In today’s highly competitive market, the most pressing challenge for any brand is to generate demand for its products. Demand generation is a sophisticated marketing strategy that uses data analysis to convert potential consumers into buyers.
Demand generation broadly refers to a host of marketing strategies that makes your product stand out and makes customers keen about it. It is not just a short term marketing tactic to boost sales; demand generation focuses on long term relationship building and retention with prospects and existing customers.
Why is Demand Generation Important?
Demand generation in today’s cutthroat market is important as it helps create a path to expand your business. It includes mapping the initial behavior of consumers, creates awareness and interest in your products in the mind of the consumers, and finally improving conversion rates by leading the targeted consumers to your desired goal- sales.
It is not only aimed at acquiring customers but also nurturing relationships with key prospects and existing customers. Demand generation strategies cover multiple touchpoints, including different types of campaigns and the use of multimedia to embed the brand’s identity into the customer’s minds.
The Three Pillars of Demand Generation
1. Lead Generation
A lead refers to any person or organization that has displayed an interest in buying what you are selling. Lead generation is the process of converting these interested parties into customers. The process involves attracting an individual or organization through publicity material like blogs or social media and then developing their interest in your product by making them an offer.
2. Demand Capture
It refers to the process of capturing the individuals or organizations that already have a demand for the products you are selling. In today’s digital world, search engine optimization, and the use of specific keywords can be seen as an example of trying to capture demand.
If you are an online seller of wooden furniture, you would be sure to use the keywords like ‘wooden furniture’ or ‘wood furniture’ so that when someone searches for “ buy wooden furniture” your brand’s name pops up. This is called capturing demand.
3. Pipeline Acceleration
It is a strategy used to increase revenues with efficiency. Pipeline acceleration simply means accelerating the process of the sales funnel, such as converting leads into buyers efficiently. In a highly competitive market, it is crucial to turn your leads into buyers as soon as possible, the longer it takes, the greater is the risk of losing the lead.
The process of Demand Generation
The process demand generation broadly includes awareness building, generating interest in the product, and finally, conversion of leads into buyers. This process of conversion has been visualized as the ‘marketing funnel’. The funnel shape represents the fact that often not all leads can be turned into buyers. If somehow all leads are converted into buyers it would no longer remain a funnel, it would rather become a cylinder.
The levels of the marketing funnel from top to bottom are- Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Intent, Evaluation, and Purchase.
The demand generation process allows the marketing funnel to function. It may sound like a simple process but it follows a series of 5 different stages-
Determining goals is necessary. It is important to set achievable and realistic goals keeping in the mind the contemporary market conditions. The set goals must be specific as well, this helps in developing a timeline for campaigns.
Before you begin working on the first step of the marketing funnel, that is building awareness about your brand and product, it is important to determine who you are targeting. To keep the bottom end of the marketing funnel as wide as possible it is important to select the right audience for your campaigns. The selected audience becomes your leads which you then nurture to convert into buyers.
To generate audience interest and make them consider buying your product, putting out the correct content is essential. The right content must reach the audience in the right form and through the correct medium. We live in times of information overload. Therefore creating and curating good content is not an easy task.
Quality content about your brand and product is powerful. It can push a lead beyond the awareness step of the marketing funnel through the steps of interest, consideration, intent, and evaluation.
Once you know who your audience is and what you want to tell them, the next step is to strategize how you want the content to reach your audience. There are various communication channels available, you must be able to choose those which your audience prefers and distribute the content among these channels.
Your video advertisements may create interest in your brand, while your website may make an individual consider buying your product and express the intent. Finally, your social media collaboration with a blogger may encourage the individual towards a favorable evaluation of your product and purchase.
To know what works and what needs to be changed, it is important to keep track of the conversion process. Customer feedback is one example that helps measure the impact of various campaigns for demand generation. Tracking the number of hits and engagements on the website or online campaigns is another metric for measurement.
Accurate measurements help in improving the strategy and thus improve the shape of the marketing funnel. It aids in designing a long-term sustainable demand generation strategy as well.
Demand Generation Strategy
Designing a good strategy for demand generation is vital. There are 3 key elements that constitute a sound demand degeneration strategy:
1. Building Awareness of Products and Services
The first step of the marketing funnel and demand generation is the same – building brand awareness. Making your potential customers aware of your products, brand, services, and USP is what helps retention of your brand name. Without generating brand awareness you cannot get people interested to buy your products.
Keeping in mind the nature of your brand and your target consumers, you need to develop a strategy to create brand awareness. Your awareness building strategy must be guided by the knowledge of who your target group is, what they like, and how you can reach them.
2. Capturing Existing Demand and turning it into Revenue
Capturing existing demand in the market is a good way to improve your revenues efficiently. While demand creation is a time consuming process, demand capture includes capturing the existing demand for what you are selling.
To strategize demand capturing you must study your industry and your competition well. To capture maximum demand in the market you need to offer the customers something that your competitors are not.
