Demand Generation is a set of activities that communicates relevant messages to appropriate audience and get them excited and interested about a company’s products and services with an intention to convert the prospect into a qualified lead and then into a customer. The goal of demand generation is to develop the key prospect or customer relationships for the long-term.
To conduct demand generation effectively, marketers have to answer questions on Quora, promote blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, host webinars, host meetups, and run email marketing campaigns. Demand generation is similar to inbound marketing and it can get very difficult to separate from inbound marketing, the simple difference being – inbound marketing is a part of demand generation.
What is Demand Generation not?
Demand generation is not a short term quick-fix such as an email blast or a carousel ad for the weekend. Demand generation is unique in its commitment for the long-term.
It is the responsibility of demand generation to ensure that the highest conversion possible demand is entering into the company’s conversion funnel. When prospects are almost in the last stages of the funnel to become customers, sales teams (inside sales, channel sales, or upsell teams) will take over and convert the customer into a business relationship and sign the deal.
Demand Generation can therefore be split into three key components:
A). Lead Generation: Lead generation involves gaining the interest of potential customers. It is the first step in doing anything in demand generation. Once we have a set of leads, then we can pass them through a sales conversion funnel.
B). Demand Capture: If there is existing demand in the market, this process involves a lot of lower funnel operations such as PPC advertisements, SEO optimizations, and third party intent data such as a Nielsen study. You can capture this demand and route them to your products and services with lower funnel marketing activities.
C). Sales Pipeline Acceleration or Sales Cycle Acceleration: Once you captured or generated the demand, you can accelerate the sales conversion process through specific conversion acceleration engagements such as call conversations with the leads or creating highly targeted content addressing the lead’s pain points or field visits to accelerate the conversion.
Demand Generation goes through various stages from knowing what the marketing goals are to understanding the target audience and measuring the ROIs.
- Goals: Identifying the goals of the campaign. Pinning down on your revenue goals and working backwards basis conversion on traffic or various leads such as marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. It will directly lead to how many marketing programs you need to undertake to generate those number of leads and the cost of them.
- Audience: Building customer profiles and customer personas basis the psychographic profiles and the consumer needs of your target audience.
- Content: Once we have the goals and the audience, the next step is to produce content for various stages of the marketing funnel. The top of the funnel (TOFU) should build brand awareness, highlight a need/problem and drive a desire. The mid-funnel consideration stage is to educate the buyers of the challenges in a more detailed manner using tools such as white-papers, reports, webinars and ROI calculators. Finally, in the bottom-funnel stage, you will use third part reviews and discounts to convert them into the final sale.
- Distribution: Once the content is created, the distribution of the content has to be decided next. At the top of the funnel, social channels, display networks and remarketing are the best channels. At the bottom of the funnel, paid search and email can drive strong responses for conversion depending on business to business.
It is important to run through this as a cyclical process with strong measurement and learnings from previous demand generation programs. Do it correctly and one can see the benefits in increased effectiveness, engagements and sales.