As a basic principle in economics, demand refers to someone’s interest in and readiness to pay a given amount for goods and services. In marketing, demand generation describes the activities marketers use to build interest and purchase readiness within a target market.
Demand generation strategies focus on the awareness and consideration phases of the customer journey. Brands develop their strategies in many ways. Some use research to identify a select group of accounts (Account Based Marketing ABM) or consumers who are most likely to purchase and create personalized marketing materials based on individual needs. Others use omnichannel digital activities to improve visibility, reach, and intrigue within a larger audience.
This marketing strategy leans heavily on value-driven content marketing. Product demonstrations,analysts’ reports, funny video skits, infographics, and informational blog posts all play a role in building interest. Other popular demand-focused activities include promotions, free trials/tools/reports, white papers, case studies, event marketing, direct mail, and online/offline advertising. Regardless of the type of content, demand generation strategies all involve identifying a problem, showcasing a solution, and highlighting brand differentiating factors.
A strategy for increasing demand either focuses on a brand or a specific product. New businesses often spend time on generating interest in the value of a brand and then run campaigns to promote interest in product lines and individual products. Even legacy brands with strong marketplace visibility need to maintain demand-generation strategies for each innovation, promotion, or rebranding activity. Without demand producing marketing activities, existing customers quickly lose interest.
Building demand is an involved process that often requires persistent dedication. Brands often combine demand-generating activities with agile marketing principles of testing and optimization to maintain momentum in a competitive, globalized marketplace. Before a business can tap into the power of social, community, and affiliate marketing, it should invest in a foundational demand generation strategy. Successful strategies produce high-quality leads and enhance conversions.
Marketers often find success when they focus their demand generation activities to the top of the sales funnel or buyer journey (Learn) Demand generation is often confused with lead generation where the goal is to first educate a prospect and less about capturing a lead. Once a prospect has identified a pain or problem they usually more to the Solve stage of the buyer journey where lead generation activities or strategies should take over.
If your company sells a considered purchase with an extended cycle, most likely you will need to educate or nurture a prospect for an extended period of time (Lead Nurturing). Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) are very popular for educating or nurturing leads over long periods of time. Maps allow marketers to send communications automatically over any time period while tracking prospect behavior and responses to those marketing touches. The system assigns a value or points for each behavior (lead scoring). Once a prospect reaches a certain level of interest or starts to show buying behavior, that prospect is pushed over to sales to determine if they are at the sales-ready stage or solve stage in the buyer journey.
IMA has a list of Marketing Automation Platforms on Martec Showcase that can help with your demand generation efforts. You can also reach out to Shawn Elledge on our board of thought leaders for advice.