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Demand Generation Examples: 8 Tactics That Actually Work

It's time to explore the real-world demand gen tactics we’ve proven to drive growth at Cognism.

We’ve featured insights from:

  • Alice de Courcy, Group Chief Marketing Officer
  • Fran Langham, Global Head of Demand Generation
  • Jamie Skeels, Senior Demand Generation Manager
  • Ashleigh Frank, Senior Demand Generation Executive
  • Binal Raval, Demand Gen Content Exec

The demand gen examples below are broken into eight pillars, giving you clear, actionable insights.

Scroll to get started 👇

1. Value-led organic social

Let’s talk about the evolution of organic social at Cognism, so you can learn from our mistakes (and wins).

Up until February 2022, our LinkedIn content was a pure link-dropping exercise. Truthfully, we weren’t adding a lot of value to our audience. But we pivoted and immediately noticed a difference.

So what changed?

Binal explained:

“We moved to a purely value-led approach where we fleshed out text posts. For instance, we took a section (such as an H2) and used that as the basis for a post.” 

“When it came to videos, we included quotes/insights. And instead of including webinar sign-up links or podcast links in the body, we added them in the comments.”

By June, we saw a 47% increase in engagement alongside a 28% increase in followers. 

Since then, we have pushed the boat out in terms of visual formats. Here’s an example:

 

Binal added:

“We’re huge fans of infographic posts now. Our amazing design team create them for blog posts. So saving those images and turning them into posts is pretty easy and repeatable.”

2. Targeted paid content distribution

Last summer, we launched a LinkedIn campaign to add value for our sales audience and stand out from our competitors.

We had fresh creatives and validated the messaging by listening to customer calls and speaking to sales leaders. The campaign was entirely value-driven, with no gating and an emphasis on actionable learnings.

Sounds good so far - what’s the catch?

Fran explained:

“Despite our efforts, the engagement was lower than we had hoped, and we didn't see the expected results. So, we turned off the campaign.”

A few months later, our new Head of Paid Acquisition joined the team, and we decided to revisit this failed campaign to understand what went wrong.

After a deep dive, we discovered that we weren't laser-focused with our targeting.

Fran said:

“We were trying to be all things to all people in one campaign, targeting sales leaders with a message that would resonate more with an SDR. 

We had tunnel vision on reaching decision-makers and rolling out the LinkedIn playbook 101 of ‘make your audience as big as it possibly can be.’”

After identifying our mistakes, we made some tweaks, relaunched, and it became one of our top-performing campaigns. 

Here are the biggest lessons from this demand gen example 👇

Separate your campaigns:

To try and save the campaign, we separated it for decision-makers and individual contributors. The creatives and core message were the same, but we adjusted the ad copy. 

We targeted decision-makers with language such as "improve your team's performance" instead of "here's how you can hit target." As a result, engagement rates increased by 5X.

Revisit your failed campaigns:

Rather than constantly creating new content, revisit earlier campaigns to identify what went wrong. It could become one of your top performers - a real quick win!

Collaborate across teams:

The campaign creation and rollout should not sit with the DG team alone. Collaborating with the paid team ensures you consider every angle.

3. Subject matter experts

Something we’re good at doing at Cognism is understanding our space. However, we’re humble - we don’t think we’re the only reliable voices that exist.

This is where subject matter experts come into their own!

We’ve been using guests to power up many of our demand gen activities.

We regularly partner with influencers for “The Loop” and “Redefining Outbound” podcasts. Not to forget our “Cold Calling Live” webinars too!

Ashleigh explained:

“Don’t underestimate the impact of a guest on these demand generation activities! We have found that when guests are involved, there is better engagement.”

“Similarly, for Cold Calling Live, we put the show in the audience’s hands - if they want to volunteer to pitch a call, they come on stage. Our viewers have been enjoying this a lot!”

Check out Liam’s talk at the 2022 B2B Marketing Expo for more on Congism’s influencer strategy 👇

4. B2B partnerships

Looking for a creative demand generation strategy?

B2B partnerships are the way to go!

While working on the “boring campaign”, Jamie was looking for a new way to capture attention.

He came up with the idea of collaborating with an external company on entertaining content. Jamie reached out to Todd Clouser of the Easy Mode framework, who was more than up for the challenge.

The initial idea was to create a sketch - with Todd lending his creative script writing and humourous touch. 

From here, they decided to take things a step further and create not only a video but an entire campaign. 

Jamie added:

“We created a fake nurture on top. It was a whole campaign that reinforced, in a comedic way, what we were pushing against. It blew up as a really successful initiative!”

Want to see the result? Click here for the worst lead gen guide in the world.

5. Personal brands

As demand generation activities go, building a personal brand is the talk of the town.

And Cognism isn’t one to sleep on a new trend!

"The diary of a first-time CMO" was a massive personal branding project spearheaded by Jamie and Amy.

Essentially, it ticked all the boxes for an excellent demand generation campaign.

Here were some of the key components:

  • Video and social teasers to get people excited. 
  • Activation on many different channels (podcast, website, LinkedIn Live, LinkedIn posts). 
  • Sign up launch page with a limited supply of free hard-copy books.
  • An Amazon book launch that happened after unexpected levels of demand!

The result?

"The diary of a first-time CMO" became an Amazon bestselling book in about a week.

Why was the campaign such a success?

Ashleigh told us:

“This worked so well because there is a lack of CMO-driven content in our space, and our audience recognised this.” 

“It fills in a pain point for people who want to learn more about transitioning into a CMO role or who have recently been promoted and need help.”

Having clear points of view and making your content relatable are essential to building a great demand gen campaign.

6. Organic content distribution

Any demand gen marketer worth their salt understands the value of organic content distribution. Your content never exists in a silo - there’s no need to limit it.

For instance, if you run a webinar, don't consider it a one-time event. Think about repurposing it into:

  • A podcast.
  • Video snippets. 
  • On-demand videos.
  • A Resource hub. 
  • Blogs. 
  • Social posts.

This demand gen tactic can transform a good campaign into a great one. Remember having multiple touchpoints can help your campaign become successful. 

Ashleigh added:

“Keeping it value-led on social media is key. Nobody clicks on overly-promotional brand content anymore!”

7. Community marketing

Community marketing is a demand generation tactic for building a lasting relationship with your audience.

To achieve this, you need to truly understand your audience and think about how you can help them do their job better. 

At Cognism, SDRs are one of the end-users of our product for the sales persona. So, we’ve put together the SDR Zone, an informational hub with a ton of educational content - past webinars, cadences, scripts and podcasts designed with SDRs in mind. 

Ashleigh said:

“The emphasis is on adding value to our audience rather than just collecting leads.”

8. Brand narrative

A strong narrative is vital. Your campaign needs a story that flows seamlessly from start to finish.

But how do you create this narrative?

Research and validate!

Fran told us:

“Start by identifying your goals. Then define the creative theme for your campaign. Listening to customer calls is a must."

The purpose is to understand your buyers - you can't assume key pain points.

Fran added:

“We meet regularly with our sales team to ensure we know our prospects well. The goal is to create a narrative that resonates with our core ICP.”

Boost your strategy by tracking the right demand generation metrics and KPIs

Looking for more demand gen tactics?

Then subscribe to Cognism’s newsletter, curated by our CMO Alice de Courcy!

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