3. Align Sales and Marketing Teams for Better Results
The process of converting leads into buyers takes a dedicated team that works in cohesion. Although sales and marketing teams are in charge of different tasks, these teams need to work in coordination to generate demand.
The marketing team pushes leads down the sales funnel from aware to interested and to the stages of consideration, intent, and evaluation. The sales team must work in cohesion with the marketers in the final stages of converting the lead into a buyer. They are needed to close the sale and take care of the after-sale services. Since these teams need to work together for successful conversion of leads, these teams must be aligned while designing a strategy for the same.
Challenges to Demand Generation
1. Identifying Competent Leads
For successful conversion of leads into buyers, you first must identify competent leads. Incorrectly identifying leads can be disastrous for your demand generation program as it is the very first step. Identifying individuals or organizations must involve the selection of those who have or may have the purchasing capacity to buy your product and willingness to purchase.
Inadequate recognition of good leads is a fundamental challenge that may lead to the failure of your demand generation strategy.
2. Content and Placement
Another common obstacle in the way of successful demand generation is improper content creation and placement. It is important to reach out to your leads with the right content at the right time in the right form.
Customizing content of different kinds of buyers, mapping their preferences, and accordingly creating content and placing it in the right places. A sound content strategy can have a big impact; if ignored it can also do great damage to the demand generation strategy.
3. Using Data
Demand Generation is essentially a data-driven process. It is important to know what to track and how to use the collected data. Quality data about leads, their preferences, and past behaviors can, for instance, help guide the content and placement strategy.
Collecting data on the efficiency of your own strategies allows you to learn from your own mistakes and design improved plans for the future. While it is important to know what works, it is equally important to know what doesn’t.
Demand Generation Metric and KPIs to Measure
In order to keep track of your demand generation effort, you can use different benchmarks or Key Performance Indicators. The quality of your leads is an important variable that should be monitored closely.
The quality of leads can be measured using the following metrics:
|Traffic on the website||Number of hits and number of visitors|
|Engagement with content||Number of likes, comments, shares, and other forms of engagement|
|Secondary action- passive||Sign up for mailing list, newsletter, blog notification, etc|
|Primary action- active||Inquiry for more information on website or making contact to seek information|
|Materialization||SQLs, MQLs, scheduling meetings|
Demand Generation Tactics
1. Web Insights and Inbound Marketing
Web Insights refers to keeping track of how visitors are interacting with your content. If you know how they are interacting you can design the content accordingly to grab their attention and spark interest.
Inbound Marketing refers to using creative marketing methods to draw attention of visitors and create leads. Using methods like Search Engine Optimization and social media marketing are commonly used for inbound marketing.
These digital marketing enhancing methods can help you generate demand as well as capture it.
2. Syndicated Content
It refers to republishing your content on other websites to improve your reach. While the number of visitors to your website may be limited you can reach a wider audience through syndicated content. This is done by allowing republishing of your content you create about your own website and brand. This increases traffic to your own website and can help in the creation of leads.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media is a quick, efficient, and creative way to reach out to a wider audience. You can build awareness through social media, spark interest, and advertise your brand and products at minimal costs. Social media marketing allows for great engagement and can be used effectively for demand generation.
4. Lead Scoring
In order to streamline and organize the process of demand generation, lead scoring is a great tactic. It refers to ranking your leads on the basis of their readiness for making the sale. Each lead goes through the marketing funnel. By storing them, you can develop strategies to target the leads at different steps of the funnel.
5. Measuring and Optimization
A/B tests are ideal to test your lead quality and conversion rates. Once your web page is up, you can test out different versions of them with your users and see which one performs better. You can also test specific elements of your webpage. This will help boost up your conversion rates and get an insight into the customer mindset.
6. Aligning Sales and Marketing
For successful demand generation, it is important for the sales and marketing teams to work in synchronization. They are collectively responsible for pushing leads through the marketing funnel and converting them into buyers. Organizing joint brainstorming or strategizing sessions, combined review meetings, etc are some ways to keep the teams working in coordination.
7. Display Retargeting
It is a method of online marketing that means following your website visitor and keep positioning your brand in their mind. It includes repeatedly displaying advertisements of your product to the visitor on the other website that they visit. This helps in brand retention and enhances brand awareness.
8. Sponsored Research
Sponsoring favorable research is a great way of attracting customers. Buying is not an impulsive decision anymore. Customers compare, evaluate, and then decide. Sponsoring research about your product helps in making the customer evaluate in favor of your brand and make the final move through the marketing funnel.
9. Providing a Free Resource
This taps into the utilitarian psyche of the consumer and portrays you over your competitors in the market. The free resource also must be well thought of and possess utility to attract the customer. It must also have some connection with the product you are selling to maintain a logical cognitive connection.
10. Press Play and Video Advertising
It is a great way to capture attention and gives you a short window of time to get the viewer interested. Video advertising is a powerful medium if used prudently. It must be precise, concise, and strong to make an impact. The content of the video advertisement must be well designed for the desired impact as the average viewer’s attention span is very limited.
Looking to create a demand generation strategy that works for your organization? Bython Media can help. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs.