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What is Demand Generation (Definition, Strategies & More)

Part of marketing is not only to increase your brand awareness. It’s also to make people want your products or services. 

After all, your product has to compete against many similar ones, and your task is to communicate its value to the customer so that they choose you over your rivals. 

That’s exactly what demand generation campaigns help you achieve, and today’s guide is dedicated to this strategy and tips for implementing it. 

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is a set of methodologies to raise consumer interest in a service or product. These efforts promote new items, broaden market reach, and generate word-of-mouth buzz.

A demand generation program covers digital marketing initiatives at all sales funnel stages. This way, you can provide valuable information to the right audience at the right time.

Depending on the nature of your brand, a demand generation strategy may require using a wide range of marketing tactics. You’ll learn seven of these later.

For now, let’s find out why you should integrate demand generation into your marketing strategy.

Why is Demand Generation Important?

We can break down the value demand generation brings to the table into three benefits.

Benefit #1: It attracts qualified leads 

Leads/prospects are those who you want to convert into customers.

There are many different lead types you must consider attracting to your business. In your sales funnel, we can divide them into two stages: the top-of-funnel (ToFu) and the bottom-of-funnel (BoFu).

The former are leads who have just recently discovered your business and want to learn more about what you offer. The latter are those ready to purchase from your brand.

To get more leads in the BoFu stages, you must generate more ToFU leads, which is what demand generation can do for you. Set up campaigns, including webinars and blog content, that address your potential customers’ problems using your products. 

Ideally, you want to convince people that match your customer profile to trust your brand enough to share their contact information. 

From here, you can launch email campaigns that serve as touchpoints to further engage with them. And the more qualified the leads, the more likely your sales team will close deals! 

Plus, high-quality prospects result in the second benefit: increased profit.

Benefit #2: It increases revenue 

You can use demand generation as a long- and short-term marketing strategy to drive sales.

Demand generation efforts can increase the revenue or profitability of your business in two ways:

  1. The higher the demand for your goods, the more your clients will spend cash on them. Show how your offer can make their life easier at the Awareness and Demand stages of the demand generation funnel. This will help boost their curiosity.
  2. The demand generation marketing approach increases organic customers. You have positioned your brand at the top of the marketing funnel, so you won’t need paid ads to convert your audience into customers.

Raising your brand recognition and cultivating relationships with potential clients leads to increased revenue. 

Benefit #3: Has lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) 

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) measures how much you pay to acquire each customer. You can calculate your CAC by dividing your overall marketing expenses by the number of clients obtained in your sales process.

Some companies increase their marketing budget to lower CAC. They feel spending more on promoting their brand to their audience would get them more clients.

This may sometimes work. However, going bigger with your marketing campaign isn’t always the answer. This is especially true once you’re running out of new customers to attract and budget to spend.

In this case, a demand gen strategy is a much better and more cost-effective way to decrease CAC. Launching a demand generation campaign using the right tactics lets you establish trust and familiarity among your target audience. 

Once you achieve that, prospects will be more likely to sign up for your campaign. And when they’re in your sales funnel, it takes fewer steps and costs to convince them to purchase your product or service.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of demand generation, it’s time to differentiate it from lead generation.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: The Main Differences

Lead generation builds audience interest in your products or services by nurturing and convincing them that your offer suits their needs. The ultimate goal is sales conversion.

Both B2C and B2B models can take advantage of lead gen. Read this article with examples and strategies for B2B.

Lead gen is different from demand generation, which is the practice of cultivating an audience through several platforms. These strategies also focus on different goals:

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation Comparison - Digital Marketers World

Now, let’s discuss these differences in more detail.

Difference #1: Awareness vs. leads 

Demand generation focuses on building awareness by attracting leads in the ToFu stage of your funnel.

It creates awareness among your prospects by addressing their pain points. As a result, you build trust and confidence in your brand by proving your product’s worth.

One of the best ways of raising awareness is through blogging. Content published on your blog educates leads and showcases your expertise. Even better, it improves your visibility on Google if you do the SEO part right.

On the other hand, your lead generation efforts lets you leverage the enthusiasm of the prospects for your brand by collecting their contact information.

You can place opt-in forms as calls to action (CTAs) on your landing pages or even blog posts. This way, if your prospects enjoy your content or are convinced by your sales copy, they’ll sign up to become subscribers and learn more about your offer.

Difference #2: Education vs. nurture 

Education is the aim of demand generation with an emphasis on thought-leadership content. Your efforts here let your audience know you exist while building a positive impression of your brand in their minds. 

If we take blogging as a means of raising awareness, your posts educate your audience and position you as an authority in your niche or industry.

