Demand generation is a data-driven process for creating and nurturing sales-ready leads. By aligning marketing activities with the buyer’s journey, demand generation marketers can better understand and predict when a prospect is ready to buy.
Demand generation works best when delivered through an integrated technology stack because it provides the data and analytics needed to track, measure, and optimize marketing programs. Additionally, a demand generation platform can automate many of the tasks associated with lead management, making it easier for marketers to scale their programs.
But what exactly is demand generation? Let’s break down the basics.
Fundamentals of Demand Generation
Demand generation encompasses all the touchpoints of a prospect’s journey, from the first time they hear about your brand to when they finally become a customer. Consists in:
- brand awareness
- internal marketing
- sales enablement
- Client retention
The first stage of the buyer’s journey is awareness. At this stage, the leader is just becoming aware of his problem or need. They don’t know your brand exists yet, but they’re starting to look for a solution.
Demand generation is critical at this stage because it is the first opportunity to introduce your brand to a potential new customer. Done correctly, you can start to build trust and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Thought Leadership – Publish blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, and other resources that educate your target audience about their problem or need.
- Social Media – Use social media to share your thought leadership content and build relationships with potential customers.
- Public Relations Management – Proactively manage your brand reputation by monitoring online conversations and responding to any negative sentiment.
- Creating a GTM Strategy: Your go-to-market strategy is the blueprint for your demand generation efforts. It outlines your target market, ideal customer profile, buyer persona, messaging, and more.
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Inbound marketing is the process of attracting, engaging, and converting strangers into leads and customers. It’s a more modern marketing approach focused on providing value at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Inbound marketing is effective because it aligns with how people actually shop today. With so much information available online, buyers are no longer dependent on sellers to inform them of their options. Instead, they are doing their own research and selecting the brands they want to do business with.
Inbound marketing and demand generation are often considered the same thing, and while they are similar, there is a key distinction. Inbound marketing is a component of demand generation. Lead-focused, top-of-the-funnel activity that occurs before a lead is ready for a sale.
Some common inbound marketing tactics include:
- Blogging – Publish blog posts that educate your target audience about your problem or need.
- SEO: Optimize your website and content for search engines so that people looking for what you offer can find you.
- Private Content: Offer valuable resources, such as eBooks and white papers, in exchange for contact information.
- Social Media – Use social media to share your blog posts and build relationships with potential customers.
- Paid ads: Run paid ads on search engines and social media to reach more people with your message.
- Chatbots and conversational commerce – Use chatbots to interact with potential customers in real time and answer their questions.
Sales enablement is a method of equipping salespeople with the resources they need to be successful. This includes training, content, tools, processes, and more.
Demand generation and sales enablement go hand in hand because demand generation is responsible for generating the leads that sales will ultimately convert into customers. Without demand generation, there would be no leads to follow up with.
Some common sales enablement activities include:
- Lead Scoring – Score and prioritize leads so sales know which ones to focus on first.
- Lead nurturing: Send targeted content and messages to leads over time to build relationships and trust.
- Whitepapers – Write helpful resources that educate potential customers about their problem or need.
- Testimonials and Case Studies – Share stories of how you’ve helped other customers solve their problems.
- Fact Sheets and FAQs: Provide detailed information about your product or service.
- Product Demos: Give potential customers a tour of your product so they can see how it works.
- Pricing Calculators: Help potential customers calculate the cost of your product or service.
- ROI Calculators – Show potential customers how much they can expect to earn by investing in your solution.
Customer retention is the process of keeping your customers happy and engaged so they will continue to do business with you.
Happy customers are essential to any business, but they are especially important for companies that rely on recurring revenue.
Some common customer retention activities include:
- Onboarding – Help new customers get started with your product or service and set them up for success.
- Training and education: Provide resources that teach customers how to use your product or service.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys: Measure customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement.
- Events and webinars: Host events where customers can learn more about your product or service.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
In the world of marketing, the terms demand generation and lead generation are often used interchangeably. However, there is a key distinction between the two concepts.
Lead generation refers to the process of generating interest in a product or service, while demand generation focuses on creating a need or desire for a particular offer. Simply put, demand generation is about getting people to want what you have to offer, while lead generation is about getting people to raise their hands and say they’re interested.
While both concepts are important for driving sales, demand generation is generally seen as more important to long-term success. This is because customers who actively engage with a brand are more likely to become loyal advocates and repeat buyers.
Conversely, customers who simply express interest in a product or service are more likely to forget about it or be swayed by a competitor. As a result, companies need to focus on demand generation strategies that create an emotional connection with potential customers. Only then can they hope to turn prospects into fans for life.
Demand generation is a critical part of any marketing strategy because it helps you convert leads into long-term customers. By creating a need or want for your product or service, you can build relationships with potential customers that will last long after the sale is complete.