Strategies for Successful Demand Generation
Smarter GTM 06.22.2023

Strategies for Successful Demand Generation

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Chris Moody interviews Graceanne MacDonald and Liam Moroney, co-founders of Storybook Marketing, to discuss the complexities of demand generation. They share insights and strategies for marketers to understand their buyers and create successful demand-gen campaigns. They emphasize the importance of convincing people that your product is valuable and educating them about your offerings. Outbound efforts build trust, and text messaging, and reach potential customers on a limited budget. They also discuss internal partnerships, understanding customer problems through sales conversations, content creation, conversion tracking, and storytelling for attribution. The conversation highlights the need for sales and marketing alignment, B2B marketing tactics, product maturity curves, and navigating the buying process.

About the Guests

Graceanne (Domino) MacDonald

Graceanne began her startup career in the sales world, first leading SDR/BDR teams, followed by a side-step into RevOps before formally landing in demand gen. And she brings that dual sales/marketing perspective into all of the programs she builds. 

Connect with Graceanne (Domino) MacDonald

Liam Moroney

Liam may be in the marketing minority; in that, he went to school for marketing. He has grown his career as a demand generation leader in the startup space and developed unique perspectives coming up through marketing ops and content marketing.

Connect with Liam Moroney

Both together and as individual marketing leaders, they’ve built teams and programs from scratch across a range of industries. You name it, they’ve seen it. Now, as Storybook, they use their combined experiences to support clients in building their best demand gen programs.

Key Takeaways

  • Demand generation is no longer just about capturing leads, but convincing people to take action. 
  • Demand creation is less glamorous than it seems and requires an infinite war chest of VC money. 
  • On-ramps and off-ramps are essential for generating awareness. 
  • B2B buying is more pragmatic than emotional, so creating super fans is unrealistic.
  • Attribution is proof that you did your job, not necessarily informing whether things work. 
  • Brand awareness is a spectrum starting from recognizing the brand to understanding what it does and eventually leading to preference. 
  • Channels should not be treated as having to start and end the entire experience for someone. 
  • Marketing’s job is to make all channels work better and increase the efficacy of programs. 
  • Content creates trust, not awareness.
  • Most purchases in tech are pragmatic, not emotional.
  • Outbound is an effective on-ramp and off-ramp for demand creation.
  • Outbound can be used to road-test messaging before investing in advertising.
  • SDR teams should be part of demand gen teams to remove competition for attribution.
  • Outbound and Inbound should work together in a symbiotic relationship.


 Most of DemandGen is convincing people that you’re worth listening to, and telling them what you do as effectively as you possibly can.” – Liam Moroney

“And I think all too often the competition for attribution leads us to get in our way and cause these sorts of off-ramps to be siloed from one another rather than pulling them all into the same umbrella.” – Graceanne (Domino) MacDonald

Highlights from the Episode

So we’ve talked a bit about the background, but what motivates you? What makes you happy about Demand Gen? What’s the biggest challenge?

According to Liam, he has witnessed the evolution of demand generation from its early stages as a pure lead generation tactic to its current form as a more strategic and brand-focused approach. He finds it fascinating to observe this transformation, where the focus has shifted from capturing leads to convincing people. Graceanne, on the other hand, brings a dual perspective of sales and marketing to its strategies. She emphasizes the importance of translating marketing efforts into tangible sales outcomes. While they acknowledge the importance of implementing innovative and engaging marketing tactics, they also stress the significance of ensuring that these efforts contribute to meaningful results for the company.

What is the significance of demand creation and the challenges of expecting people to come simply by building something?

Liam and Graceanne discuss the significance of demand creation and the challenges of expecting automatic customer engagement. Liam emphasizes the need to convince people of your value and distinguishes between on-ramps and off-ramps in reaching and engaging the audience. Graceanne highlights the continuous nature of generating awareness and the pragmatic nature of B2B buying decisions. She emphasizes the role of content in building trust. Liam acknowledges the importance of Graceanne’s perspective and recognizes that most tech purchases are driven by pragmatism rather than an emotional attachment.

