Tracking Campaign Success with Demand Generation Metrics: A 3-Step Guide

February 16, 2023
Contributor: Amita Jain

The right mix of demand generation metrics will provide insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing campaign.

Software marketers often find it difficult to establish the ROI of demand generation programs, leading to inefficient use of resources and difficulty meeting objectives. You may have access to plenty of performance data, but understanding it all requires context. 

For example, are the 30 new sales-qualified leads (SQLs) you achieved this quarter a good or bad result? You can only answer that by comparing against past performance from the same quarter last year or what you acquired through different channels such as social media or email. 

Software marketers launching a demand generation campaign should identify and track the right metrics; only then can they gauge if a campaign is meeting goals. 

In this article, we'll cover three steps to identify performance metrics for your demand generation campaigns that contribute to business goals.

What is demand generation marketing?

Demand generation is a B2B marketing strategy that focuses on reaching audiences unaware of the benefits of your product or service. It takes a holistic approach to educating prospects by introducing them to a challenge that exists for their business. This is often done through creative campaigns, typically driven by content marketing, email marketing and display ads.

Also read: 5 Essential Steps to Build a Demand Generation Strategy

Three steps to set goals and define metrics for your demand generation program

To assess and improve the performance of demand generation initiatives, B2B marketers must develop a programmatic approach to choose demand generation metrics. Start with defining business goals you want to achieve through demand generation before moving to key metrics to track, and finally, benchmark your results with performance indicators.

Three steps to measure the effectiveness of a demand generation program

1. Align demand generation goals with business objectives

The first step is to ensure your demand generation initiatives drive the business forward. Structure your campaign goals around potential sources of revenue and objectives for your products and target markets. This will help you select marketing metrics that directly support your organization's goals.

Use examples from our table for guidance on turning your business objectives into demand generation goals.

Align demand gen goals with business objectives

2. Build four levels of metrics as indicators of success or failure

Generate insights at multiple levels to measure the success of your campaigns accurately. These range from strategic metrics to establish return on investment (ROI) to operational and tactical metrics to fine-tune your campaign.

Strategic metrics that directly relate to business objectives capture the attention of C-level executives and VPs. The success of e-book downloads or A/B test results, for example, may not be as impactful for them as the tangible impact of marketing spend on revenue and market share. In addition, measure impressions, calls to action (CTAs) form fills, and other tactical insights to determine your campaign’s strengths and weaknesses and make necessary adjustments.

The overall goals for a business can be drilled down to strategic objectives (Tier 2), operational metrics (Tier 3) and tactical metrics (Tier 4). Look at the image below to understand the respective KPIs.

Gartner's hierarchy of marketing metrics

Below are examples of demand generation metrics and their definitions.

Demand gen metrics and definitions

3. Benchmark your performance to interpret results

Now that you know what metrics to track, what do they indicate? Are the results looking good, bad or somewhere in between? Compare your performance with historical data or internal targets, and in the absence of that, use industry benchmarks as your frame of reference.

Refer to Gartner’s performance benchmarks[1] on demand generation effectiveness, such as conversion rates across the stages of the sales and marketing funnel. According to the report, the average pass-through rate, from inquiry to close rate, is consistent, with 42% of leads passing from one stage to the next.

Conversion rate at each funnel stage

MAL = marketing-accepted lead, MQL = marketing-qualified lead, SAL = sales-accepted lead, SQL = sales-qualified lead

Pro tip:

When reviewing demand generation programs, don’t look at marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) alone. Compare conversion rates throughout the funnel; each step reveals key insights into your overall program performance and effectiveness. 

Some final tips to improve the performance of demand generation

  • Before committing to a metric, make sure you can collect the data you need.
  • Concentrate on a few key metrics that will give you the most insights. Don't try to measure everything, or you'll end up with more data than you know what to do with.
  • Improve campaign targeting and focus on in-market buyers using third-party intent data and account-based marketing (ABM). 
  • Evaluate rich-media types such as podcasts and non-digital media to amplify messaging and content to break out from crowded digital channels.
  • Use metrics to identify which channels are working best. Reallocate resources accordingly.
  • Vary your landing page messaging after consumer feedback and insights from metrics to improve targeting and campaign outcomes.

For more resources like these or to connect with the most promising in-market buyers as early as possible and position your campaigns for success, check out Gartner Digital Markets.

Amita Jain

Amita Jain covers B2B content creation and strategy to help businesses reach their marketing goals. She received her master’s degree from King’s College London, U.K. Exploring the world of art and reading fiction are some of her usual happy distractions outside of work. Connect with Amita on LinkedIn.



1.       Tech Marketing Benchmarks Survey 2022: Demand Generation Insights

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