Demand generation marketing is the backbone of any business, no matter what industry you’re in. Without a good, solid demand generation strategy in place, your company, your business, and your brand will not thrive. In fact, poor demand gen strategies can hurt your business and cause it to crumble into nothingness.
Demand generation is the pipeline between a company’s marketing and sales teams. It makes people aware of a company’s brand, increases traffic to a company’s website, and secures new leads. In addition, demand generation keeps companies in front of prospective customers’ minds by giving them valuable tools and information and keeping them up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry.
When it comes to the best practices of demand generation marketing, you first need a solid foundation understanding the basics of attracting more customers. Additionally, you must have both stellar demand gen strategies and campaigns to raise awareness of your company.
What Is B2B Demand Generation?
The function of Business-to-Business (B2B) demand generation is to have an integrated marketing approach to raise awareness and demand of a product or service in the B2B sector.
Demand generation gives the sales team a workable, scalable, and predictable conversion funnel through marketing increasing conversion rates.
You start with marketing campaigns for existing demand to get your prospective customer to initiate contact with your company. Perhaps you want them to sign up for your email list or fill out a questionnaire. Either way, demand gen leads potential clients towards your conversion goals. It also guides through the entire buyer’s journey and keeps them engaged, so they are more likely to buy from you in the end.
Table of contents
- What Is B2B Demand Generation?
- Importance of Demand Generation Marketing
- The Differences Between Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
- How Demand Gen and Lead Gen Work Together
- Demand Generation Fundamentals
- Demand Generation Strategy
- Demand Generation Campaigns
- In Conclusion
Where Does Demand Gen Sit in the Sales Funnel?
Demand generation marketing is at the very top of the customer journey because demand gen is where it all starts. However, it hovers just above the funnel, helping attract your target market into becoming aware of your brand and business.
Importance of Demand Generation Marketing
Without demand generation marketing, you won’t get awareness or generate interest in your company or your product, meaning you’re invisible to the general public. Without good sales and marketing, your business will not succeed.
Demand generation marketing will help your business prioritize the following things:
- Increasing brand awareness: It gets more people interested in your brand and product
- Generating more leads: It allows more people to convert into prospective customers
- Increasing revenue and profits: It helps turn those potential customers into paying ones through increased conversion rates.
The Differences Between Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
The differences are subtle. In fact, many out there use them interchangeably, but they aren’t. Demand generation and lead generation both have individual roles to play. To effectively use a buyer’s journey, you must notice these nuances and capitalize on them.
Demand generation is about capturing demand by bringing in new visitors and introducing them to your solutions for their pain points. It is the marketing aspect of your sales and marketing teams and increases lead quality.
Examples of demand generation include:
- Blog posts
- Downloadable content
- Search Engine Optimization
- Influencer marketing
Lead generation is taking your audience and converting them into sales qualified leads through a process called lead scoring. Qualified leads are people who might be interested in purchasing your product or service.
Lead scoring is the method to determine how much of a qualified lead prospective customers are and their marketing alignment. Lead generation takes from the pool created by demand generation and sees if they are willing to become a paying customer.
Examples of lead magnets include:
- Retargeting campaigns
- Direct mail marketing
- Live events
How Demand Gen and Lead Gen Work Together
Demand gen marketing builds company, product, or brand awareness with your target audience.
Demand generation brings about awareness, and that’s what lead generation campaign capitalizes on. People have to be aware of your solutions before they can become interested in buying.
Not everyone who comes to your website will become a qualified lead immediately. But you can nurture prospects by having new visitors consume your blog posts, podcasts, and videos. When you do that you are the first thing on their mind when they’re looking for a solution that you can solve.
There is definitely a bit of an overlap between demand gen and lead gen, which is why they’ve become synonymous with each other. Things such as product-based webinars can use both when you’re marketing for people to register.
Demand Generation Fundamentals
Since demand generation is at the top of the marketing funnel, it’s no wonder that you need to get it right and that it touches every part of that funnel, from gaining awareness to retaining that awareness and turning your target audience into a prospective customer.
The four fundamentals of demand generations are brand recognition, inbound marketing, sales enablement, and customer retention.
Brand recognition is simply people knowing yours exist. They’re aware of your brand and your business. The first step in making people aware of your brand is not only getting them to know your brand but to recognize it instantly.
A few ways you can increase brand awareness:
- Decide on your brand identity: This is all about developing a brand that resonates with the audience you’d like to attract. Your values, purpose, mission statements, work culture, and the visual aesthetics of your site are all part of your brand identity.
- Identify buyer personas/target audience: Research who your target viewer is, what their pain point is, what solutions they’re looking for, and everything you can about them. Boil this information down into one single person, and that’s your first buyer persona. As you gain new knowledge, keep adding to this persona to sync with your customers.
- Show your expertise: This is also known as thought leadership and is the expression of ideas that say you have experience in this industry. This gives you a sense of authority and allows your target market to recall your brand through demand generation efforts.
- Have a social media presence: Social media is such a big part of our lives today that you have to put your company out there on social sites if you want your brand known. Users spend almost 2.5 hours on social media every day, so you need to get out there and make a strong impact.
