As many other published blogs before me, I was impressed by the new waterfall model rolled out by Terry Flaherty and Kerry Cunningham at the SiriusDecisions Summit. They provided much needed insight into “pre-funnel” stages to understand your target market and leverage both internal and external data to determine “Active Demand”.
My biggest takeaway was the concept of the “Demand Unit” to drive better understanding of your prospective customers and the opportunity a complete “Demand Map” represents for your business. But, how do you put this into action for your company? Measurement should drive action, and it all starts with your Marketing Plan!
Even though the entirety of your marketing activities may not be in a visible, collaborative place today, every company has a plan. It is simply what is in market and what you are working on across the business. We believe the right starting point is to bring together what you are doing with what you are spending, while thinking about what all of these efforts are designed to achieve. It is in this context that the new demand waterfall comes alive and can point the way to action. What gaps exist across your various demand types today? Where might you be overspending? Are you on track or off track to meet your goals for the year? What new content can make the biggest impact to your plan?
Planning can be a dirty word in certain marketing circles, but the lack of planning has dire consequences. In some cases, integrated planning is short-changed because of the painful annual spreadsheet process. In advanced cases, it may be a misunderstanding of what constitutes agile marketing. Without a centralized, integrated plan, separate marketing groups focused on the same audience can over-communicate disjointed messages to one group while ignoring other, potentially more profitable segments. Money and effort can be out of balance with your strategic objectives, with emphasis placed on what you did last year or the squeaky wheel of the moment.
Hive9’s foundation is that a plan is essential to direct activities and spending towards your strategy and especially towards Account Based Marketing objectives. A truly integrated plan, which directs your activities to positively impact the various demand types, buying groups and waterfall stages, will make the new waterfall framework part of a continuous planning cycle to improve your impact on the business. Your prioritization decisions will be clear, backed by allocated dollars and total marketing activity. Balance across the demand matrix will be an active discussion based on real information on how demand units are converting. Finally, Hive9 allows you to look forward with your planned activities to determine if you are on track or if changes are necessary to meet your objectives.
In upcoming posts, we’ll dive deeper into planning around Demand Maps and discuss the phases of adoption for the new Demand Waterfall.