It’s the time of year where the rubber hits the road when it comes to your business plan.  Budget and planning time.  Marketing and Sales planning isn’t just about an expense budget.  It’s about planning what it will take to hit your revenue goals.  At some point the conversation inevitably leads to lead/demand generation.

Demand generation has changed.  The fact that you need to engage prospects and build a pipeline of active sales opportunities has not.

In the world of HR Tech Marketing demand gen used to be synonymous with email marketing and sales tactics like prospecting/cold calling.  Now demand gen also includes of a healthy mix of approaches and tactics including social media and social network marketing, search engine marketing, on-line advertising, and more.  The weight of any media/tactic differs based on your market segment, product, price point, buyer(s), etc.

The context of your business and business goals will also change your mix.  The established enterprise with the luxuries of budget, existing pipeline, and the legacy of customer and prospect databases can establish more of a balanced mix for ongoing Go To Market.  While the start-up that has yet to receive their Series A funding and is looking to bridge the next 120 days with sales traction and measurable pipeline and sales momentum normally can’t afford that mix.

Even for the more established enterprise, lucky enough to have dollars ear-marked for branding and more strategic initiatives, somewhere in the plan is the requirement to generate qualified sales leads.  We all need to sell something in order to keep the lights on.

The Game Keeps Changing

It’s true that B2B marketing has been changing rapidly over the last 2 years.  People are engaging in the buying process differently and the changes in the media or tactics that work to reach them remain fluid.  What was true one year ago, even six months ago, isn’t necessarily true today.  When it comes to innovative trends in B2B marketing, HR Tech has been leading the way.  The shift to inbound marketing, content marketing, advocate marketing, social media B2B marketing, and other trends represent areas that HR Tech has been working on/struggling with for years.  While other B2B marketers are looking at a blank page in many of these areas, in HR Tech we have some data.

How do you choose the right marketing mix for your budget?

There’s no shortage of input for B2B marketers on what channels are effective.  Marketing Automation vendors with their content – some of it actually incredibly good.  Bloggers, B2B media, Agencies, Consultants, Analysts … Where is an HR Tech firm to turn?

 Don’t just look for opinions, look for REAL DATA.

You can find myriad of opinions about which approach is best.  It can really make your head spin.  It’s easy to pontificate about the buyer or the process.  It’s something else to base your input on data.  Data that supports what’s working NOW.

I’ve been doing some interesting analysis for clients recently, looking at both cost and effectiveness for lead and demand generation.  The results have been pleasantly surprising to me.  The changes in buyer behavior haven’t just increased the challenges, they’ve created some incredible opportunities for focused vendors.  You can generate leads and provide value to the HR Tech buying community.  You can build your brand while you do it.  You can differentiate in HR Tech.  But, you have to have a firm understanding and commitment to your business goals, paired with a firm understanding of your target customer and target buyer in order to do it all well.