Decoding Demand Generation: Understanding the Definition and Importance

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In the last five years or so, demand generation has become quite a hot topic. With the meteoric growth of omnichannel marketing, companies are now looking to find the perfect way to nurture their leads until they’re ready to buy.

Lead generation is great for building initial awareness, but most of today’s customers aren’t ready to buy right away. Even if they were, it wouldn’t make sense to focus on ad hoc sales. That’s not sustainable.

Demand gen is the answer to this problem. It’s an approach designed to help you find the right prospects, generate interest in your products and services, and keep them engaged until they’re ready to make a purchase.

What is Demand Generation?

At its core, demand gen is a strategy designed to drive customer interest in a company’s product or services. It involves creating content and campaigns that resonate with potential customers and nurture them through the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to purchase.

Demand generation goes beyond traditional lead generation and single-channel marketing. It focuses on providing value throughout the entire purchasing process (not just when the company wants to land another sale).

Who uses demand gen tactics?

Any company that wants to increase customer interest and engagement can benefit from demand gen. It’s an excellent way to build relationships, engage customers on different channels, and stay top of mind with potential customers.

However, B2B and B2C marketers use demand generation a bit differently.

In B2C, demand gen often involves leveraging influencers and creating content that resonates with a target audience. Since buying cycles are shorter for B2C sellers, it’s also used to generate an emotional response from the customer and drive conversions.

In the B2B realm, things are much more complex. There is typically more research involved in making decisions, so there’s also a longer sales cycle. To successfully use demand gen here, companies need to create content that educates buyers on the product or service. They also need to create content for multiple decision-makers.

Why is demand generation important?

Of course, companies using demand generation see higher sales revenue and more loyal customers. But its benefits go far deeper than “it gets more people to buy more of your stuff.”

There are several reasons demand gen is a key part of any successful marketing strategy:

  • It helps build trust and credibility with potential consumers.
  • An omnichannel approach makes it easier for companies to target the right buyers, increasing conversions.
  • It keeps customers engaged even after they make a purchase.
  • Ongoing engagement facilitates repeat purchases and turns customers into brand advocates.
  • It helps companies monitor and adjust their campaigns in real time, ensuring they always provide the best possible customer experience.
  • Agility helps companies weather the storm in economic downturns and emerge on top during uptrends.

Businesses are generally seen as more sustainable when they retain their customer base and grow on top of that. Demand generation works just as well for retention as it does for acquisition, so it’s an important factor in increasing longevity.

Getting Started With Demand Gen

In reality, you’re probably already running some sort of demand gen campaign. You just don’t realize it.

Demand generation includes everything from email campaigns and content marketing to customer success and retention.

Here’s how to put the pieces of the puzzle together:

  1. Define your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? What kind of content and messaging appeals to them?
  2. Map out the customer journey. How does a potential customer go from learning about your product/service to becoming a loyal customer? Create a separate customer journey for each market segment you serve to effectively target your total addressable market.
  3. Outline your demand gen goals. How you define and measure success will depend on whether you’re trying to increase leads, engagement, awareness, or (in most cases) all of the above.
  4. Create content and campaigns for each stage of the purchase funnel. Be sure to include a mix of educational, promotional, and entertaining content.
  5. Optimize omnichannel communication based on customer preferences. A huge part of demand generation is connecting with buyers on the platforms they’re most comfortable with.
  6. Measure and optimize constantly. Even if you think your campaigns are working, keep an eye on how they’re performing and make changes as needed.

Final Thoughts

Remember: Demand gen isn’t a one-time deal. If you want to stay competitive, it’s important to continuously monitor performance and update your campaigns accordingly.

This may seem challenging, but with a clear target audience, an understanding of the customer journey, and a few simple steps, you can create successful campaigns that generate demand for your company.

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Author: Anne Gibson

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