MarTech360 Interview with Mark Emond, Founder and CEO at Demand Spring

Build your brand. People buy from organizations they trust. Part of trust-building is familiarity. Organizations that invest significantly in brand-building through advertising, events, social media, and PR have the opportunity to accelerate their growth

How do you effectively manage your dual roles as the founder and CEO of Demand Spring, where you lead high-performance consulting for B2B marketers, and as a key figure in youth athletic development through your various coaching and development positions in West Ottawa Basketball and the Ontario Summer Games?

Well, it makes for some long days, but I get so much energy and so much in return from helping to develop young people. I have also found that coaching competitive youth sports is an amazing way to sharpen leadership skills. You are dealing with young athletes and parents with high expectations. You have to make decisions quickly that have an impact on both performance and relationships. And the outcome of your team’s performance is there for everyone to see. It’s also taught me how to better empower my colleagues throughout Demand Spring and stay out of the weeds. When you are coaching you have to stay on the sidelines and rely on what you have taught and coached.

Mark, can you tell us about your professional background and your current role at Demand Spring. Also tell us how Demand Spring differentiates itself from other companies in the same space?

I spent 17 years as a marketing leader in the technology industry before starting Demand Spring. In my last few years in that industry I was with Cognos, a leader in the Business Analytics space that was purchased by IBM. We did some amazing things on the marketing side at Cognos that was really my inspiration for starting Demand Spring, a B2B Marketing Consultancy that helps CMOs and their teams drive pipeline, revenue, and exceptional client experiences.

We really differentiate ourselves at Demand Spring based on our two founding principles: being a great place to work, and a great place to work with. We strive to hire really smart people who are passionate about serving clients and doing great work. And we strive to lift our clients up. When marketing is a really meaningful contributor to the things that matter most in the C-Suite (pipeline, revenue, client satisfaction and retention) they become much more strategic and confident. Our lifetime client NPS of 95/100 is a testament to the great work our people do, as is the tenure of our clients, many of whom have been with us for 6-10 years.

 

Given the extensive experience and success Demand Spring has had with various clients over the years, what are some specific strategies or methodologies you employ to help organizations break through the noise and achieve hyper-targeted communication in their revenue marketing efforts?

It really starts with having a deep understanding of buyer personas and their buyer journey. We do a lot of those types of projects for clients, helping them truly understand what buyers are thinking, feeling, and doing in every stage of the buyer and customer journey. That helps us build Go-To-Market strategies, ABM strategies, and lead nurture strategies for them that are really on-point in terms of messaging, and that touch the right member of the buying group at the right stage, with the right content, through the right channels. Then it’s about personalizing it at scale, which is what our technical consultants do a brilliant job enabling with platforms like Adobe Marketo Engage, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and HubSpot.

Also Read: MarTech360 Interview with Dominique LeBlond, Chief Product Officer at Bynder

 

How does Demand Spring’s combination of revenue marketing strategy expertise and technical proficiency in leading B2B marketing automation platforms ensure a successful implementation and optimization process that delivers early ROI for clients?

That’s our other differentiator. There are lots of great strategy shops that don’t have technical expertise, and vice-versa. We truly understand how to craft great ABM, lead nurture, and Go-To-Market strategies, and also have the technical expertise to implement them. Our strategy and technical consultants work together to ensure that what we design can be implemented, and that our strategies take advantage of the amazing technical capabilities that drive engagement and conversion. Also, because we have all spent much of our careers on the client-side, we understand the need for quick wins. Take Berkshire Grey, for example. They are a Boston-based AI-robotics company. With a blend of strategy consulting, digital programs, and MarTech activation, including the implementation of Adobe Marketo Engage, we helped them drive over $40M in pipeline in the first five months of our engagement.

 

As the founder and CEO of Demand Spring, what key strategies and integrated marketing technologies do you recommend for marketing leaders to transform their Revenue Marketing practices and become strategic leaders in their organizations?

For me, it really comes down to fundamentals. Ensure your messaging and positioning is really sharp and differentiating in ways that matter most to your target audience or ICP. Drive really great alignment with your sales and sales development teams since today’s buyer interacts with marketing and sales interdependently throughout the buying process. Use data and analytics as the foundation for personalization at scale while iterating and optimizing your engagement strategies and tactics. If you do those three things really well you have the opportunity to stand out in the market and deliver exceptional buyer experiences, which can lead to revenue outperformance.

 

What are the key AI enablement strategies that revenue marketers can leverage to enhance top-of-funnel trust and awareness, focusing on precision targeting, personalized engagement, and predictive analytics?

We are really excited about the AI opportunity. We have just rolled out a set of AI services that help drive both quick wins aligned to key marketing use cases, as well as a more strategic approach to considering how to drive productivity, performance, and innovation with AI. We think AI can really augment and assist marketers in many ways, including: more precise selection of their ideal client profile; content ideation, production, and repurposing or atomizing; AI-powered SEO; AI-driven social media content calendars and post optimization; automated competitive and market trend analysis; and AI-assisted marketing automation capabilities like lead and account scoring.

 

What advice do you have for other leaders who are looking to drive growth for their brand?

Build your brand. People buy from organizations they trust. Part of trust-building is familiarity. Organizations that invest significantly in brand-building through advertising, events, social media, and PR have the opportunity to accelerate their growth. While our consultancy focuses on the demand side of marketing, I have always been a big believer that brand and demand are completely interrelated when it comes to driving growth.

 

What is the biggest problem you or your team are solving this year?

We are in a bit of a valley right now in terms of B2B marketing organizations applying innovation to drive growth. From 2012-2022 we saw tremendous growth in marketing innovation and the resulting impact that marketers had on driving pipeline and revenue. It was enabled by the growth of MarTech apps and platforms like Marketing Automation, ABM, and Intent data. New marketing processes like lead and account scoring, lead nurturing, and ABM strategies drove much tighter alignment with sales. Those technologies and processes are now quite mature. The next wave of innovation that will enable big gains in B2B marketing productivity, performance, and innovation is AI. Most marketing organizations are dabbling in their use of AI today (mostly when it comes to content ideation and creation). I think we are about 12-24 months away from many marketers fully applying Generative AI to augment the majority of their marketing processes to drive the next wave of performance gains.

 

Is there anything that you’re currently reading, or any favorite books, that you would recommend?

I am really excited to read the book I am about to start, The Inner Game of Tennis. It’s a classic on the mental aspects of peak performance. As discussed earlier, one of my biggest passions outside of work is coaching youth basketball. I coach one of the top Under 17 female teams in the province of Ontario and the mental side of performance is becoming more and more of a differentiator, so I am excited to read this book that has been recommended by many. The other book that I am really looking forward to reading is Kate Quinn’s new novel The Briar Club. She’s one of my favorite authors. If you are a fan of WWII era fiction, I highly recommend her books such as The Alice Network, The Rose Code, and The Huntress.

 

Thanks, Mark!

As Demand Spring’s founder and CEO, Mark has a tremendous passion for helping marketing leaders transform their Revenue Marketing practices, enabling them to be strategic leaders in their organization. Over his 25 year career, Mark has been an executive and strategic marketing leader advising high growth organizations and Fortune 500 brands.
Demand Spring is an integrated Revenue Marketing consultancy that helps marketing organizations stand taller by enabling them to scale their ability to contribute to pipeline and revenue. Our team of Revenue Marketing Strategists, Content Marketers, and Marketing Technologists help our clients transform their marketing practices, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and drive revenue.

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