Blog Post

Demand Generation

7 Misconceptions about Demand Generation

Demand generation is a full-funnel approach that’s designed to provide information at the moment of need.

Demand gen is critical to success today in B2B marketing. It’s a strategy that builds brand awareness and demand for your products and services. Today, demand generation uses multiple channels and approaches with decentralized information used across platforms.

Despite the power and efficacy of demand generation, there are many persistent misconceptions. Here’s a look at 7 myths about demand generation and why they’re inaccurate.

Misconception #1: Demand Generation and Lead Generation Are the Same Things

People incorrectly believe lead generation and demand generation are one in the same. However, they are very different in scope and practice.

Lead generation is a much more basic sales strategy that’s focused on a singular goal: obtaining more leads. It’s a basic approach that’s designed to collect contact information from customers who might be interested in your product or service.

Lead generation takes a blanket approach to market to the masses. One example: using blogs or webinars to entice readers to leave contact information on a web form.

This is not to diminish lead generation. There are effective ways to garner more leads. Many businesses, impatient with the time needed to deploy demand generation, turn to lead generation instead.

Demand generation is a more comprehensive approach to sales and marketing. With demand gen, you will attract, convert and keep customers.

Demand generation is about nurturing relationships at each stage, as opposed to lead generation, which is more transactional. Instead of passing leads on to a sales team for follow-up, demand gen looks to meet prospects and customers where they are.

With demand generation, you identify what a customers’ needs are and provide solutions, whether it’s content, free tools, or product guides. These solutions are dependent on where a customer is in their journey. They can be personalized using data gleaned from the customer relationship.

Misconception #2: Demand Gen Is a Top-of-the-Funnel Activity

It’s a common misconception that demand generation focuses exclusively on the top of the funnel. Generating demand, however, is not just about acquisition. It’s about engaging and re-engaging customers.

Demand generation takes the long view. It’s about obtaining new prospects and converting those prospects. It’s also about reinforcing your brand and continuing to provide value throughout the lifetime of a customer’s relationship.

Misconception #3: You Can Control the Buyer Journey

Demand generation marketing is not about controlling the buyer. In fact, today, the buyer has more control over the customer journey than ever before.

Why? First, the expectations are different. Customers want relationships with the brands they use. They expect brands to know the extent of the engagements, their preferences, and their needs.

In addition, buyers today have lots of information available, including independent product reviews, message boards, and social media channels. These forums give buyers far more insights into your products and services and the ability to do their own research.

With buyers having information and freedom, demand generation is the right choice. You cannot control the buyer but you can be prepared to meet them where they are.

Demand marketing focuses on having high-value information available at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Creating great content and using your CRM to manage buyer engagements results in better outcomes for buyers and your brand.

Misconception #4: Demand Generation Is a Singular Approach

Demand generation is not a singular strategy to use for your marketing. Instead, it’s the collection of multiple marketing initiatives, across multiple channels.

These activities are coordinated, integrated, and driven by shared data. They also are evolutionary and iterative. If one approach is not working, such as search engine display ads, demand gen allows for rapid pivots. You can shift out of one strategy and try another.

The key is to develop a strategy that engages prospects and customers across channels. Social media, web, SEO, email, video, and other channels all factor into engaging your target audience.

The reason for this approach is evident. Your buyers do not operate on one channel only. Your marketing should not, either.

Misconception #5: There Are No Targets in Demand Generation

With its multi-channel approach, demand generation sometimes suffers from an assumption that targets are not necessary.

The opposite is true. You should use targets for each challenge used. Targeting likely buyers on the right channel at the time of need is the smart move. It leads to higher levels of engagement and higher conversion rates.

Setting these targets requires some work. You need to know who your ideal customers are. You need to understand when they will be looking for solutions and where.

Misconception #6: Content Format Is Irrelevant

Not true: Walls of copy rich in information and stuffed with keywords is the way to go with content.

Remember, the buyer is in control of the relationship. And your brand will not be the only one creating content.

You need to cut through the clutter and noise. That means creating content in the format that your customers want. Increasingly, customers are interested in content in different formats – infographics, videos, and podcasts.

The good news is that often you can repurpose content. A Q&A video with a product manager can be converted into a blog post. A new product announcement can be used to create a graphic that explains key features and enhancements.

Misconception #7: You Need Channel Specialists to be Successful at Demand Generation

Channel specialists are certainly valuable. They know how to effectively manage one channel and bring expertise and experience to your business,

However, they are just that – a specialist who knows one channel, albeit well.

Demand gen requires the use of multiple experts who understand the big picture. You need a team that can work together on strategy messaging, execution, and measurement.

Matter Made helps B2B SaaS businesses grow. Our demand generation, go-to-market, growth marketing, and paid media services help brands attract more customers and convert more sales.

To learn more about how Matter Made can optimize your demand generation strategy, contact us today.

