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Demand Generation Definition

Demand generation identifies potential prospects based on their initial actions and takes them through a (frequently lengthy) nurturing process to provide sales teams with much higher quality, genuinely qualified leads.

The common misconception is that demand generation is all about creating demand for a product. The clue’s in the name, right? Well, demand generation is far more than that.

In an industry where creating better brand-to-customer relationships is everything, demand generation is an umbrella term for a range of marketing activities that drive long-term engagement.

Demand gen for B2B companies is about creating a predictable pipeline for your sales team.

Demand generation strategies often include blogging, downloadable content, webinars, podcasts, videos, influencer marketing, PR campaigns, SEO, etc.

Demand generation will be a gradual, comprehensive process through these inbound marketing tactics.

There are multiple components of a stepped demand generation process that vary based on the size and complexity of a sale. These components include, among other things:

  • Building awareness

  • Positioning relevance

  • Supporting validation

  • Mitigating customer evaluation.

As marketing teams mature, they realize that even the most polished SEO strategies only get them so far. At some point, you need to transform curiosity into customers.

The solution? Demand generation.

How Does Demand Generation Strategy Work?

Commonly used in business-to-business, business-to-government, or longer business-to-consumer sales cycles, demand generation involves multiple areas of marketing. 

It is the marriage of marketing programs coupled with a structured sales process.

At its simplest, demand generation is the generation of demand for a business’s products or services.

It includes a series of touchpoints designed to create awareness of customer challenges, positions your brand as a trusted advisor, generate leads, sell your solution, and—if done correctly—foster genuine brand loyalty.

It’s a data-driven marketing strategy that includes a range of B2B marketing and sales initiatives that generate interest in your company’s product or service.

This happens through a gradual, comprehensive, and holistic process that often spans entire marketing departments.

Demand generation, like conversion paths, can (and should) be thought of as a funnel.

Advanced demand generation programs typically rely on proactive lead generation activities supported by more traditional market programs and processes.

This is because they tend to assume that prospective customers are aware that they have a need or problem and attempt to solve it when they search for solutions.

Why Is Demand Generation Marketing Important?

Through various nurture campaigns and marketing approaches, demand generation efforts aim to both create a long-term relationship between a brand and a potential buyer, and at the same time, gauge and develop a prospect’s purchasing interest in said brand’s products/services.

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Identify Your Target Audience

Before deciding what the programs entail, you need to know who you’re targeting.

Understanding your audience and building customer profiles will help you precisely target your marketing.

You can develop personas based on the roles, needs, and objectives of your target audience. And the more details you can include, the better.

Because consumers are so overloaded with information, strategic audience marketing is more crucial than ever.

Components of Demand Generation

The components of demand generation include, among other things:

  • Building awareness of your product

  • Positioning relevance

  • Supporting validation

  • Mitigating customer evaluation

Content Marketing

Once you cement your goals and audience, it’s time to plan and produce content for each marketing funnel stage.

The pre-purchase, top-of-funnel stage should include “light” thought-leadership content that builds brand awareness, highlights a need, and drives desire.

Producing blogs, white papers, and videos on the benefits of upskilling your staff allows the company to create demand for its product, which could then be converted into leads and sales by other marketing campaigns.

In the mid-funnel, research-and-consideration stage, your job is to educate buyers about their challenges and help them solve their issues with whitepapers, buying guides, analyst reports, and ROI calculators.

Distribution

Creating great content is important. But you also need to understand the best way to get it to your audience.

Delivering content to your prospects and directing them to the right place will involve a robust mix of programs covering a variety of channels:

  • Email

  • Social

  • Direct mail

  • Live events

The distribution method will change based on the stage of the funnel. At the top, you’ll likely use display networks, remarketing, and social channels to cast your net.

At the bottom of the funnel, you’ll leverage paid search and email to drive direct response and convert prospects into qualified leads.

