations, and IoT.
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) • VentureBeat
2015 — 2016
  • Joined VentureBeat to grow a disruptive research service that will dramatically help today's marketers stay informed and make decisions about marketing tools, techniques, and technologies. 
  • Founded in 2006, VentureBeat is a source for news, events, groundbreaking research and perspective on technology innovation. 
Head of Growth Channels • PayPal
2013 — 2015
  • Focused on growing PayPal's user and merchant base, and their respective engagement and use using innovative marketing, product, and analytical methods. 
Vice-President, User Acquisition and Analytics • Kixeye
Oct, 2011 — 2013
  • Areas of expertise: digital marketing, customer life cycle analytics, product management.
  • Built and led 30-person team of online marketing professionals, data analysts, data scientists, and analytics engineers.
  • Grew user acquisition volume on Facebook by 80 percent at high LTV/CPI yields; launched Google, display and multiple publisher channels to drive volume; launched multiple mobile channels.
  • Hired, trained analysts delivering big data insights to Kixeye’s game teams, estimate ~10-15 percent LTV gains from such efforts.
  • Built entire suite of user-facing analytics tools and systems, leveraging Hadoop and relational databases. Tools included LTV measurement, installs attribution tools, game analytics tools.
Vice-President, Paid Media • QuinStreet
Jul, 2009 — Oct, 2011
  • Grew Quinstreet’s PPC revenue by 65 percent in two years to a high 8-digit sum. Grew margins despite industry CPCs growing by 15 percent a year. Kept head count constant through efficiency gains.
  • Turned around a siloed organization of 20 PPC traders and analysts into a world-class team through implementing standard campaign management processes, copying concepts from lean operations.
  • Grew new media sources from inception to multi-million dollar runrates, including display/retargeting, social media, and mobile. 
  • Drove high-level product roadmap for in-house PPC management software, including process improvements, automated alerts, campaign optimization tools, and multiple iterations of bidding algorithms.
  • Led three-person AB testing team. Drove 20-40 percent conversion improvements.
  • Managed top-level and working relationships with key trading platforms, including Google, MSN/Yahoo, Adknowledge, Facebook. Active participant in multiple closed beta and alpha tests.
Engagement Manager • McKinsey & Company
Jul, 2004 — Jul, 2009
Led or managed multiple projects in IT operations, big data and marketing for Fortune 500 companies and public sector bodies, including:
  • Market entry strategy for premium consumer electronics company. Anticipated market impact of $2 billion and 5-10 percent share shift.
  • Lean service operations engagements for Fortune 500 business process outsourcing and IT infrastructure companies, with typically 40 percent cost reduction in four months.
  • Turnaround of 10,000-person public sector client using lean methodology. Increased productivity by 150 percent ($80M cost improvement) and decreased time to serve by 90 percent. Managed 50-person teams and multiple initiatives simultaneously to meet aggressive cost reduction targets.
  • McKinsey Technology Initiative to codify how traditional patterns of business (competition, talent management, relationships with customers and stakeholders) are changing through the impact of pervasive mobile and social technologies.
Principal • New Pacific Partners
Nov, 2001 — Jun, 2004
  • Boutique consulting firm sold and delivered market entry and restructuring projects to small- to mid-cap technology firms.
  • Industries included medical devices, online services, and enterprise software.
Vice President Product Management • Simplexis
1991 — 2001
  • Simplexis built and sold e-procurement solutions to state and local governments.
  • Led product development for two release cycles ($10 million total budget), including offshore development.
  • Raised $35 million investment, led purchase of two related businesses and ultimate sale of company to Syscom, Inc., a major systems integrator.
Senior Product Marketing Manager • Oracle Corporation
1998 — 1999
  • Managed four-person product marketing team; developed marketing programs for emerging mobile products, which included early data-enabled mobile phones, tablets, and PDAs.
  • Launched Oracle 8i Lite mobile database and “web-to go” mobile wireless technology, during which sales grew by more than 150 percent.


Harvard Business School
MBA, 1998
Cambridge University
BA, Electronic Engineering, 1991
Packages with Neil starting from $800

Your Expert Package Includes:

Best Practices

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Pre-Meeting Discovery Process

Review and analysis of your issue with pre-meeting discovery questions by Neil, followed by a 30- or 60-minute one-on-one call. Sample

One+-on-One Call

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Meeting Summary Report

After your call, Neil completes a Meeting Summary Report to provide you with the session’s discussion topics, analysis, assessment and recommendations for next steps. Sample

Post-Meeting Engagement

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