Blog Post

Demand Generation

Growth

It's normal to ask if there is a difference between demand generation vs. lead generation. On the surface, they sound like two sides of the same coin—like calling your pipeline the Buyer's Journey vs. a Sales Funnel.

But demand gen and lead gen are different concepts.

Understanding that difference transforms the effectiveness of B2B SaaS marketing strategies. It re-focuses your efforts on what matters at the end of the day—the quality of the lead.

At the same time, you'll avoid wasting your limited time, resources, and talent on leads who will never—I repeat "never"—become paying customers.

When you're finished here, you'll know the difference and how/when to use both to get more out of your SaaS marketing.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: The Definition

Demand Generation is the act of deploying marketing campaigns to create demand for a product or service. It uses data to determine when, where, and how to accomplish this effectively.

Lead Generation is the act of leveraging marketing to collect contact information from people who may be interested in your product or service now or in the future.

The Purpose

With demand generation, you create buzz. Get the right people excited and talking about a problem your SaaS fixes. You want them to want you and see you as the solution to their business problems. As demand progresses, you become the missing link to meeting their goals, something they can't do without.

While demand gen does generate leads through landing pages, its purpose is to play the long game. You want awareness and positioning that can only happen over time.

By doing so, demand generation expands your reach and becomes a magnet for your ideal customers.

Lead generation, on the other hand, focuses on capturing identifying information, like an email. This allows you to personalize and continually improve the effectiveness of your nurturing.

Through it, you achieve a higher and faster MQL-to-SQL and Lead-to-Close Ratio in the shorter term. You increase your ability to deliver the most relevant marketing messages and content.

Additionally, that data reveals the precise moment a lead meets qualified lead criteria. This makes it possible to time the hand-off to sales and Speed the Lead expertly.

In the long term, you're gathering both quantitative and qualitative data. This helps you understand which leads are worth your time and energy. What are the signs that a lead is ripe for a conversation with sales?

Now, take this information back to the demand generation side. Through it, you improve your demand generation targeting precision.

And it comes full circle.

You have a clearer understanding of who to target. As a result, you generate demand from the right people, refining your top-of-funnel.

In doing so, you generate higher quality leads. And the cycle begins again, leading to exponential outcomes.

So it's no wonder 78% of marketers say they plan to commit a higher percentage of the marketing budget to demand gen, or at least keep it the same. While the top priority is generating leads, they recognize demand gen is critical to meeting that KPI.

Timing

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation isn't an either/or proposition. You need both to grow your company effectively, but timing matters.

You have to create the buzz first. Any lead generation efforts will trickle if you're not implementing strategies to generate that demand first.

You can break this timing down into three stages of awareness:

  • Stage 1. Non-aware. They don't even know they have a problem. Top-of-funnel (ToF)
  • Stage 2. Problem-aware. They know about the problem but not how to fix it. Middle-of-funnel (MoF)
  • Stage 3. Solution aware. They know solutions exist but aren't sure which is right for them. Bottom-of-funnel (BoF)

This all comes down to the right message, the right time. One way to achieve this timing is through educational content.

This serves two primary purposes.

  1. It generates awareness. Of the problem, then the solution.
  2. It builds authority. Why should people listen to you in the first place? Content builds your authority and expertise. At the end of the day, they have a reason to choose your brand over another.

You'll focus on creating demand by ensuring the right people see the right content at the right time. To this end, specific content formats work well at each stage.

  • Stage 1. Non-aware. Make it easy and "low-risk" to start learning about their problem. Become present where they are but don't push them. Use long-form guides, blog posts, etc.
  • Stage 2. Problem-aware. Get them to take action toward learning more in-depth information. At the same time, you build trust and authority. Offer white papers, eBooks.
  • Stage 3. Solution aware. Help them finalize their decision. Share case studies, free trials, and demos.

Timing matters. Throwing problem-aware and solution-aware content at non-aware people will bounce right off. Sadly, a lot of B2B companies are doing just that.

Only 2% of B2B companies create non-aware content at ToF. This represents a tremendous opportunity for those who do.

At any given time, many more people don't know they have a problem.

Creating Demand

The gurus can argue all day long about whether demand is created or products merely fill a void already there. Both are true to some extent.

The problem exists. It's real, and it's impactful.

But with so many moving pieces in the typical business, it's not always easy for your future customers to name it, let alone find a fix.

If people aren't talking about the problem, few are aware of how impactful it is. They don't know others share the same frustrations. So it doesn't cross their minds that there could be a better way.

You need to create that buzz. That's where demand comes from.

By doing so, you start a chain reaction.

More leads. Better leads. More Leads. Better leads. Higher and higher revenues. Exponential growth.

Time to Create that Demand

It's all about timing. It's time to take your business to its next growth stage—generate demand, so high-quality leads come to you.

Curious about the power of demand gen? See how Dropbox increased targeting engagement by 6.5X.

Ready to drive efficient demand?

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