Pipeline Acceleration

Once you’ve succeeded at generating or capturing demand as opportunities, you can speed up the sales process using pipeline acceleration techniques.

These can be as simple as engaging in conversation with potential customers or creating highly targeted content that meets your leads’ pain points and is appropriate to their position in the sales funnel.

Part of your demand generation strategy will create waves right away, bringing your website engaged and interested traffic. A new white paper or a research report can do that.

But, like all awareness generation strategies, short-term movement is just the tip of the iceberg.

Eventually, you’ll experience long-term impact as businesses develop a need for your product or service down the road.

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Remarketing

To many marketers, remarketing is a powerful strategy for increasing conversion rates.

While you should be remarketing to increase conversions, remarketing is also a remarkably powerful brand awareness-building tool.

Be Original

There’s no point in regurgitating what’s already out there. Content marketing is a crucial element of demand generation. And doing it well requires two things: investment and originality.

It’s a surefire way to get lost in the crowd. Instead, pepper your content with original insights, research, and expertly takes on emerging trends.

Provide Free Tools

One of the most effective ways to create a successful demand generation campaign as a new brand is by offering a free tool or resource.

Kennected implemented this strategy in 2022 when they launched the LinkedIn Profile Optimizer.

This completely free tool has proven a remarkably strong demand generation tool and helped thousands of advertisers audit their LinkedIn accounts and take action to improve the strength of their campaigns.

What Are The Best Demand Generation Strategies?

Some of the top demand gen strategies include:

  • Blogging

  • Webinars

  • ABM tactics

  • Downloadable content

  • Direct mail

  • Podcasts

  • Email

  • SEO

Done properly, demand generation can create awareness around the issues relevant to your business, provide sales the qualified leads it needs to close deals, and position marketing as a revenue generator instead of a cost center.

There are hundreds of demand generation tools to help you make your campaign work better. Check out this blog to learn about additional tools.

Leveraging Demand Generation Software

If you want to scale your efforts efficiently and deliver massive marketing ROI, you need marketing automation.

There are countless demand generation software solutions to help amplify your efforts, so look for something that fits your needs.

The most popular platforms offer end-to-end solutions with powerful sets of features.

If you’re unsure, start with one of the best Hubspot. Kennected switched to Hubspot for their CRM needs and has been pleased with its performance.

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Marketing And Sales Teams

Fifty-nine percent of B2B marketers said improving marketing and sales alignment was a priority.

Proper alignment is critical to the success of your entire business.

Fortunately, sales enablement initiatives driven by a comprehensive demand generation strategy can promote unification across marketing and sales and, in turn, close more deals.

The sales team can benefit from understanding which type of content you resonate with a prospect.

And the marketing team can benefit from lead scoring data to understand which digital marketing channels perform the best.

Capturing Demand

If there is existing demand in the market, you can capture it and guide potential customers to your products and services.

This process involves a range of lower-funnel content that will establish your brand proposition, such as PPC advertisements, SEO optimizations, and 3rd party intent data.

Email Marketing And Nurturing

You’re not going to get a contact to go from converting into a lead to becoming a customer without educating them further, especially if your company has a complex sales process or a long sales cycle.

You will capture their interest by sending your contacts emails with valuable content and other resources.

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful component of your demand generation campaigns, but many advertisers misuse it or fail to harness its potential.

When it comes to email marketing, A/B testing is essential, and the adage that “Less is more” most definitely applies.

If you resort to carpet-bombing your email list regularly, you risk turning prospective customers off and harming your brand.

Rather than blasting your lists all the time, work smarter, not harder.

Everything about your email campaigns can (and should) be A/B tested to ensure your emails are performing as strongly as possible.

Through Call-To-Action (CTA) strategy and organization, strategic conversion points, clear labels, and visitor-centric navigation, you can not only offer value to visitors but also nurture prospects.

How Does Marketing Analytics Work?

