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How to Build Category-winning Demand Marketing

Cast your mind back to December 2021. The world was still recovering from the disruption of COVID-19. Companies were working remotely, and marketing expos had gone virtual.

At the B2B Marketing Expo Virtual 2021, Cognism CMO Alice de Courcy gave a talk about how to build a category-winning demand marketing strategy.

So much has changed in the two years since… time flies when you’re having fun!

We thought it would be good to share what’s changed since Alice gave this presentation. Below you can read about:

  • Cognism is now a 100% demand gen marketing org.
  • Changing content goals. Becoming a content machine.
  • How do we measure impact now?
  • Lessons from a first-time CMO.

Keep scrolling or use the sticky menu to navigate. 👇

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Cognism's marketing team is now 100% demand gen

When Alice first gave her talk, it was Cognism’s goal to move to a demand gen marketing model. In 2022, we made this a reality.

So how has this changed our marketing strategy? Here’s how the team define the important elements of their campaigns now.

Infographic showing Cognism's changes to its marketing strategy.

Sharing this mission with the B2B marketing world has been a real journey. There isn’t a concrete playbook, so we hope that by sharing our experiences, other teams looking to switch from lead gen to demand gen will be able to pivot more easily.

We’ve strived to become a thought leader in this space by partnering with talented subject matter experts and creatives. People such as Morgan J. Ingram, Gaetano Di Nardi, Todd Clouser and Obaid Durani.

Liam Bartholemew, Cognism’s VP of Marketing, spoke about harnessing the power of creatives and SMEs at the B2B Expo:

When it comes to creating content in 2023, his key takeaways were:

  • Creating specificity for content is important. For example, a webinar video might not be the best clip to share on LinkedIn. Instead, it’s better to rerecord the key points straight to the camera.
  • Categorising our content in terms of engagement. (See below).
  • Move into new channels (like TikTok), grow internal/external influencers, and own channels that work well, like LinkedIn.

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Changing content goals

Our content creation philosophy has continued to evolve over the last couple of years. Now we’ve built out our content machine. 2023 is our year to refine our demand creation processes.

We’re not trapped by a restrictive content calendar planned months in advance. Instead, we use Asana as a tool to flexibly manage and schedule our blog posts. This helps the team to stay agile and track the progress of the content they’re working on.

A picture of Cognism's Asana board.

Asana is also a valuable tool for the Demand Gen team.

Fran Langham, Global Head of Demand Gen, explains that Asana provides transparency and accountability for each step of the process. The team has portfolios for each of their core personas (Sales and Marketing), and Asana helps the team stick to core established processes.

It also gives Fran much-needed clarity and oversight regarding onboarding new starters!

See Fran’s overview of how Cognism uses tools like Asana to achieve our content goals. 👇

Cognism's value loop

Not every marketing team is going to have the time (or the resources) to go big when it comes to creating demand. But that’s okay!

Cognism’s mission for 2023 is to get more people from our ICP into our ‘value loops’.

What does this mean?

It’s about increasing the number of people who are a part of our media machine’s key cornerstones or ‘value loops’.

Such as:

  • Our newsletters.
  • LinkedIn company and subject matter expert following.
  • Repeatable live event audiences.
  • Website users.
  • Podcast listeners.

These are ways our audience can get immediate access to our content and then have repeatable value delivered over and over again.

And the benefit of the value loop?

It helps to overcome the chaotic way that prospects educate themselves about a product. Because you’re front of mind when they move in market for your product or service.

Get in the loop. Hit play to hear the first episode of Cognism's new podcast! ♾️

How do we measure the impact of demand creation?

Now we’ve moved away from lead gen; you might be wondering how we measure the impact of our demand gen efforts?

It can be hard to let go of metrics that track conversions, but there are several indicators you can keep an eye on that prove your brand building is on the right track. For example:

  • Engagement rate on paid social ads.
  • Comments and qualitative feedback.
  • Increase in brand name search volume.
  • Increase in direct traffic or referral traffic.
  • Self-reported attribution (forms on your conversion pages asking the user where they first encountered your brand).

Then this is the magic bit. ✨

One way you'll know your brand marketing is working is when you see a growth in inbound requests.

The team decided that with the move away from lead generation, they’d stop gating content and using contact information forms..

Liam explains:

“We now use as few forms as possible. The only time users need to fill out a form is to register for a webinar or a demo.”

“So, we might not see where that lead comes in through Salesforce, but I don’t feel like that’s any great loss. It didn’t tell us that much beforehand.”

“We can get a good sense of how things are going by:

  • Engagement metrics that tell us our most popular content pieces
  • Our best lead source using UTMs
  • Human attribution, e.g. people telling us how they found us.”

Lessons from a first-time CMO

Are you new to a marketing leadership role and wondering how to build your own category-winning demand marketing strategy? Or maybe you’re new to marketing entirely and looking for inspiration?

Either way, we’ve got you covered! Alice has shared her insights in her Diary of a first-time CMO.

She covers topics like

Press ▶️ to see some of the highlights!

Key takeaways

Now the foundations are strong at Cognism, what are our plans for 2023?

This year, executing is our focus.

This means continuing to challenge ourselves when it comes to content creation. Owning the channels that work well for us and exploring others that we don’t use as often. By doing this, we hope to keep pulling more and more of our ICPs into our ‘value loop’.

Creating category-winning demand marketing is no easy feat. But we’re excited to see where we can keep innovating!

Insights from a first-time CMO

We all know that it’s rude to read someone’s diary. But what if they gave you permission to sneak a peek? 👀

Alice does just that in her hugely anticipated Diary of a first-time CMO.

Grab your physical copy online here. Or you can smash the button below to access all the resources, ungated and for free. 👇

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