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Huffington Post, Joe Hyland – Do Modern CMOs Have To Choose Between Awareness And Demand Generation?

Huffington Post, Joe Hyland – Do Modern CMOs Have To Choose Between Awareness And Demand Generation?

It’s one of the most basic and yet persistent questions facing CMOs and marketers. Do we go the billboard route, which will presumably reach a wide audience, but one that will provide little data on customers and their interaction with the advertisement? Or do we go the digital route, like using Facebook ads or increasing SEM, so we can track customers, which may reach fewer folks than a billboard, but will show detailed metrics and tracking that will clearly illustrate the campaign’s ROI?

In some ways, this debate raises a more philosophical marketing question: What’s more important, improving the long-term brand of your company, or driving immediate, tangible sales results for your business?

For the modern marketer, gaining general awareness and driving demand generation efforts should not be seen as mutually exclusive. Why? True, elegant modern marketing can accomplish both goals: using advertising to build brands, while still driving clear sales-focused lead generation efforts. But in order to make sure their marketing team is aligned, CMOs must also take steps that their team members know the value of both of these marketing efforts.

If we take a step back, the gulf between content marketing (which generally falls into the brand building category) and demand generation (which drives more leads) can seem like different worlds. Demand generation professionals often have vastly different skill sets than the content side. Metrics and terminology often differ as well. While the content team may be more interested in broad exposure for a blog post, white paper or other digital content, demand generation teams are more focused on raw engagement statistics, interaction, and how that’s impacting their pipeline.

As you can imagine, depending on a CMO’s marketing philosophy and priorities, it can be easy for one of these teams to feel neglected or slighted. In addition, a company’s sales culture plays a massive role: is the sales force currently satisfied with their leads and in need of high-quality content to support their conversations with prospects? Or is the sales force asking for immediate and higher-quality lead volume, with less emphasis on content?

It’s therefore vital for CMOs that illustrate to all members of a marketing team what their role is, and how it contributes to the larger team goals and business objectives. CMOs must consistently outline the vision for the marketing team: high quality content works best with a demand generation component, and vice versa. Awareness campaigns don’t always need to directly lead to sales pipeline, and demand generation efforts don’t always have to provide a significant boost to brand awareness. Yet the two are inseparable, and the best marketing teams will succeed when the efforts from both sides complement each other. And today’s CMOs need to not only know the short-term and long-term benefits to both — but also be able to articulate those benefits to their teams in order to help be able to articulate the benefits of in order to achieve the best of both worlds.

keith