These analyze the effectiveness of marketing efforts from individual tactics such as email campaign performance.

What Are Key Performance Indicators?

KPIs include early-, mid-, and late-stage metrics that cover everything from the program cost, new targets, and cost-per-target to the number of opportunities your campaign has generated and how much revenue you can attribute.

These metrics let you know if your demand generation program achieves its goals.

Here are a few examples of what demand generation metrics to measure:

  • Number of meetings generated

  • Track the number of visitors who book a sales meeting, a demo of your solution, or have a discovery call with your sales team

Customer Testimonials

Testimonials work well at just about any stage, but they can be especially useful toward the end of the sales funnel when buyers are looking to validate their decision.

While customers are free to write what they want in a review, brands approach clients for testimonials and have some control over the content.

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What Is Customer Lifetime Value?

CLV is the average net profit one customer will bring into the company during their time with you.

Raising the CLV is where your sales function and customer success team can make a difference.

B2C Companies vs. B2B Marketers

B2C companies typically have to get buy-in from only one person: the customer (and maybe their spouse or family).

B2B marketers, on the other hand, usually have to get the buy-in of entire teams, key decision-makers, and sometimes even an entire department.

This all adds to a much longer sales cycle for B2B companies. A B2B purchase decision may take six months or even longer than a year in some instances.

Decisions are made after careful deliberation by multiple parties and various approvals at different levels of the organization.

Demand Generation vs. Inbound Marketing

Many believe the misconception that demand generation and inbound marketing are the same. But they’re not.

Demand generation is a function; you want to generate demand for your product or service. Meanwhile, inbound marketing is how you can carry out that function.

If you believe in educating your customer base and guiding them through the funnel with valuable content and offers, inbound marketing can help you.

Chatbots And Conversational Marketing

Chatbots are another channel to engage with prospects and customers visiting your website.

From lead generation, qualification, and customer support, chatbots, both automated and live, provide website visitors with the ability to answer their questions in real-time with minimal effort.

What Are FAQs?

FAQs are talking points that buyers have previously asked about and frequently arise during sales conversations.

They are presented as a list for sales reps to reference when they need succinct, well-thought-out answers.

Ultimately, you want to provide sales reps with the best possible answers, so they don’t stumble or overthink when it matters most.

Demand Gen vs. Lead Gen

While demand generation aims to attract new visitors to your brand and build your reputation as an expert in the industry, lead generation focuses on converting the newly attracted prospects.

Demand gen and lead gen overlap in certain areas.

For example, if you offer product-focused webinars, both driving registrations could be considered.

And when nurturing your database, both are applicable for building the relationship as you move them through the conversion funnel.

Implement A Lead Scoring System

Demand generation isn’t just about increasing the number of leads for your brand, but also raising the quality of those leads.

Lead scoring is one of the best ways to ascertain whether your leads are of the quality your sales team needs to close more deals.

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What Does A Demand Generation Manager Do?

Your marketing or sales teams usually execute demand generation activities, depending on where each activity sits in your sales strategy.

The demand generation manager’s job is researching your market, creating and promoting your content, and fine-tuning customer experience with your brand.

However, other activities such as lead nurturing and customer retention will lie with your sales (or Customer Success) teams.

That’s why demand generation specialists need to use their skills and strategic knowledge to find ways to align with other teams across your organization to help you conquer new markets.

Hop-On The Kennected Train

Want a solid lead generation plan? Kennected offers a series of solutions focused on building relationships with key decision-makers to achieve this feat.

Kennected used this process to earn the Two Comma Club Award (for earning $1,000,000) in less than seven months, and a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America.

Moreover, we helped over 17,000 customers fill their sales pipelines with qualified leads and increase revenue.

Our LinkedIn lead generation services can help you take your LinkedIn marketing to the next level.

For more information on how to use this LinkedIn Sales Funnel and Kennected to fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads in less than 10 minutes per day, schedule a free strategy session here.

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