Marketers are throwing ever-evolving jargon at you. How do you know what to track to measure the bang for your buck?
Maybe you are a CEO, COO, CRO, CTO, CIO or someone else at a company selling products or services to other companies. You might have been perplexed by all the mumbo-jumbo in marketing these days.
Marketing seems to reinvent itself pretty much every other week. That’s a good thing because innovative marketing can give you a great competitive edge. That’s especially important in crowded business-to-business (B2B) markets.
But it also means the field is loaded with jargon and concepts that sure sound like they must be cool and important. But are they really worth your company’s time and investment?
Your B2B marketer might say stuff to you like:
“Our brand promise is too vague.”
“We need a new thought leadership campaign.”
(If your marketer said that last one to you, then your marketer is Han Solo.)
The point is that marketing is loaded with jargon and new concepts, or old concepts made to look new and shiny.
It’s all about “shaping” demand
But the dirty little secret in marketing is that all that noisy stuff is about “shaping” demand.
Everyone who’s taken a business class or spent time in business leadership knows about supply and demand. Marketers live on the demand side of the equation.
Some of it is obvious, like demand generation, lead generation, opportunity qualification, pipeline building.
But even marketing activities that seem to have nothing to do with demand generation are part of a strategy to “shape” demand for your company’s offerings.
Shaping demand partly means maximizing the demand for your products or services.
Demand Generation by Changing Supply
But marketing can also improve demand generation by changing supply. For example, marketers can launch a product or service in a way that taps a new market segment. That creates a supply of something that didn’t exist before. It causes customers to want something they didn’t even know they needed.
For example, let’s say I take a security camera, embed a cellular chip and antenna in it, and slap a solar panel on the top.
Bam! I’ve launched a product for a whole new market segment: remote secure facilities that are off the grid. I’ve shaped demand for my company by creating a market segment with a new product. Executing on the strategy takes good, crisp messaging, communications targeting, and message discipline.
Other ways to shape demand include changing pricing and revenue models.
For example, many companies feel they need to compete on price and that discounting or lowering prices is the way to create more demand. But we helped a client to explode its pipeline by doing the opposite. We worked with them to dramatically raise their prices and become a premium brand. Soon they had more business than they could handle and every deal was much more profitable.
Even “thought leadership,” positioning and similar strategic techniques are really about giving your company access to more customers and shaping demand.
Some marketers will disagree with me on that point. They will say that the primary goal of such strategies is to build your company’s brand. That’s true. But then the primary goal of your company’s brand is to make your products a known, attractive, unique choice. That’s shaping demand.