Demand Generation

4 Common Misconceptions of Demand Generation

Demand generation refers to any marketing activity that builds awareness and interest in your products and services, and ultimately creates a pipeline of leads that your sales team can use to grow your business. Demand gen is a fundamental part of marketing and almost always involves many overlapping job functions and teams. It began—in the earliest years of marketing—as one-way communication. Businesses held all the cards, all the information and utilized (then) physical means to get the public aware of what they have to offer.

In recent years, demand generation has evolved to embrace new channels and new paradigms—like the decentralization of information across more interactive platforms or even the greater freedom of the B2B buyer to conduct their own research. In many cases, the work of demand generation often overlaps other key marketing functions like lead generation, brand awareness campaigns, or product marketing…almost to the point where it can be easy to downplay the key role demand gen plays in a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Let’s look at the four biggest misconceptions of demand generation that can prevent you from optimizing this important weapon in your marketer’s arsenal.

Misconception 1: Demand Generation = Lead Generation

Let’s go into detail about the misconception we just touched upon. It’s simple really: demand generation is a broader concept of which lead generation is just a part. You could, for instance, run a campaign focused solely on generating interest and excitement for a product without putting in a component that gathers leads. Some B2B companies might opt for this when they’re very new and want to get out there—or if their products and services are unique.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Can you do lead generation independent of demand generation? Not really. Because while the end goal of lead generation to capture contact details for further nurturing and sales efforts, you can’t do that without sparking interest in your services or products. When it comes to lead generation, however, you need to be more specific and address specific needs and pain points to capture leads that are primed to nurture.

Demand generation is all about drumming up interest and hype for your products and services
Demand generation is all about drumming up interest and hype for your products and services.

Misconception 2: Demand Generation Works with a Single-Channel Approach

It used to, by the way. Demand generation in a pre-digital era relied solely on printed materials. With so many channels available to modern marketers, however, it doesn’t make practical sense to not utilize them within a broader multi-channel strategy. The trick, really, is figuring out which channels are relevant to and favored by your target audience. You wouldn’t place fliers for new tires in the middle of a forest now, would you?

A 2020 study by Deloitte found that companies enjoy a 166% increase in engagement levels when they reach out to potential customers via two or more channels. That’s a significant enough boost in numbers that should make you consider running your demand and lead generation as a seamless, multi-channel campaign.  

Misconception 3: You Don’t Have to Target with Demand Generation

Not everyone can be your customer because not everyone cares or can use what you have to offer, right? More to the point, not everyone who needs what you offer can afford your products and services. While it might seem like you maximize your reach by targeting as many people as possible, it’s actually less efficient. In the pre-digital world, it might have made sense to give away flyers to every Tom, Dick, and Harry, but today, it doesn’t.

The fact is many marketing channels these days can get highly specific in their targeting, so there really isn’t any excuse at all. Your business is going to notice positive results—including greater engagement and better conversions—if your target the right audience segments at precisely the right time. The simplest way to go about this is to target potential customers whose current concerns and problems are solved by the solutions you offer.

A multi-channel approach is the way to go—provided you utilize channels your specific audience prefers
A multi-channel approach is the way to go—provided you utilize channels your specific audience prefers

Misconception 4: Only the Top of the Funnel Matters

Perhaps the most dangerous misconception is that demand generation is a strictly top-of-the-funnel activity. It’s easy to see why people might think that. After all, you want to generate demand and brand awareness at those who aren’t yet in your funnel, right? Wrong. The fact is that buyer’s journeys and even sales funnels are far more fluid than their structures imply. Buyers can stop their journey, they can backtrack, they can even leave your funnel altogether—sometimes many times altogether.

Persistent demand generation can be beneficial because it can reinforce your brand—gently pushing prospects forward—or introduce new benefits they might not have considered. It might even be a factor in converting prospects into leads into customers. The key, as always, is accurate targeting, bearing in mind the most pressing concerns in the stage of the journey your potential customer might be in.

Demand Generation Can Be a Potent Tool

Demand generation is best utilized not as a separate entity but a part—a consistent part—of your overall marketing strategy. It can certainly drum up interest in your products and services, building up hype—but it’s just as useful in maintaining that interest as your buyers’ progress through their journeys. Just make sure to leverage the right channels, target the right audience, and provide the right content and materials.

Of course, you can always start out with leads that are already interested and want to buy what you have to offer. Interested? Talk to us today, let’s get you started.