Scaling B2B Content Marketing Through A Global Demand Center

“ Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.” — Seth Godin

Content marketing works. No, it’s not just the flavor of the month. It’s also what I’ve experienced first hand at Apptio. Content marketing has driven an ever-increasing percentage of leads, pipeline, and wins for us over the last two years.

We’re now taking the next step in scaling our content marketing investments: Building out a Global Demand Center.

In this post I look at why and how we’re making this happen.

What is a Global Demand Center?

The Global Demand Center is a marketing team that’s responsible for campaign strategy, program architecture, digital marketing, paid media, and marketing automation strategies. It’s an organization is based on the center-of-excellence model that helps convert marketing concepts to campaigns in a repeatable, scalable, and measurable fashion.

The GDC develops campaigns and programs that:

  1. Drive Inbound Lead Generation through content creation, distribution, and lead nurturing;
  2. Drive Outbound Lead Generation through prospecting emails, events, and direct mail campaigns;
  3. Help increase Velocity and Conversion Rates from Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) to Qualified Active Opportunities (QAOs) in partnership with Field Marketing and Field Sales teams using the channels listed in #1 and #2.

The Need for a Global Demand Center

There are four driving factors that motivated us to invest in building out a Global Demand Center late last year:

  • Multi-channel Interactions: Prospects interact with Apptio via multiple digital (search, social, website, blog etc.) and analog (mailers, events etc.) channels. This prospect and customer journey — as my colleague Ron Rieneckert points out — is more akin to strands of spaghetti than a well-defined, unidirectional funnel. Prospects and customers consume content in channels that make the most sense to them at a given time. There isn’t a uniform pattern that cleanly spans roles, industries, and geographies. Not just that, but digital can be used in conjunction with other channels such as direct mail, events, and sales outreach.
  • Digital is for more than just lead generation: Prospects don’t stop interacting with Apptio via digital channels once they become active opportunities. They don’t stop following us on LinkedIn, reading our blog posts, or comparing us to competitors at any set point.. Digital interaction is a never-ending journey that spans renewals, upsells, referrals, and more. Even for opportunities that begin in the analog realm, the digital realm still holds tremendous importance and value.
  • Centralization and customization: Because of the two points above, multiple teams spanning geographies are involved in the typical prospect and customer journey. Elements of this journey — especially digital — should and can be standardized and run by a centralized team. This centralization means digital can be used in conjunction with Field Marketing, Field Sales, Account Management, and Inside Sales teams to drive pipeline and wins. This can be done while leaving room for customization and regionalization as the business demands.
  • Marketing effectiveness can be measured: Since implementing the Revenue Engine model and embracing the five Revenue Performance Indicators (RPIs), we’ve developed a granular and causative understanding of how our marketing investments drive pipeline and wins. This instrumentation means we can test, iterate, and scale marketing investments on the basis of data-driven decisions.

We need campaigns, programs, and an organizational structure that helps us address this new reality. We believe a Global Demand Center can help us do all three things effectively.

Structuring a Global Demand Center

We are consolidating and building out the following functions via our GDC:

Program Design: Create marketing campaigns and programs in partnership with the Product Marketing, Field Marketing, Field Sales, and Account Management teams

Program Management: Plan, schedule, and execute programs in partnership with the Field Marketing, Inside Sales, Events, and Marketing Automation teams

Content: Create blog posts, newsletters, emails, eBooks, SlideShares, and other content elements for our campaign needs

Distribution and Optimization: Drive paid and organic Search, LinkedIn, multivariate testing, analytics, and paid content placements;

Design: Create digital and analog artifacts that showcase our brand value and drive prospect/customer engagement

Video Marketing: Script, develop, and process case studies, influencer interviews, demos, and other video content in support of our marketing efforts

As you see in the descriptions above, the GDC functions will work in close partnership with the Product Marketing, Field Marketing, Account Management, Inside Sales, Field Sales, Event Marketing, and Marketing Automation teams. This is an ongoing process for us, and I’ll be sure to share our lessons learned in the future.

Have you gone through the Global Demand Center journey? What were some of your non or counter intuitive findings? Chime in via the comments here or tweet me @dhamdhere!

Originally published at on March 31, 2015.



Adventures in marketing, design, and strategy.

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