- Create a demand generation strategy: This is where you put all the research you’ve done and all the groundwork you put in and turn it into a theory of the way your business will run. You put that into action and then refine it until you see the numbers you want to get your business to where it is.
Inbound marketing is another term that gets used and interchanged with demand generation when it isn’t the same. Inbound marketing is how you carry out demand generation aims.
- Lead generation: When it comes to selling your product or service, no one will go from 0 to 100 immediately. That means you have to get that demand going and get people for your team to follow up with.
- Blogging and SEO: The easiest way to get your visitors to step into your conversion funnel is to educate them. The best way to educate them is through unique, original content on your website.
- Paid advertising: Much like blogging, paid advertising attracts visitors through keywords. Unlike blogging, these targeted campaigns can reach out beyond the Google rankings and your website.
- Lead nurturing: Help your new visitors through the sales pipeline by continuing to reach out to them through social media channels and emails by presenting the next step in the journey.
You need to give your sales team the best chance to get a customer to buy your product or service. Sales enablement is giving your team the information and tools needed to do their job more effectively. Sales support includes:
- Testimonials: These are social proof that other people like what you have to offer. It’s an endorsement from others in the B2B sector that you’re worth it.
- Case studies: Case studies are a great way to showcase your research and let your customers know that you know what you’re doing and they have nothing to worry about.
- Frequently asked questions: This often helps your sales rep give well-thought-out answers to questions that often get brought up in sales conversations. They help your sales team be more efficient.
- Fact sheets: This is a list of specs about your product or service that might arise during a sales call. It’s a handy sheet for your team to glance at, including comparisons between you and your competition.
Once you have a customer, you want to keep that customer coming back. It’s easier to retain a client than it is to create a new one. You do this by providing them with top of the line service.
- Sneak peeks: You always want to give your existing customer a glance at what’s coming next and get them excited about having something to improve their experience.
- Have a knowledge base: This is your blog. Giving your customers a dedicated place for learning helps them get more value from your brand, making them more likely to stick around.
- Appreciate your customers: Small tokens of appreciation can help you retain your customers. Give them exclusive offers or even mail them something to show that you value them. A hand-written, personalized thank-you note can make all the difference.
- Encourage feedback: Allow your customers to tell you what they want and improve the system for the next batch of new visitors that arrive while also upping the standards for existing ones.
Demand Generation Strategy
Your demand gen strategy is your long-term plan. It’s the plan of action designed to achieve the overall aim of your company. Demand generation strategy includes planning out what you want to accomplish and then breaking it down into specific steps to achieve it. Consider what specific tasks you and your team need to do to get the results you want.
B2C vs. B2B Demand Generation Strategies
When it comes to Business to Consumer or B2C, the basic marketing strategy is pretty straightforward. All those businesses need is the customer to actively support the company and brand by buying their products or services. This creates a very short sales cycle, and with online shopping becoming more popular, it can take as little as five minutes.
With B2B demand gen strategy, it gets more challenging to create a good strategy and get others to support your business, creating longer sales cycles. You’ll need to work with key decision-makers, teams in different departments, and entire departments to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The average B2B sales cycle is anywhere from four to seven months with all the careful deliberation needed from the various parties. First, you’ll need to get approval from multiple levels of the organization, and then once all the boxes get checked, you can go into the next phase of your demand generation funnel.
Successful Demand Generation Strategy
A successful demand gen strategy contains a plan that is both easy-to-follow and multifaceted. It is the five-year business plan for your marketing and high-quality leads nurturing. The best demand generation strategies consist of many moving part so take the time with your marketing and your sales team to get it right the first time.
As such, you need to start with the broadest of terms and slowly condense it into either a monthly or weekly action plan to follow. As you break down your strategy into working parts, you’ll notice that you end up with a content calendar of sorts.
Demand Generation Campaigns
A successful demand generation campaign is an organized course of action to get closer to the company’s goal of X number of sales or X amount and generate how much revenue in X amount of time. These are the actions to the demand generation strategy’s plan.
Successful demand generation campaigns include a few of the most well-known demand generation tactics to increase B2B digital marketing efforts and help generate leads, exactly what every business wants. You can even use user-generated content like comments to boost engagement.
Social media campaigns
4.2 billion people use social media, making social media marketing a somewhat effective demand generation campaign. In addition, as the online world becomes more available to users, more people will join, creating an even larger pool of people that could become prospective customers.
A successful social media strategy showcases your content and invites engagement, whether that’s retweeting on Twitter or re-sharing on Instagram. You can even get people to go to your website or blog on social media. Take the time to see if any emerging trends in keywords work with your target market’s pain points or solutions, and hop on with helpful advice and relevant content.
Keeping up with the media and presenting yourself in a good light is always a solid demand gen campaign. You can get on television if your company is well suited for the solutions people are looking for.
If that’s not your thing, then go indie and give interviews on blog posts, podcasts, or webinars to promote your business. Or, even better, build a link-building kit you can send to industry insiders to use as a reference point inside their content while linking back to your site, creating another way for new visitors to find your brand.
