It is not to be confused with lead generation. The two marketing tactics tend to be used interchangeably when it comes to digital marketing. Lead generation is the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services.
Demand generation is a marketing process of creating a desire or demand for a particular product or service. It starts with showing your target prospects that they have a problem that needs to be fixed and then presents your company or business as the solution to solve their problem. Demand generation can be a significantly more comprehensive process that takes place over a longer period of time compared to lead generation. 50% of leads in any system are not ready to buy and almost 80% of new leads never become sales. So how do you turn it around and reduce that percentage?
Similar to a funnel, demand generation begins by identifying and qualifying potential prospects that are more likely to be receptive to a brand’s marketing message. It then aligns marketing with sales and helps to create a long-term relationship between the two and potential customers. This long-term relationship needs to be nurtured.
Lead nurturing is providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Tactics on how to nurture leads are through targeted content, multi-channel nurturing, multiple touches, timely follow-ups, and personalization. Lead nurturing can lead to an average increase of sales by 20% according to Forrest Research. Research also reveals that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost.
Today, purchases usually involve multiple stakeholders who want to self-navigate and self-educate by gathering information from a variety of sources and channels. Video and other interactive formats are becoming critical components of content strategies as they are looking to access information across different devices and screen sizes. They don’t want to talk to a sales rep right off the bat. Due to the change of behavior of the modern buying cycle, marketers have had to shift and focus more on sending targeted outbound content.
Whether it is through inbound marketing efforts, creating content or email campaigns, the desired target audience leads will then be nurtured throughout the sales cycle based on their initial actions with the website or social media channel for example.
The goal of a successful demand generation strategy is to get the user to take the next step along the customer journey and ultimately becoming a client or customer. There are different messages created for different personas along the path throughout the sales funnel. There may be multiple paths for users to take, depending on where they are on your website or in the buying process. Each of those paths should contain different messages at different stages of the funnel.
Account Base Marketing and Personalization efforts are now being intertwined with sales efforts for a tighter alignment of themes and messaging. With the ability to have real-time data and buying signals at your fingertips, marketers have more insight than ever before.
So where do you start? There needs to be cooperation with sales and marketing to make your demand generation strategy successful. The best demand generation tactics locate and nurture key prospects over the long term – from both sides of the cycle – engaging them through multiple platforms and touchpoints delivering a highly qualified lead to your sales team to close.
There are various strategies a brand can start using right now. Here are ten:
1.Search Engine Marketing
90% of B2B Buyers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. This is a necessary place for your business or brand to be.
2.Give Your Customers Something of Value – FOR FREE
This could be a free content download like an ebook or guide. It creates a sense of trust between the brand and the audience with a high likelihood that they will return to your company’s website for more content.
3.Create a Webinar that Resonates
This is a challenging one - if you want it to be successful you need to partner with superstars in your industry. If you have the relationships that you can leverage, do it. This will help you stand out in the industry and help to establish other relationships
4.Beef Up Your Business Listing on Review Sites
Make sure that you are not selling your business short and get your Google Business Page up to date as well as claiming your Yelp Page. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews from your clients and customers.
5.Sponsor an Event
The first question you must ask “Is this an event that my target audience would be attending? Second, does it align with your brand’s culture and values? How much exposure are you going to get with the sponsorship?
91% of search experts are using remarketing due to the increased conversion rates from the additional impressions created. Use Google Dynamic Remarketing and Facebook Custom Audience tools.
Work with influencers that everyone would recognize from your industry. They can generate desire on a company’s behalf by reviewing one of your company’s products or by creating a branded video or social media post.
8.Employees Become Brand Ambassadors
Each company or brand has a social media army that they can tap into – their own employees. Encourage them to share content on their personal social media channels. Their network of “friends” trust them already. The impact can be more effective than a traditional paid marketing campaign.
9.Co-Branded Events with a Related Business or Partner
Share the stage with another brand or partner. Work with someone that will be able to compliment your products or services. This is a great way to cross-pollinate your customers.
Create assets that can become lead magnets that will drive traffic back to your website. They can be ebooks, swag, cheat sheets, email courses or on-demand videos.
There is also a trend of modern demand generation marketers returning to physical strategies like direct mail for high-touch engagement. Direct Mail companies are helping to create and deliver personalized direct mail pieces and then integrate the programs into their marketing automation platforms.
Sales funnels seem to get longer. Attention spans have shortened. Buyers are more independent. For a brand to be successful – they need to start nurturing their leads, because if they are not doing it – their competition will. If you don’t have a Demand generation strategy – now is the time to start.
Get sales and marketing together so that the teams can then develop a lead scoring process and identify which are the best leads for potential customers. Who are those personas? Start to build content that you can deliver to personas throughout the stages of the funnel. There are great marketing tools out there like Marketo and Salesforce Pardot that can help automate the process. If you are wondering why your leads are not delivering – it might be because you don’t have a demand generation strategy in place. What are you waiting for?