As a concept that’s been transformed over the last decade – and one that is signaling a drastic change come the next two years – demand generation causes more confusion in modern marketing than almost any other phrase. There’s a good reason for this, though: Far too many marketers and businesspeople still confuse the action of generating leads with generating actual demand; it’s also because, as we started off by saying, the concept has undergone radical change over the last eight-plus-years.
Let’s first define the phrase for those who are complete novices to the it: “DG” is the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services, and it’s commonly used in business-to-business, business-to-government or longer business-to-business sales cycles. The process involves multiple areas of marketing, and is often referred to as “the marriage of marketing programs to a structured sales process” by many professionals in the know.
Without getting too technical with regard to the specifics, there are multiple components of a DG process that vary based on the size and complexity of a sale; these include (but are not limited to):
• Building awareness
• Positioning relevance
• Supporting validation
• Mitigating customer evaluation
Understanding the Challenges Modern Businesses Face
Among the most formidable challenges facing new businesses, specifically entities operating in crowded markets and startups, is the generation of demand. Why? Mainly because it’s a much more involved process compared to lead generation, rendering it that much more challenging for new brands. In thinking of DG as a long-term relationship between a brand’s prospective customers and marketing/sales teams, businesses should start by identifying and qualifying prospects through inbound and content marketing, email campaigns/events and direct response – all prior to transferring these leads to a “nurturing” team that further qualifies these prospects via scoring systems.
All of that being said, how can modern businesses utilize DG in today’s ever-evolving business climate? The following are strategies that can be considered for keeping one’s business above water in a modern consumer landscape:
• Giveaways of Real Value – Whether it’s a free offer, content download or other kind of promotional campaign, regularly offering value-endowed giveaways brings with it benefits such as building a sense of trust between the audience and brand.
• Lookalike Audiences on Facebook – One of Facebook‘s most powerful targeting strategies is Lookalike Audiences, with a key advantage being the ability to double the potential reach of Facebook advertising campaigns via leveraging the expansive wealth of data that Facebook possesses regarding its users.
• Looking to Industry Superstars on Webinars – Partnering with industry superstars on webinars increases a business’ standing in its industry, boosts brand awareness and forges valuable connections with key influencers.
Generation of demand is perhaps the most critical need for today’s business, and marketers are continuing to generate more opportunities to support their clients’ growth strategies.