The tried and true way of getting more people to your website organically and generating demand. By writing well-informed and personalized content for your target viewers. Content is king, but quality is queen. Keep your posts on point, helpful, and addresses your target audience’s concerns.
If you want people to see you online, then blogging is the way to go. You just have to remember to balance quality with quantity and give out consistent reading material for people to keep coming back to your blog.
If you want to get your name out there to other businesses and networks, live events are the way to go. However, if you can’t go to live events for whatever reason, then virtual events with specific meet and greet time slots are an excellent substitute.
Whether it’s a live conference where people can play air hockey or win prizes via a giant gumball machine or a virtual event with lots of videos and interactive online games, something is going on in your industry. It will help you meet other like-minded individuals. If there isn’t, then plan something yourself.
A free tool is a Freebie that has been used for ages to get people to give up their personal information. Nowadays, it’s to get people to sign up for mailing lists. The great thing is that it still works today. Who doesn’t like a free tool?
Headline analyzers, calculators, performance checkers all give you one thing that whitepapers, email series, and downloadables don’t do. They get your audience to engage with your brand keeping your business name in the back of their minds.
CoSchedule’s Free Headline Analyzer is a great interactive free tool that feeds directly into their newsletter and system.
Similar to virtual events, webinars are a way to build thought leadership in your industry and keep people engaged in your brand. The great thing about a webinar is that you can record it and use it again should you wish as sort of a marketing automation.
Bring out the big guns by interviewing complementary solution providers and then showcasing all of your solutions together to make a more significant impact.
Podcasts are a fun way to reach out to an audience that’s already in motion. There’s no need to have them sit and watch a computer screen for 30 minutes, but it still allows you to take that time and show off your brand and your solutions. They can take a walk, commute, or even do chores while listening to what you have to say.
Podcasts have only been around since 2004. So, they’re a fairly new phenomenon, unlike blogs, videos, and direct mail. This means that podcasts haven’t reached saturation points yet. People want more, and more is precisely what you should give them.
If you tend or plan to use video, then you can do double duty with podcasts and increase your marketing automation. Simply shoot the video like you typically would and then take the audio and upload that onto popular podcast sites.
The average length of a single video watched is 2.7 minutes. This is significantly longer than the eight-second attention span we have in 2021. However, you can use this information to your advantage and use that first 2.5 minutes to make a huge impact that will keep them watching the rest of it.
Also, people tend to recall what they watch better than what they read. They help your target market remember your brand. It’s a great way to engage both visual and auditory senses at the same time.
Contests or sweepstakes are not only amazing marketing activities to get your audience to opt-in for your newsletter; you can also use this to gather valuable data about them and their pain points as well.
Just keep your questionnaire to under seven minutes because after seven minutes, most people just give up and exit. So quick, snappy questions that don’t take long to answer with some variety like multiple-choice, and you’re good to go.
For subscription-based services, you can give out your service free for a set amount of time, and for product-based companies, you can easily send sample products for people to try.
Direct Mail/Email Marketing
Direct mail can be hit or miss, but it is pure gold when you get it right. It’s a great way to pull people in and make them want to see more of your brand. If it’s a miss, it goes straight into the recycling bin after the personal info gets ripped off and shredded.
A plain envelope is best since most people can spot a sales letter a mile away from the bright, shiny packaging. If you can either hand-write or make it look hand-written, then more kudos to you as this will pique the interest of the person receiving the mail.
Or consider doing something inside the box like a package. For example, when haven’t you opened a package delivered to your door with your name on it? OR even better go for email marketing to send virtual mail to someone’s inbox.
Search engine optimization for B2B brands is the most crucial thing you can do for your business. For every single piece of content you produce, you should be researching how your target viewers think, how they’d ask questions on Google, and what type of format they want.
SEO also allows you to reach more people by ranking on the first page of Google, which is very important since over 90% of people never leave the first page when looking for results.
When your SEO marketing is successful, you’ll be in sync with your audience, gaining awareness for your business and your brand.
The best practices for attracting more customers through demand generation marketing are content and making sure that what you put out there is helpful for your target market.
If you can nail who you’re selling to and keep them engaged through what you put out, then you are well on your way to having an outstanding sales funnel that will keep the money rolling in.
Do you still have some questions about demand gen marketing? Don’t worry, because we have the answers for you.
Demand generation strategies are the long-term plan in place to gain new visitors to your website and generate demand for your service or product. It’s all about setting goals for your brand to expand your business.
Demand generation is getting new eyes on your site, product, or service. Lead generation is turning those new visitors into qualified leads through lead scoring and helps them through your sales process.
When it comes to the B2B sector, demand generation is all about giving your sales and marketing teams an integrated, scalable, predictable way of creating demand so sales reps can bring in the most profit possible. This starts with bringing awareness and demand for your product in the B2B sector.
The main things that get included in demand generation are brand recognition, inbound marketing, sales teams enablement, and customer retention. It also consists of every bit of online content that a new visitor might stumble across and become aware of your brand.