All marketing efforts are geared towards one goal—to delight consumers and customers throughout all stages of the buyer’s journey. When audiences are delighted, they become effective brand promoters who can help spread the word about how awesome your products and services are.
At the heart of all of this is demand marketing. There are numerous B2B marketing concepts that we’re all saturated with and engrossed in—from lead generation to lead nurturing to conversion acquisition and the actual sales process. However, most marketers fail to focus on the significance and impact of demand marketing.
What is Demand Marketing?
Demand marketing is the process by which marketers get people excited about a new brand or product to generate demand. Driving awareness and generating interest are the key focal points of demand marketing. Demand captures the umbrella of marketing and sales programs that get people enthusiastic enough to make them eager to learn more about your product and eventually realize its significance in their lives.
Demand marketing involves multiple channels, platforms, and campaigns that are coupled with structured sales programs. Marketing efforts related to demand marketing include building awareness, positioning relevance, supporting validation, and mitigating customer evaluation.
Demand marketing has a holistic approach that ties marketing efforts with sales processes and awareness-building at its center. What makes demand marketing unique from other customer acquisition endeavors is its commitment to long-term business relationships to maintain brand interest and enthusiasm.
However, demand marketing is more than just branding. There are demand marketing concepts that most B2B marketers often use interchangeably, such as lead generation, demand generation, and demand creation. Hence, it’s important to note the difference between the two.
Demand Creation vs. Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
Most marketing experts define demand generation as targeted marketing programs that drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. The demand is already there, but marketers want to generate more demand to increase sales and revenue by nurturing and maintaining relationships with prospects and customers.
On the other hand, demand creation is the process by which marketers create demand where none exists. Demand creation is commonly utilized for new products and services where the demand has not been proven or tested yet. In short, marketers want to create and study the demand for a certain product or service targeted towards specific consumers.
In demand creation, Presence to Market is the primary goal. This is where initial efforts include media coverage, thought leadership, and subject matter expertise. Essentially, you’re pushing your brand and product into the market to generate new interest and demand with press releases, helpful articles, videos, reports, and various other types of content.
Afterward, you collect leads from the demand you’ve established through lead generation tactics such as content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and social media. With lead generation, the main goal is to collect prospects’ contact information (from the generated demand) and nurture them into customers. Getting people to fill out your lead generation forms can be done through gated content such as eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, videos, and webinars.
Simply put, demand creation is about generating brand awareness and demand where none exists, while demand generation focuses on increasing the demand that already exists. Both demand creation and demand generation are marketing tactics. On the other hand, lead generation is sales-oriented and has the goal of amassing leads that you can guide along the sales funnel, and eventually, handed off to the sales team to close the deal.
Both demand creation and demand generation focus on the awareness stage in the buyer journey, whereas lead generation efforts focus on the later stages in the buying journey, such as the consideration and decision stages.
To develop an effective demand generation strategy, marketers first need to understand the key principles behind the concept:
The Pillars of Demand Generation
Understand Your Audience
Every good marketing strategy starts with knowing precisely who your target audience is. And this must extend beyond simple information such as their basic demographics. Creating a buyer persona can help you know your target market and understand their pain points, challenges, problems, and individual motivations.
Determine your ideal customer. Take the time to do your research by surveying or interviewing prospects and existing customers. By understanding where they’re coming from and how they want to receive information, you can craft better tailored strategies to address their needs. By knowing exactly who your target buyer is, you can deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Get Your Audience Involved
It’s not enough to simply produce content. You need to be actively engaging with your audience. Getting prospects to interact with your brand helps to build and nurture strong brand relationships.
Remember that by building awareness, you’re also generating demand for your offering. From the very beginning, you want to delight your prospects to become brand ambassadors and promoters eventually.
Demand generation is all about educating and building relationships with current customers, newly discovered markets, or freshly defined target audiences (in the case of demand creation).
Deliver Added Value
Building awareness and generating interest for your brand requires you to establish thought leadership and industry expertise. This can be done by creating content that informs and educates your target audience. Give them everything and anything they need to know to help them make an informed decision about your products and services.
While there might be a lot of content that’s already available, it’s vital for demand generation strategies to cut through the noise and stand out with added value that sets your brand’s content apart.
Remember that this isn’t a traditional promotional effort. You’re NOT trying to sell your brand’s products. You’re trying to provide something uniquely valuable to your audience that sparks their interest and encourages them to remember and interact with your brand in the future.
