For many public relations practitioners, term demand generation seems like something taken straight from the fantasy world. This term, however, should be in a lexicon of every comms professional. I caught up with my colleague Pete Morgan, Vice President of Demand, Metia to find out more about marketing practice and how it can be integrated with PR. I also took this opportunity to ask Pete about his career advice.
MK: What is your background and how did you get into marketing?
PM: I studied economics at university but had no interest to turn that into a career. I had been running a small record label as a hobby and had been doing marketing without really realising it, so when I fell into a marketing temp job it kind of stuck. That was 13 years ago, so I guess I’m officially a marketer now!
How, in the simplest terms, would you explain this mysterious demand generation?
You’ll find a range of definitions online, but to me demand generation is any campaign aimed at acquiring customers and generating sales. In B2B world, where sales cycles are often long, this includes lead generation (to identify new prospects), nurture marketing (to deepen the relationship with those prospects), and sales enablement (to help close deals).
To me, demand generation is any campaign aimed at acquiring customers and generating sales
How can marketing and public relations integrate to ensure clients’ campaigns will make impact?
In recent years, demand marketers have focused heavily on direct response tactics where impact can easily be proven. For example, if you click an ad on LinkedIn and download a piece of gated content, your information enters that company’s database. If you go on to purchase, that company can easily attribute success back to its investment in LinkedIn.
Proving the success of longer term brand investments – including PR – is much more difficult. Many marketers are measured on short-term results, so have been seduced by the instant gratification of direct response. As a result, many have under-invested in their brands.
Building a strong brand is as important as ever, even in B2B where emotion plays a crucial role in decision making. Self-preservation is a major driver in B2B purchases, people will only invest in vendors that they trust. The opportunity for PR is obvious: a differentiated and trusted brand is the bedrock that strengthens all other marketing investments. Achieving that requires great collaboration between marketing and PR teams.
The opportunity for PR is obvious: a differentiated and trusted brand is the bedrock that strengthens all other marketing investments
What are some of the skills that will be required to work in the communications industry in the future?
There is hyperbole around the role of data in marketing and communications, but you can’t escape the fact that organisations have more visibility on the workings of their businesses and their customers than ever before. But it’s important that data don’t dictate strategy; rather they should empower you to make better decisions.
Data analysts have become an integral part of the marketing function, as marketing leaders recognise the need for statistical expertise. But marketing teams also need data interpreters: marketers who are inquisitive and motivated by numbers, who can bridge the two worlds and use data to improve the campaigns they deliver.
If you can play that role you will be well set for the years ahead.
It’s important that data don’t dictate strategy
Finally, what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Ask for and listen to feedback. It might be painful at times but it’s key to achieving your goals.