Blog Post

Demand Generation

What is Demand Generation and How to Leverage it in Your Marketing Strategy

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

Developing Content

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

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.

Blog Post

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.

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