How to fix your Demand Center

November 28 2019 By Len van Hoogenhuijze

Has your Demand Center become your bottleneck? Read how you can fix it

Has your Demand Center become a bottleneck? Is it not giving you the results you were expecting? Is it actually giving you more work rather than less or are your marketers bypassing it wherever they can? To identify why that might be the case let’s take a step back and look at the reasons you went down this route in the first place.  

The Skills Problem 

In today’s technology-driven marketing landscape it is no longer possible to assume all the necessary skills reside with one person. At the same time, we need access to these skills for effective marketing. We rely on Marketing Automation Specialists, Social Media Managers, teams responsible for Digital Advertising and many others. Each of these skills are essential for your success and not easily transferable and that means we need to be more efficient in the use of people and their expertise.  

For email campaigns, we rely on Marketing Automation Specialists, for Social Media you might have a Social Media team and many organisations have dedicated teams for Digital Advertising, ABM and Content Syndication. The Demand Center aims to solve this skills problem. A Demand Center is a centralised function within your marketing organisation that supports your execution. It could mean all of the required digital services sit in this Demand Center, but it could also mean this Demand Center interfaces with the various teams on behalf of the marketer. Either way, you have created a team with clear responsibility for the activation process. But if your Demand Center still relies on emails or various other “not built for purpose” office productivity tools you have not really solved anything, you have simply centralised the problem… 

This skills problem is not the only thing you tried to solve when you set out on your Demand Center journey. You likely also realised there is a need to be more consistent in the setup of your campaign initiatives. The number one reason is to enable more reliable and easy reporting. When you set up your campaigns correctly to start with, you don’t have to scramble together the information to prove your success at the end of the quarter.  

Reducing the cost of Governance 

Using best practice campaign structures is a good idea, but it requires accuracy and often maintenance. To do this your Demand Center will have to add in a layer of governance to ensure standards are set for the execution of campaigns - but governance has a time cost against it, and remember everyone is under pressure to drive marketing activity. And that often means corners get cut to deliver short term results. Quality control gets bypassed because it is considered too onerous, or worse: your marketers find it easier to execute completely outside these structures.  

So there we are: quality goes down, consistency in customer experience has gone down the drain and you are no longer able to fully report on your marketing engine. All the things you were trying to solve in the first place, are now backfiring.  

A Demand Center should never become your bottleneck. You were on the right track with centralising skills, setting high standards and end to end processes but now it’s time to automate as much as possible to make it easy for your marketers and your team. You need a way in which the briefing and campaign creation are so streamlined you don't have to worry about your reporting requirements every step of the way. You will need a way to quickly see what is going on in your Demand Center and who needs to do what. And you need to accelerate your execution process to such an extent that it is simply easier and quicker for marketers to go through the Demand Center then to bypass it.  

So how do you get there?  

  • Find a tool to handle your request management and execution process. You will then have to define and set up the workflows for these processes in these tools. 
  • Implement a way of automatically creating Salesforce campaigns in the correct structure and within the right hierarchy. There are tools out there that do this. 
  • Incorporate a service for the creation of assets and campaigns using templates. There should be no need for an expensive resource to build assets manually.  

Getting these processes sorted out is a good start. You might find having separate tools to handle each of these tasks and all the other things your Demand Center team is responsible for is still clunky. In that case, have a look at our Demand.Center platform which aims to solve the many challenges of the modern Demand Center. 

Written by Len van Hoogenhuijze – Technical Account Director, CRMT

Developing a Demand Center: Essential Considerations and Key Benefits

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