When you run campaigns to literally thousands of B2B contacts each day, it’s easy to fall into the trap of send, count, repeat. But that routine quickly hits the point of diminishing return. Prospects tune out, and your message stops driving engagement with customers.

Creativity is essential in developing demand generation strategies that tap into new audiences and grow your business. A lot of potential customers don’t know you yet, and some you have already met are interested in having a slightly different conversation.

You should work with a demand gen partner who’s constantly reviewing and optimizing audience segments, retargeting/escalation paths, and the complete scope of your demand generation strategies. Just as important, they should be asking you insightful questions about your real business goals, not just the bulk count of leads you are ordering, you need real opportunities.

It’s not enough to simply execute your campaigns. You and your partner should collaborate and get creative about ways to drive engagement and grow revenue.

Creativity and Campaign Design

First off, let’s define what we mean by “creativity” when we talk about B2B demand generation strategies.

Many marketers think of creativity as being related mostly to branding, design and content – the packaging of your core message, if you will. That’s important, of course, but your demand generation partner can add the critical element of identifying and reaching the right audiences, through the most effective channels. The greatest whitepaper in the world won’t work if your potential customer never sees it.

Campaign RFPs tend to focus on narrow audience profiles that look exactly like the most profitable customers. That’s fine, but it’s also an incredibly limited view of your total addressable market (TAM). There are only so many CFOs with million-dollar budgets out there, and if you keep sending them the same message, in the same channel, you will hit a brick wall.

Remember, the best prospects don’t just look like your current customers – they act like customers. They consume the same kinds of content, and they occasionally take breaks from their research as their organization reviews budgets and sets priorities. You and your demand generation partner should get creative about the best ways to tap into these signpost behaviors and hone demand generation strategies that engage prospects with a message they want, not just information you think they need.

This level of creativity requires your partner to have the data to track these patterns, the curiosity to ask insightful questions, and the experience to find meaningful patterns and design campaigns that drive engagement.

What It Takes to Be Creative and Drive Engagement

To get creative about your demand generation strategies, your partner should have these tools in place to deliver smart, innovative campaigns that get results.

Data

To find new audiences, your partner should collect and maintain its own contact and behavioral data. We own our data here at Bython, and we can enrich our data if we see a creative opportunity to employ specific demographic or behavioral details. But, more importantly, we can analyze our contacts’ behavior across numerous markets and verticals to get creative about new audiences or channels.

Without this breadth of data, your demand generation partner won’t be able to uncover new contacts on your target account list, or find new accounts to expand your sales team’s reach.

AI and New Tech

AI and machine learning (ML) are the backbone of buyer intent analysis. But this cutting-edge tech can also speed up operations and help you become more agile, and so more creative. AI can:

  • Transcribe phone calls
  • Summarize campaign performance
  • Model asset responses across new audiences
  • Scale proven response patterns to new audiences

AI can make you more comfortable in trying new, creative approaches, because you’ll have confidence in projections and know immediately if your new twist is not working.

Multichannel Tactics

Finding the right mix of channels and tactics is a real creative challenge, particularly if you have expanded your contact or account profile. Content syndication is a tried and true approach, but you should also consider a mix of CPM/CPC, chat, interactive landing pages, and, yes, telemarketing. Having a conversation with a real person can’t be matched for learning about a customers specific challenges.

You want to find the right rhythm of communication. What mix of email, phone, display, or even email will get the best result? Your partner needs all these channels in their creative toolbox to drive engagement.

Experience

Creativity starts with team members who initiate challenging conversations and come up with innovative solutions.

Obviously, your demand generation partner has to execute, first and foremost. But you want to be sure your team has a mix of skills and experiences, such as client success, big data management, or even traditional publishing. That breadth of perspective fuels diverse conversations and more creative campaigns.

Creativity Begins with Trust

Creativity comes with risk, and for B2B marketers to accept risk, they need a high level of confidence in their demand generation partner. Can you trust them with details about your own business challenges, and do they have the operational chops to pull off this new approach?

When evaluating a strategic relationship to drive engagement and grow your business, be sure to get the right answers to these four questions.

1. Can your partner handle the basics?

Your partner has to earn the right to be included in your strategic planning, and than executing on some tried-and-true campaigns. Credibility is the foundation of trust.

2. What do you need to know?

The questions that help drive creativity and engagement focus on issues like:

  • Strategic positioning
  • Growth plans
  • Key risks and competitors
  • Sales challenges

These are the kinds of questions you should anticipate from a creative demand gen partner. They require a working insight into your markets.

3. Is your partner willing to challenge your assumptions?

Sometimes you need to re-evaluate fundamental expectations about audience segments and targeted account lists. Again, there just aren’t an unlimited number of CFOs at Fortune 1000 companies who want to talk to your sales team. You can’t keep targeting the same list with the same message. It gets old.

Marketers tend to get a little possessive about their ideal customer profiles and other bedrock assumptions they’ve been working on for years. But you have to be willing to entertain informed pushback if you want to drive engagement and find new revenue opportunities.

4. Does your partner own the risk they are asking you to take?

Everybody expects success. Your partner should put a lot of thought and planning into any creative demand generation strategy they propose. And they also must commit to monitoring performance in real time, being completely transparent about key metrics, and making adjustments as needed.

Managing risk to acceptable levels and sharing in the responsibility for getting results is essential for building trust in a creative relationship.

Creativity is Key to Finding New Opportunities

You have to get creative to develop demand generation strategies that drive engagement and deliver in-market revenue opportunities. Your demand generation partner should have the data, technology, and experience to challenge assumptions and help you find new audiences and tactics to keep your business growing.

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