Demand generation is a powerful long-term marketing strategy that helps organizations increase their thought leadership and nurture relationships with potential customers through valuable touchpoints that drive brand awareness.
When brands say they are focusing on demand generation, they are referring to a variety of marketing tactics, such as content creation, and field events, with the goal of establishing high-quality relationships with a target audience over time.
Demand generation isn’t just about driving leads and increasing near-term sales, though a robust strategy will naturally lead to that. The primary goal is to reach potential customers organically, to establish the business as a thought leader, and to drive meaningful connections with the intent of building sticky long-term demand.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation
While demand generation and lead generation are both valuable components of the sales funnel, there are significant differences between the two. Demand generation is a much more comprehensive strategy that builds brand momentum, while lead generation can generally be thought of as one component under a broader demand generation umbrella.
Lead generation sits at the bottom of the sales funnel and has a razor-thin focus on turning target customers into leads. This includes conducting actions with the specific intent of collecting user data, such as emails and demographic information, as fuel for sales teams.
Demand generation, on the other hand, sits at the top of the sales funnel and is a much more holistic approach to nurturing a target audience that can lead to even higher-quality leads. When companies are demand focused, they’re leading with the goal of driving overall engagement rather than short-term sales.
Through impactful content, for example, brands can build valuable assets and resources to share with their target audience without asking for anything in return. An insightful article might not immediately convert curious consumers, but it will raise their awareness about a brand and the problems its solutions are actively addressing. Sales teams can then craft targeted marketing strategies to reach quality leads further down the funnel.
Consumers that are engaged with a brand and have built-in respect for a brand’s knowledge and personality are far more likely to return when they’re ready to buy. This minimizes wasted time, money and effort chasing cold leads, and gives sales closers ammo to flourish.
Demand Generation Marketing
So, what types of activities generally comprise demand generation marketing? Since the primary function of this strategy is to drive value for customers no matter where they are in the marketing funnel, brands can utilize a broad array of creative and interactive tactics.
Did you know that consumers are more likely to engage with a brand after consuming its content? Two-thirds of people consider content marketing useful and valuable, while around half say they are more likely to visit a company’s website and research its products after consuming content marketing, such as blogs, educational videos and webinars.
One of the best ways to generate demand is to give away free stuff. But not just any free stuff – valuable resources such as tips, how-tos, industry analysis and other information within a brand’s thought leadership. Companies can do this by:
- Creating a blog on their website that explains key topics, both core and tangential to their primary products and services.
- Featuring guests that are respected in the industry and have the ability to attract their own audience.
- Hosting educational webinars with one to several thought leaders and a built-in opportunity for Q&A.
- Building a weekly or monthly newsletter flush with information and links back to a product page or company blog.
When a company creates valuable digital content, especially evergreen content, they generate an ongoing opportunity to engage with potential customers. Brands can share content through their email marketing, ad campaigns and social media posts, reaching more people and spreading their knowledge across a wider base over a longer period of time.
Demand generation marketing helps to build brand authority in hopes of appealing more strongly to potential customers and pushing them more reliably toward conversion.
B2B Demand Generation
Companies that provide business-to-business products and services are uniquely well-positioned to benefit from content marketing and demand generation.
For B2B companies, thought leadership is critical to winning new business. Businesses need to maximize their return on investment to run efficiently. Professional buyers need to be able to convince their teams, bosses and CFOs of the vendors they’ve chosen. There’s often built-in interest to network and knowledge-share with peers in their industry. This unique demand environment creates ample opportunity for demand-generating activities.
Whereas direct-to-consumer brands might benefit more from influencer marketing on social media channels, B2B companies are often interfacing with corporate sales teams, decision-makers and even C-Suite executives. B2B clients thrive at industry events, such as trade shows, through educational content that aids in professional development, and at networking events where they can meet potential customers and partners.
B2B companies can capitalize on this opportunity through holistic outreach that leverages these specific demand levers. By building physical and digital resources that appeal to potential customers, brands will be able to stand out in a crowded marketplace and establish their leadership, increasing awareness among valuable customers and building brand loyalty.
In a recent survey by the American Marketing Association, nearly half of B2B marketers said data-driven demand generation programs help them to access higher quality leads. Marketers are allocating more of their budgets to demand generation, finding it increases success rates.
By targeting potential customers early in the sales funnel through educational content that builds trust and respect in a brand, B2B companies can amass an engaged audience ravenous for thought leadership. As a brand increases its industry clout through targeted demand initiatives, sales teams are able to connect with people who are more likely to buy into a brand’s products and services when they’re ready to make buying decisions for their company.
3 Tips for a Successful Demand Generation Strategy
Now that we’ve explained the value of building demand, let’s dive into some essential tips.
1 – Develop a content strategy
Quality content is a foundational component of demand generation. Consider using webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, events, blogs, articles, videos and podcasts to educate, inform and entertain. A cohesive content strategy creates assets that can be amplified across a company’s various communications channels and resurfaced to inject ongoing value. Pro Tip: Incorporate search engine optimization into blogs to boost search results and expand reach.
2 – Establish a value proposition and build trust
Generating demand is an intentionally long-term strategy. By taking the time to identify what value proposition a brand can bring to its target audience, marketers will be able to create touchpoints that more effectively resonate with potential customers. By consistently delivering on a value proposition, brands are able to establish themselves as thought leaders and build trust. Pro Tip: Testimonials and reviews with current and past customers build social proof.
3 – Track leads and KPIs through data
Since demand marketing requires a mix of tactics deployed across the customer journey, data is essential to keeping these programs on track to success. By establishing clear Key Performance Indicators, brands can measure the success of demand campaigns to find the strongest return on investment and effort. Tracking tools help brands learn more about potential customers and better connect demand generation efforts with broader sales activities. Pro Tip: Surveys and polls provide valuable data about audience preferences.
FounderScale: A Partner In Quality Demand Generation
At FounderScale, we focus on helping companies build successful demand generation strategies to increase brand awareness and authority. From overall strategy services customized for each client to SEO-optimized content production, FounderScale works with marketing teams to optimize and scale efforts that drive engagement and revenue.