Meanwhile, people familiar with your brand may wish to learn more about you. 

For instance, they can do this by filling up your opt-in form and joining your lead list as part of the lead generation tactics you use in your campaign. From here, you can nurture your leads and further build your prospective customer relationships. 

One way to do this is through email newsletters. This is where you send content to your prospects that will nudge them to become paying customers. This content can include articles from your blog and/or information about your product or service.

Difference #3: Sparks interest vs. converts 

Demand generation is a well-thought-out strategy for distributing high-quality, free content to grab people’s interest.

It’s important to reiterate that demand gen takes place in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. Here, you want to provide value to your audience about the topic without asking anything in exchange, not even their contact information.

And if you can provide them with the content that delivers, there’s a good chance they’ll come back to your website for more.

The case is different with lead generation. People in the BoFu stage, where most of your high-quality leads reside, are already fans of your brand. So, you must leverage their fandom by turning them into customers.

To do this, you need to collect information on potential buyers to generate more qualified leads. Consider offering gated content as an incentive to increase sign-ups. Such content can come in the form of an e-book, checklist, white paper, or case study.

After that, you may employ targeted marketing efforts to push them further down your sales funnel. 

7 Demand Generation Strategies for Great Results

Before we wrap up, let’s talk about seven demand-generation strategies.

We’ll explain each strategy, how it works, why it’s essential, and why it’s good at raising awareness from a targeted audience.

Plus, we’ll provide context and examples below. 

Let’s get started.

Strategy #1: Blogging

Blogging allows you to create content to educate and engage your audience about your desired topic. This content marketing tactic aims to provide value to your intended reader and establish your brand as a subject matter expert.

But for this to happen, people should be able to find your blog posts easily. Thankfully, that’s one of the other benefits blogging has as part of your demand generation strategy:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO) – Blog posts appear on top of Google search when optimized for their target keyword. This results in greater visibility of your brand.
  • Long-term asset – Once you publish a blog post, it will be available on the internet indefinitely. People can continue to visit your site for years to come. You can even update your posts to keep them fresh and relevant to your new audience. 
  • Boosts credibility – You increase your brand authority by publishing content on topics conveying that you are an industry expert.

There are lots of ways your audience can notice your brand via blogging. 

One is by identifying questions the target readers from your industry want to be addressed. Answer each question with a blog post that covers the topic in-depth. 

To help you gather these questions, use a free tool like Answer the Public. Type in your keyword, and the tool will generate a cloud with possible topics to cover on your blog.

By giving expert answers to these questions, you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche, which plays well in your demand generation strategy.

Strategy #2: Webinars

A webinar is a seminar delivered to an online audience. You can provide interactive presentations and communicate with them in real-time using polls, surveys, or questions.

Webinars are one of the most effective demand generation strategies. Some of their benefits include:

  • Educational tool – An evergreen webinar can serve two functions – educating your audience about how your product can address their problems and continuously attracting new prospects. 
  • Measurable – You can track performance metrics such as the number of attendees, their location, how long they stayed, what questions were asked, and others.
  • Wider reach – Your webinar can reach a global audience. You may hold a virtual event with over 3,000 guests with selected hosting platforms.
Credit: YouTube

In the example above, the content optimization tool Clearscope teaches attendees how to produce content that ranks on Google. Besides providing theoretical information, the host walks the viewers through the many ways this tool can help them rank higher in SERPs.

Strategy #3: Podcasts

These are a collection of pre-recorded talk-radio shows listeners can download to their devices. 

People listen to podcasts for entertainment and educational purposes. They want to learn more about a subject from industry experts who often happen to be key opinion leaders with a large following.

Here are three other reasons you should consider podcasting demand generation in your marketing efforts:

  • Simple to make – You only need a microphone, audio editing software, a computer, and an internet connection to produce a podcast. 
  • Distribute with ease – A podcast can be hosted by any software or hardware supporting audio files. As a result, listening to the episode is also easy—you can download it on your mobile device and play it in the background or while you commute.
  • Regulation-free. There are no Federal Communications Commission rules or any laws governing podcasts. 
Credit: YouTube

Search Engine Journal (SEJ) published a podcast episode on YouTube about upcoming SEO trends with an esteemed guest from SEMrush, a marketing software company.

The podcast aims to educate listeners on SEO, which SEJ is an authority in, with help from influencers. And to help supply more information about the topic to its audience, SEJ promoted additional resources from its site in the video description.

This enables the brand to increase awareness and cement it as an industry authority.