Integrate Marketing Efforts
When creating and generating buzz for your brand, it’s important to integrate your marketing strategies to deliver a consistent message across all channels. For instance, after you create valuable content and publish it to your website or blog, it’s essential to integrate it with your SEO strategy to make it more search engine-friendly.
Then there’s integration with social media. You need to promote your content through various platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other channels that are relevant to your target audience. You can also integrate your new content with your email marketing strategy to build and nurture relationships with the audiences you have captured.
Marketing automation tools can help you integrate your marketing channels. They can also significantly increase your efficiency and productivity by helping you manage your marketing strategies and automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as sending multiple emails or posting content on different social media platforms.
Measure Your Results Through Data
Just like any marketing effort, it’s essential to measure performance by examining and analyzing data. Metrics and KPIs such as engagement, click-through rates, and website traffic can help you determine whether you’re succeeding in generating interest and awareness with your demand generation strategies.
- Are people posting comments and sharing your content?
- Can people find you on search engines?
- Can your website be found through various social media channels?
These are some of the more critical questions you can answer with the help of data collection and analysis. Just like any other data analysis, the process should be as follows:
5 Tips to Increase Demand Generation
1. Create Multiple Buyer Personas for Your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience is a key principle in demand marketing. To further help you outline content and strategies specific to your audience, you should create multiple buyer personas.
Begin with a holistic buyer persona and perform a detailed character study for each type of buyer. Once you have your buyer personas in place, you can map out your strategies according to each persona and understand your audience’s needs and wants beyond demographics and data.
Because buyers and prospects are constantly changing, you need to keep your data fresh. A prospect might not be interested in your offer today, but who knows what they might need tomorrow? With the help of updated data, your marketing efforts can be accurate and, more importantly, timely.
2. Provide Content that’s Personalized to Each Buyer Persona—for Free
So, you’ve created multiple buyer personas. With these in hand, you’ll know which content format to use, as well as the channel where you can best reach them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to create a variety of content. You can simply recycle your old content in ways that help you reach each buyer persona more effectively.
For example, imagine that you’ve developed informative content for your solar energy business for three buyer personas: Jim, the CEO of a telecommunications business, Barry, the farm owner, and Edward, the Operations Director of a manufacturing company.
Based on your study and research of each buyer persona, you discover that Jim appreciates whitepapers and eBooks better, Barry likes watching videos, and Edward enjoys reading short blog posts and infographics.
You can then recycle the same content into three formats. Essentially, they will contain the same information but will be presented in different ways to match the consumption habits of each buyer persona. Ensure that each format is shareable and can help spread the word about your brand.
3. Partner Up with Influencers or Industry Celebrities
Build relationships with industry rock stars. Send free products or free trials to industry influencers in exchange for social media posts or blog mentions that link back to your website or landing page.
Your goal in demand generation is to generate awareness. What better way to get more people to learn about your brand or new product than to leverage the existing audiences of influencers who have already earned the trust of their followers?
To ensure that you’re reaching the right people, ensure that the influencer you choose has access to and influence with the specific audience you want to target. The closer they match your buyer personas, the higher your chances of success.
4. Invest in Paid Ads
Paid ads such as search ads and display remarketing can help you reach audiences you would not otherwise be able to reach through organic traffic. Additionally, since you can set a profile targeting criteria with paid ads, you can get the right people faster and more accurately.
Display remarketing ads can also greatly generate website traffic and build awareness about your brand and its products.
5. Experiment with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences
If you’re already advertising on Facebook, then chances are you’ve already heard about Lookalike Audiences. This recent development in Facebook ads is a powerful tool to widen your reach by casting a giant net.
Facebook lets you use customized audiences with profiles similar to the users who have already clicked through your website or ads. This amplifies the number of users you can reach so you can build awareness faster and more efficiently. Essentially, you’re targeting additional users that “look like” your current customers, fans, or buyer personas.
Wrapping It Up
Demand is the foundation of all marketing and sales processes, and all businesses looking to grow need to implement effective demand generation strategies.
Demand creation plants the seed, and demand generation is the water and sunlight that helps it grow. Through demand generation, you can lay the fundamentals for your business and build awareness about your brand with the people that matter most, your ideal customers.
Lead generation is only possible through demand generation. If there’s no demand, generating leads will be difficult, if possible at all. By understanding what demand generation means for your business and its distinction from lead generation, you can better create and plan your marketing strategies and maximize the ROI from your sales and marketing efforts.
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