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Revisit, Re-evaluate, Reheat: Demand Generation Ideas for 2021

By Jackie Walts

A new year usually means a sense of renewal for marketers, with a new budget and new objectives to achieve. But in the midst of the pandemic, a lot of us are asking what we can do to be effective right now. The truth is, none of us know. But, we can use demand generation science to streamline your route to success. Here's how:

1. Pretend it’s day one.

Accept that you can’t confidently predict anything. With businesses re-opening and closing and re-opening, an economy that changes daily, and people on an emotional roller coaster, you won’t be able to rely on anything you knew to be true in the past. Pretend it’s your first day at the company. Start over and test everything again. Look at what worked a year ago and set up sprints to see if results hold and add a few creative ideas as challengers. Test, track and repeat. As things change in the world around you, do it again. And again.

2. Revisit your content.

Re-read everything with fresh eyes, based on where the world is right now. Take out content that’s no longer meaningful. Rework what can be reworked, or develop new content right for this moment. Unfortunately, trying to develop anything evergreen is unrealistic right now, so go for relevance and a quick development cycle. Save the big guides and "state of" reports for later. Refocus your efforts on one-pagers, infographics and blogs.

3. Reheat.

The one bright spot in all this may be that all the change in the market means that folks in your database who haven’t responded before might be ready now. Now is a great time to try a reheat campaign to prospects who have gone dark.

4. Cleanse.

One caveat: there has been a lot of job churn, so before you mass send anything, do a database cleanse. Anyone who bounces or hasn’t responded for a year should be removed.

5. Acquire.

This database churn does mean you probably need to invest in programs to add interested prospects to the pipeline. Add acquisition programs to the top of your testing list.

6. Re-evaluate ROI.

Before you invest budget on anything — even the past programs that worked reliably, take some time to re-evaluate. Make your best guess on the return you’re likely to see and then run the numbers. Can you make money? This is particularly critical for  events. With so many successful in person events moving to virtual, don’t take the organizers word on attendance, qualified leads, or engagement. Instead, figure out just what you need to get a positive ROI and really think about whether or not you’re likely to achieve it. If not, maybe save your money for something else. Based on what I’ve seen so far, none of the live events that went virtual last year brought in anywhere near the expected results.

7. Make sure you can deliver.

Supply chains have become very volatile. Delivery times are no longer reliable. If you can’t fulfill — don’t market. Do you have the support resources, product and staff to provide the level of customer service you are promising? If not, adjust or pause your promotion until you can catch up.

8. Be nimble.

Prepare yourself now for reopening — or for further closings. Whichever one happens, things are going to move fast when it does. Do your testing, get your databases in order and streamline your processes. Then you’ll be ready to ride any new tailwind, or hang on in case of a new downturn.

A version of this article previously appeared on Jackie's blog.

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About Jackie Walts

Jackie Walts is a demand generation consultant with over 20 years of specializing in helping companies kick off or refine lead generation programs. Her clients include Autodesk, Ridecell, Cognoa, Viansa Winery and Marketo.

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