Getting to Know Derek Edmond, Our Senior Vice President of Demand Generation

Andrew Cross headshot

In early 2023, we announced that Walker Sands had acquired KoMarketing in an effort to expand our growing demand generation capabilities. Fast forward to today, and our teams have come together as a unified demand gen team dedicated to driving important business outcomes for our clients. 

Former KoMarketing Managing Partner Derek Edmond recently stepped into a new role overseeing our Demand Generation function, which includes paid media, SEO and marketing operations. 

I asked Derek to share more about his new role, his vision for the Demand Generation department, and his insights on digital marketing trends. 

Derek Edmond headshot

Tell us about transitioning from Managing Partner at KoMarketing to your new role as SVP of Demand Generation at Walker Sands. How are things going so far?

What’s interesting about my specific experience is that while the vast majority of the agency integration has gone very smoothly, there has been a LOT to learn or gain experience with. Oftentimes there have been subtle learnings that are not as obvious. For example, learning how various roles and team members can complement one another is something newer that requires shifting perspectives and adaptation. 

Sometimes it can feel a bit daunting when a lot of “new” is thrown at you, and sometimes I would simply plow through an initiative, only to realize there may have been a better way to do it if I’d just asked for a bit more support. The latter is a change in habit from being a Managing Partner that I’m still working towards as a member of the broader team.

All this said, I continue to be grateful to have amazing co-workers and such an exceptional demand generation team; willing to help and offer support no matter what the situation has been. It’s a motivating force!

How do you stay focused in your role? Any tips or tricks for other marketing leaders? 

Establishing realistic and measurable goals is a critical element. Both professionally and personally, at the start of the year, I look to establish 3 or 4 key goals to accomplish throughout the year. I write them down so they are “real” and revisit them on at least a weekly basis, but they’re typically right in front of me or close by (via digital formats of course) almost all of the time.

These goals help shape and prioritize day-to-day tactics and responsibilities. By reviewing the alignment between tactics / assignments and how they influence defined goals, I can better determine where to focus versus delegate. This is even more important when considering the constant shifts and changes we face in digital marketing. It’s a good thing to explore new opportunities, but I don’t want to lose sight of the broader objectives.

Tactically speaking, I keep a weekly to-do list that I try to refresh on Sundays or first thing Monday morning. I’d be very lost without Evernote for weekly task lists and Google Calendar for tracking meetings and commitments.

Reflecting on your broader career, how do your experiences and successes contribute to the vision you have for the Walker Sands Demand Generation department?

I’ve come to realize how important one’s resolve and ability to learn and adapt from failure and challenging situations have been in shaping success. I’ve learned more when I’ve had to overcome a significant challenge (business, client-related or even tactically), than if a win came easily, or even if a calculated and well-thought-out recommendation yielded success; especially on its first try. 

The wins always feel good, but there is something just as rewarding about getting through the difficult times (even when it doesn’t feel that way while you’re in it).

To such an extent, I try to encourage team members to be proactive in communication and how they suggest initiatives, both client-side and within the department. I want our team to feel empowered to suggest, offer, and make decisions, and reach out with questions and / or clarification when needed. Engaging in productive dialogue and communication is critical to successful growth. 

My vision in this is to make our team more capable digital marketers and B2B marketing professionals overall. There are many steps in this process, but I’m excited about what 2024 has to offer in generating new opportunities related to this.

What’s new in demand generation? What are clients looking for? What are you excited about? 

There is the ever-present and growing more intense pressure for B2B demand generation teams to generate results, drive leads, and impact everything from brand awareness to sales qualification. On top of that, we’re all continuing to be expected to do more, with less (of course).

Generative AI is one avenue of learning and an opportunity that may help to scale and support B2B marketers’ responsibilities, but like all emerging developments, one has to dedicate the time and learning to get up to speed. One of my personal goals has been to dedicate 30 – 45 minutes every week to specifically learn more about how generative AI tools can better assist my day-to-day responsibilities.

The adoption of marketing technology also remains a critical area where organizations either need more guidance or are focusing on resources to maintain support for their investments. We’re seeing organizations and client contacts expecting our team to leverage the tools in their martech stack to make better program decisions and find new ways to execute. 

Looking towards the future, what are your key priorities, both on the client side and as a leader in the organization? 

Working hard toward building a mix of outstanding client partnerships, expanding opportunities for our team members, and setting an example as a leader are priorities I’m focusing on.

From a client perspective, I love learning about new business models, developing technologies, and innovation in the various industry segments we represent. Additionally, it’s exciting for me to talk with a client or prospect about what we are doing to accomplish their business objectives, what’s on the horizon for their business, and how we can differentiate their marketing strategies from the competition.

On the agency side, we have great people at Walker Sands and I’m constantly learning something new. As we head deeper into 2024, my commitment is to continue to do my part in being a good teammate and work hard building our department and Walker Sands as an agency. That way we can offer that much more for the colleagues I represent, and in turn our client partners; generating a win-win for everyone involved.

Congratulations to Derek on his new role! I’m excited for all the opportunities ahead of our demand gen team under Derek’s leadership. 


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