3 Demand Gen Marketing Pitfalls to Avoid in 2022 

Heading into 2022, marketers are once again entering uncharted territory. As we progress past pandemic-driven disruptions, new challenges await. Obstacles ranging from supply-chain uncertainties to increased workloads and responsibilities are testing how marketers prioritize, produce and predict what their audience will do next. 

Looking to the past two years as guidance, successful marketers have learned the value in aligning their demand gen strategies with sales operations to support their efforts and fuel meaningful business growth. In fact, in a recent poll by Forrester, senior marketing leaders ranked improving marketing’s alignment with other business functions as the #1 action item required to support marketing priorities in 2022. 

But with an increasing number of internal and external factors dictating their approach, achieving and maintaining this sort of alignment requires intentional, tactical efforts in the year ahead. This starts with avoiding and recovering from common pitfalls and distractions.

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Pitfall #1 – Not paying attention to your existing database 

By now, most marketers are well-aware they need data to do basically everything, from conceptualizing to creating to carrying out their campaigns. But there can be too much of a good thing. 

In the last few years, many brands have focused marketing efforts on the collection of first-party data through robust demand and lead generation campaigns, but not enough brands have focused as heavily on maintaining their database. In Nielson’s annual marketing report, ​​nearly 37% of respondents cited difficulty maintaining data quality and accuracy, with large and medium-sized companies struggling the most.

In order for your data to be of any use, it needs to be applicable, accurate and up to date. This requires brands to commit to regular database maintenance and deploy a lead-scoring model that ranks viable contacts, as well as flags unqualified ones in their CRM.

Devoting time and resources to this process can be difficult, especially as marketing departments are juggling more than ever– and the idea of spending marketing dollars on data cleaning may not strike you as an initiative that will make you look like a rockstar in front of your CEO. However, the costs of neglecting your database are far greater – and the potential benefits are expansive. 

Poor data quality costs organizations an average $12.9 million per year. As businesses increasingly lean on data at every step, the focus on improving data quality will continue. According to Gartner, 70% of organizations will rigorously track data quality levels via metrics by 2022, improving data quality by 60% and significantly reducing operational risks and costs.

Pitfall #2 – Not understanding your personas  

Ensuring your database is populated with clean, relevant data enables brands to truly understand audiences and their intent. Without first understanding who your audience is and what they want, it’s nearly impossible for brands to effectively serve them. 

Identifying and assessing any knowledge gaps about your customer base is fundamental to the success of your marketing programs. This starts with the previously mentioned database maintenance. But for brands to truly understand and connect with the personas you’re engaging, pay attention to what your audience is telling you – even if it’s indirect feedback. 

Analyze your audience reporting to determine if you’re asking the right questions – not just the obvious ones like which landing pages are driving conversions. Can you easily identify where your leads are at in their buying journey and their intent? Which factors influence their decision-making? Where do they get that information? Which channels are they most active on? Where did they first hear about your brand?

Regularly spend time backtracking your top deals to better understand the touchpoints that contributed to the sale. These insights are critical to understanding your audience, identifying seasonal trends or process breakdowns, benchmarking your efforts and refining your approach. Remember: your audience’s needs will change. It’s important to regularly assess how well you understand your brand’s target personas to strategically adapt your demand generation efforts.

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Pitfall #3 – Focusing on too many things 

These first two steps may seem basic to some, but laying the foundational groundwork for a scalable marketing program is critically important for brands to achieve sustainable success moving forward. 

By focusing first on the core components of your marketing program (including the health and viability of your martech stack, as well as your team’s approach to database maintenance and lead scoring), marketers are empowered to improve the efficiency and efficacy of their existing campaigns and future efforts. 

Focusing on too many projects and improper prioritization always leads to wasted time, energy and resources. Building a solid base enables marketers to better support their sales team and any future innovations while simultaneously validating their efforts. 

Wouldn’t it be great if next time your CRO asks you to create a cross sell or upsell initiative, you could confidently rely on the data you know you need to execute a campaign rather than panic and scramble? 

This groundwork may not be as “sexy” as a new lead gen campaign or public-facing initiative, but heading into another uncertain year, marketers need to stay focused and aligned within their organization. By avoiding common pitfalls and distractions and maintaining a solid database, marketers will be better prepared to pivot when needed while simultaneously securing future success. 

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