Strategy #4: Video marketing

In demand generation, video marketing aims to produce videos that excite the curiosity of your intended audience.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Great equalizer – A compelling video works for inbound marketing regardless of the size of the business that launched it. This levels the playing field between small to medium enterprises and larger corporations.
  • Boosts retention – Videos stand out more, and your audience will retain information better.
  • Encourages social shares – Videos are the second most popular type of content on social media for increasing engagement.
Credit: YouTube

The video marketing campaign example above is from Digital Olympus. As a link building agency, they are qualified to teach about the topic.

The video content targets marketers who are new to link building. As their audience becomes aware of the potential challenges of the process, they may be encouraged to outsource the task to an agency such as Digital Olympus.

This makes it a reasonable demand generation example since it helps the target market to be aware of a potential problem in link building.

Strategy #5: Email marketing

This tactic informs your lead list about new products, deals, and other services. It can also be part of your lead nurturing efforts to keep prospects interested in your brand in between transactions.

Below are the benefits of using email marketing for demand generation:

  • Permission-based – One of the key email practices is asking a prospect for their permission to share contact details. By doing so, people give you the green light to send emails without labeling them as spam.
  • Direct access – You can communicate with subscribers directly, and your message is more likely to be viewed. This feature also allows you to personalize your communication with clients, which could result in higher customer retention.
  • Cost-effective – Email marketing ROI has shown improvements year after year. A Litmus case study reveals that every $1 invested in email marketing earns you $36—a 3,600% ROI!

The example above is one of the many emails sent by Uber to its subscribers. 

It also announces a business milestone of being available in more than 600 airports across the globe.

The company deploys emails using a marketing automation platform. It enables brands to drip-feed emails automatically, reminding users of the app’s features, news, updates, and the latest details they need to know from them.

Strategy #6: Account-based marketing (ABM)

ABM is a marketing approach in which brands launch highly targeted programs designed to win over prospects, in particular B2B accounts. Also known as key account marketing, it combines the skills of the sales and marketing teams to target specific audience groups.

Here are the benefits of implementing ABM specifically for B2B demand generation:

  • Sales cycle acceleration – ABM places prospects on a customer journey to intrigue and establish trust faster than a typical marketing program. You can also implement a lead scoring system to determine which prospects your sales reps must reach out to.
  • Resource-saving – Time and resources are devoted to a small number of accounts that are most likely to result in sales.
  • Consistent experience – ABM can help by offering a consistent experience across all communication channels to each person in a targeted account.

To launch an effective ABM campaign for your B2B marketing initiatives, follow these three steps:

  1. Prospecting – Choose which prospects to pursue and who in those companies should be targeted. Take into account their clients as well as competitors.
  2. Marketing – Create content aimed at your buyer personas. Personalize messages, web copy, email campaigns, and even whitepapers. 
  3. Measurement – Evaluate metrics such as social media likes and comments and who is communicating with the sales staff or website. The sales team may reach out if a specific account has become more involved.

Strategy #7: Paid advertising

One of the quickest methods to generate demand is paid advertising.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an example of paid search ads. It can help you market your content by putting you at the top of Google when someone searches for your chosen keyword. 

You may also use social media ads to make your content appear on your target audience’s feeds on platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.

Here are some benefits of exploring paid advertising as part of your demand generation activities: 

  • Reaches the right target audience – Depending on the social media platform, you can target someone based on their employer, professional qualifications, designation, education level, and brands they follow.
  • Do it yourself (DIY) – Paid advertising can be learned and done in-house before investing in agencies. Control budget and a cap on the frequency of ad impressions
  • Gain insights – Gain a better understanding of your audience based on the results of your paid ads campaign. If you’re planning on launching another campaign, refer to the gathered information and make data-driven decisions to produce better results.

Here are some tips to help with your paid advertising campaigns:

  • Build a landing page – A landing page is a page that a user arrives at after clicking on an advertisement. 
  • Remarket – While you should remarket to increase conversion rates, it is also an extremely effective brand awareness-building tactic.
  • Repurpose – Make an ad out of your most engaging organic content. It can save you a lot of time and increase engagement on your page.

Using the best strategies above that apply to your business ensures the creation of a successful demand generation campaign.

Now Over to You

After learning the different demand generation strategies, which do you think is most effective? Which would you like to use for your business?

Keep in mind to consider different factors in choosing your tactic. This includes your audience, topics, existing content assets, platforms, and budget. 

Start with a simple campaign and eventually scale depending on results. This will help you experience the benefits of demand generation.

You can also continue studying demand generation in the process. Check out our in-depth guide specifically for B2B.

Christopher Jan Benitez is an accomplished content writer and a contributor at Digital Marketer’s World. He specializes in content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and web marketing.