Infographic: 10 key milestones in demand generation history

Demand generation has come a long way since Eloqua was launched in 2003. Paul Snell looks at 10 key milestones in its history, and examines the six main challenges currently facing B2B marketers

What do we mean by demand generation?

We view demand generation as the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. It involves multiple areas of marketing and is really the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.

What are the main demand generation challenges facing B2B marketers?

The development of demand gen over the past two decades has been rapid, but the lack of a formal method means problems that’ve been rumbling for some time have worsened, leaving B2B marketers at the center of a perfect storm.

1. Number of channels

The huge variety of channels available to marketers has complicated matters. It’s now no longer a question of what marketers ‘can’ do, but what they ‘should’ do.

“A good head of demand generation needs to understand the complexities of all these different areas,” says James Arnall, marketing director at Perkbox.

2. Complex attribution

The explosion of channels has further complicated the task of attributing revenue of the cost of customer acquisition. In addition, the customer journey has become less linear, making those inbound routes more difficult to track.

3. Lack of engagement

The vast volume of communications, many of them low quality, has made it much harder for relevant messages to stand out among target audiences.

4. Restrictions on data

The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 has shrunk distribution lists and companies have been forced to stop contacting those they did not have permission to communicate with.

5. Increasing lead volumes

In spite of these challenges, the number of leads flowing into the organisation is going up. Unfortunately, even though marketers score these leads before passing to sales, most don’t meet the required quality, leaving sales teams unable to prioritise prospects.

“There is a big disconnect between what marketing score as a lead, and what sales actually want to be handed. Sales would love more quality – leads that are ready to go right now – but the process of filtering from loose MQL to acceptance is not working smoothly in many organizations," says Brian Caulfield, director, B2B demand generation at The Marketing Practice.

6. Growth of the tech stack

Martech is proliferating at an unprecedented rate, with many tools promising a silver bullet solution to solve demand generation challenges. But integration of these disparate platforms remains a huge hurdle.

10 key milestones in demand generation history

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