The term “demand generation” is tossed around quite a bit and it’s often unclear how it’s meant. For marketers it’s at the core of what we do, create demand for our products and services. But there are so many pieces of demand generation that are often used interchangeably, and this can be confusing. The best definition I’ve seen is in Eric Wittlake’s article “Lead generation is crippling demand generation” where he writes:
Lead generation: collecting registration information, often in exchange for content, in order to build a marketing database for email or telemarketing followup. The direct outcome of lead generation is new contacts available for sales or marketing.
Demand generation: the practice of creating demand for an organization’s products or services through marketing. The direct outcome is your audience is more likely to purchase your products or services.
In order to know what you are doing, you will need to know what you want to accomplish with your marketing. As always, good marketing starts with the end or rather knowing your your goals.
Let’s be clear, the term “demand generation” is not a goal. Yes, the goal is to create more demand, awareness and ultimately leads that convert into sales, but there is so much more to consider, such as branding, marketing strategies, campaigns and, most importantly of all, the customer. Build your goals with consideration for all of these in mind.
Since the overarching goal – which will have variations based on your corporate goals, the content you have in place, your company’s standing, your customers and more – is to create a demand for your products or services focus your content and outreach in a cohesive and engaging story. In other words, to engage current and potential customers to learn more and enter your sales funnel (more on that another time).
Success of this engagement is driven by your content and your customer.
Content: Your content should be driven by your products, strategies and goals, but ultimately your content should be facilitating solutions for your customers and potential customers. Keep it focused, authentic and easy to reach. Manage your campaigns with useful calls-to-action where your customers feel an exchange and not just information to hand over. Create multi-touch opportunities for your potential customers to “get to know” the company and build trust in your brand and services and be sure to analyze what’s working and what’s no so that you can continue to offer content that will engage and create a dialog with these valuable observers of your brand. You know, bring in a human touch, after all, we’re all people behind the brands, right? You can find more information on “humanizing your brand” in HubSpot’s article “12 Simple Ways Marketers Can Humanize Their Brand”.
Customer: Customers are people and they want to be treated as such, not numbers or lead scores in your funnel; additionally, customers today are not passive. Gone are the Mad Men days of brands telling you what you want… but anyone reading this already knows this so we’ll let that dead horse rest. What’s more important is to be where your customer already lives. Create content through several channels so that you can capture your customer’s attention where they are looking. Michael Brenner of B2B Marketing Insider outlines the importance of this in his post “The Multi-Channel Marketing Mandate: Be Where Your Customers Are!”.
If you’ve gotten this far, you probably read the article, but in case you didn’t or you just want the shorthand on the three key takeaways, here you go:
- Success of this engagement is driven by your content and your customer.
- Create the content to facilitate solutions for your customers.
- Multi-channel marketing is key with an emphasis on being where your customers already are.