Demand generation is a powerful tool to use in your B2B marketing strategy. It’s a full-funnel approach that engages customers and prospects at every stage.
Demand gen works by creating targeted interest to develop value for your brand. By providing essential information at the moment of need, demand generation strengthens relationships. This approach works at each stage of a prospect or customer relationship.
How Does Demand Generation Work?
A properly developed demand generation strategy uses multiple approaches. It uses strategic content, strategic messaging, data, and buyer personas to align customer needs with valuable insights.
Demand gen positions your brand as a provider of valued information at each stage. It’s the glue that connects you to your customers.
There are several key stages to demand generation. Below we will delve into each and show how it can transform your marketing strategy. The stages are:
- Raising Brand Awareness
- Developing Content
- Nurturing Relationships for Sales
- Retaining Customers
One important note: Demand generation is not lead generation. Lead generation is a narrower, focused strategy designed to collect qualified leads for sales teams to pursue. One example is collecting names and contact information on an online form.
Demand generation is a more comprehensive approach that nurtures relationships at each stage. While it uses many of the same tactics as lead generation, it’s a broader strategy.
Raising Brand Awareness
One of the most essential tasks marketers need to complete today is to develop brand awareness. Today’s customers want to relate to brands they frequent. They expect brands to know them, their needs, and interactions with your business.
Brand awareness leaves buyers with a lasting impression of your company. It fosters trust, confidence that the solutions your company provides are reliable, accurate, and impactful.
Brand awareness has multiple components, including:
- A clear brand identity helps you differentiate your company from competitors. Your identity should provide customers with easy recall of who you are and what you’re about
- A go-to-market strategy based on research that articulates what you’re going to sell and how. Demand marketing can be seen as a way to prove whether your assumptions are correct. It can also help to adjust based on data and results
- Buyer personas articulate who you’re trying to reach and what characteristics they share. Identifying and developing brand personas lets you understand who you’re approaching and how
- Thought leadership helps position your brand as an expert and authority within your space. You want people to think of your brand when they think about industry leaders
- Strong reviews management, which includes encouraging customers to leave reviews and responding appropriately to customer feedback
- Social media presence on the right platforms. Leveraging social media lets you set the tone and messaging for your brands. It’s a powerful way to communicate broadly
Your content strategy is at the core of your demand marketing approach. You want to develop content that addresses customer pain points and answers critical questions.
Content development should occur for each phase of the sales funnel. By identifying key needs at each phase, you’re able to position your brand as authoritative and valuable.
Content should answer the questions that buyers will have throughout the customer journey. The information should also be displayed in multiple formats. Today, for example, video is an increasingly important medium for gaining information and answering questions.
Among the content options are:
- Blogs that educate your website visitors and drive SEO, with keyword-optimized content. Your blogs should be about topics of keen interest to customers and prospects.
- Email marketing gives leads multiple opportunities during a campaign to engage with your brand. Email marketing can answer questions and speak directly to their needs while acknowledging actions already taken. If resources permit, this content can be personalized to provide more resonance
- Conversion optimization which uses your website to gain information about prospects. At strategic points, visitors should be encouraged to seek more information. Gated content such as white papers, product guides, or videos allows you to secure contact information. Investing in website user experience (UX) tools can help to ensure visitors navigate your website to maximize leads
- Paid advertising increases your presence and can be highly targeted based on desired customer demographics. Paid ads on both search engines and social media attract visitors and facilitate a larger prospect pool
- Conversational marketing using chatbots and other technology lets you connect with visitors. Automated and live engagement lets you answer questions and add value to the visitor experience
Nurturing Relationships for Sales
Leads are critical and sales teams are eager to connect with prospects, especially those of high value. However, with demand marketing, there’s much more than a marketing-to-sales handoff.
Throughout the sales process, marketing tactics can deepen the relationship and assist in closing deals. Sales enablement tools include:
- Case studies, with narratives from actual customers about the work you’ve done and solutions you’ve provided. Compelling case studies build trust and provide real-world examples of your brand’s impact
- Testimonials are narratives provided by your customers, ideally, those who are similar to your target audiences. They are quick statements that reinforce your value and worth to a customer’s peer
- FAQs and fact sheets offer details in easy-to-digest formats. FAQs typically use a question-and-answer format for commonly asked questions. Fact sheets are often more detailed with specifics about products and services
Retaining customers is essential for repeating business, advancing your brand’s reputation, and extending the customer relationship.
There are many ways you can provide services that focus on retention, including:
- A knowledge base where customers can share solutions and insights and learn from each other
- Customer support that includes ticketing tools and transparency to track inquiries and provide timely service
- Incentive programs for customer referrals can generate new business while providing discounts for existing customers
- Customer-only content such as first-to-know emails, special discounts, and promotions tell customers how valued they are
Demand generation marketing connects you to customers at every step of their journey. It’s the right way to engage, provide value and build credibility for deeper long-term relationships and more opportunities for business.