It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

As a Boston marketer, I am slightly obsessed with the marathon. This year’s race was inspiring as always, full of iron-willed runners, supportive, cheering fans and lots of cowbells. If you ever get the chance to be in Boston for Patriot’s Day or Marathon Monday as it’s often called, do it. It’s a special day for sure. Yesterday’s event had me thinking about the phrase, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” and what that means in B2B marketing because all too often, marketers and even executives think the solution to our problem is a quick fix. The truth is, this is rarely the case.

marathon croppedThe idea that in our digital world we can convey important message in 140 characters, create a website in a day or distribute unique content to thousands with a click of a button is amazing. However, when building a buyer-centric, Demand Generation Strategy things will not happen this quickly. If someone tells you it’s going to be easy or fast, run!

Strategy involves much more than the sum of its parts. At ANNUITAS we define Demand Generation Strategy as a process that is perpetual, holistic and buyer-centric that aligns People, Process, Content, Technology and Data. Nothing on this list can be done quickly if you want to ensure everything is buyer-centric. True Demand Generation Strategy involves a deep insight into buyer personas, understanding who makes up the buying committee, what roles they play throughout the purchase journey, what challenges they face, where they go to gain information, and who they ask for advice. It is then and only then, that you can develop the buyer insights necessary to create content, implement programs and utilize the right technologies to Engage, Nurture and Convert buyers at their pace.

Too many times B2B marketers feel pressure to “do it now!”  While this is indeed a temptation and many will offer solutions to make it happen quickly, the reality is, that developing a strategy and implementing a perpetual i.e. “always on” program is not done at the flip of a switch or push of the button.

So, on this Tuesday after the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, remember that developing a Demand Generation Strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a great deal of preparation to be able to build a strategy to drive your business, it is not a quick fix, so make sure your expectations are realistic and you are ready for the journey.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is Vice President, Marketing for ANNUITAS

*photo by the author