How does outbound play into demand creation and how do you perceive the world in terms of connecting various threads and the challenges of selling to the best customers in marketing and sales tech?

Graceanne sees outbound as both an off-ramp and an on-ramp in demand creation. It’s a cost-effective way to test messaging and reach potential customers. She advocates for integrating Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) into demand gen teams to avoid competition for attribution. Taking a holistic approach improves program performance. Graceanne believes in the symbiotic relationship between outbound and other marketing efforts, emphasizing the need to avoid siloing off-ramps.

What are some considerations regarding the conflict of ownership and attribution, and how should one approach the topic?

Graceanne and Liam discussed the conflict of ownership and attribution, as well as the approach to attribution. Graceanne acknowledged the pressure on marketing teams to prove their effectiveness for budget allocation. She explained her experience with attributing leads generated by the SDR team to marketing. Liam emphasized the importance of brand awareness and consistent engagement, rather than obsessing over specific touchpoints or conversions. Both agreed on the need to focus on improving overall marketing efficacy rather than rigid attribution models.

How can we incorporate empathy into demand generation while considering the various challenges, such as making longer-term bets, trusting the brand, and avoiding knee-jerk reactions?

Graceanne and Liam propose incorporating empathy into demand generation by simplifying marketing messaging and demystifying the process. Liam emphasizes the value of being an educator and focusing on solving customers’ problems. He also highlights the importance of firsthand sales experience to develop empathy. Graceanne adds that marketers should approach their audience with the understanding that they initially may not care about the brand, and the goal is to make them care by demonstrating the relevance and solving their problems.

How can marketing or sales leaders be encouraged to make things actionable and not just hear good advice without changing the status quo?

Graceanne and Liam emphasize the importance of incremental change and alignment between sales and marketing teams. They advocate for gradual improvements rather than radical overhauls, as it reduces risk and fear. They stress the need to define the company’s position on the product maturity curve and align on goals. This alignment guides content creation and channel selection for effective outreach. While achieving alignment requires effort, it facilitates iterative improvements.

How can you coach and communicate with demand gen leaders to utilize their campaigns for developing stronger partnerships, both within the organization and externally?

Graceanne and Liam stressed the significance of internal partnerships and effective communication when coaching demand gen leaders to leverage campaigns for stronger organizational and external relationships. They highlighted the need to align marketing and sales goals, demystify the process, and speak a common language. They emphasized the non-linear nature of the buying process and the importance of on-ramps and off-ramps in guiding customers. Liam shared a story emphasizing the value of staying top of mind with customers until they are ready to convert.

What advice would you give to companies like NewsCred or Gusto on improving their strategies to handle magical inbound leads and better connect them with their overall go-to-market efforts?

Graceanne and Liam advised companies like NewsCred and Gusto on improving their strategies for handling magical inbound leads and aligning them with overall go-to-market efforts. Graceanne shared her positive experience with Gusto’s content, which helped her make informed decisions about her business. Liam emphasized the importance of recognizing ineffective channels and redirecting them toward different purposes. They recommended measuring metrics like page views and attribution to understand the customer journey better. By differentiating pipeline-generating activities from others, companies can optimize their marketing program and reach their audience more effectively.

What statement about marketing did you highlight multiple times until you couldn’t read the text anymore, and why do you think it would be an interesting topic for discussion?

Graceanne and Liam strongly oppose the concept of lead scoring in marketing. Liam compares lead scoring to pseudoscience, stating that it lacks scientific backing and is akin to homeopathy in the field of marketing. He argues against assigning a numerical value to a person’s intent and deeming them ready for sale. Liam believes that applying mathematics to human behavior, such as in lead scoring, is irrational and futile. Graceanne supports Liam’s viewpoint and shares an example from her experience with Gusto, where she had already decided to use their services before reaching out to them.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?




Amanda NatividadVP of Marketing at SparkToro

Rand Fishkin CEO of SparkToro

Katelyn Bourgoin – CEO & Lead Trainer at Customer Camp 

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Sunny Side Up

B2B podcast for, Smarter GTM™

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