Have you ever put together a fantastic lead generation campaign that looked perfect on paper… only to get zero or little response from potential leads?
While this situation can make anybody feel like they’ve failed, the truth is that it sometimes takes more to ensure your target market knows who you are — and, more importantly, why your organization matters.
And that’s where a demand generation campaign is necessary.
Here’s what you need to know about this type of content marketing including what makes it different and why it is important. Let’s dive in.
What is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is the process of running a campaign with the sole intention of creating interest in your company — without converting.
If that sounds counterintuitive, you might be right. But demand generation is all about helping ensure potential customers know exactly who you are in the future, not whether they need you right now.
For those that really like to get technical with your marketing terms, demand generation is just that… generating demand for your business.
What is the Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation?
So, if that’s the case, why would a company want to choose demand generation over lead generation in the first place? And what are the key differences?
The main difference between demand generation and lead generation is simply the end result.
Lead generation is all about converting. A lower conversion rate equate to an unsuccessful campaign, as the primary goal was to attempt to bring in more potential leads and/or paying customers.
In contrast, demand generation is all about buzz. Metrics are tracked in traffic, leads, shares, and whether or not people like the content well enough to share it with others.
Think about this for a moment. Big brands like Coca-Cola and Nike know that you won’t go out and buy a beverage or new pair of shoes every single time they run an ad.
Instead, they understand that just reminding you of who they are and why they matter is enough for you to remember what they sell the next time you’re thirsty or start a new jogging routine.
This is why demand generation campaigns are incredibly powerful and why your company should be using them on a regular basis.
What are the Benefits of Demand Generation?
That said, let’s go a little deeper into the specific benefits of demand generation.
After all, if you’re going to run a campaign that specifically avoids conversions, you need to know what you’re getting in the long run.
Increased Brand Awareness
With a demand generation campaign, you can greatly increase overall brand recognition for your organization.
As we explained in our previous example using Coca-Cola and Nike, brand awareness is an incredibly powerful thing.
Generating demand for your products and services starts with introducing yourself to your market.
Failure to do this can mean missing out on a ton of opportunities in future campaigns to capture conversions.
Generate More Leads
Another benefit of this type of marketing? It helps you generate more leads, but maybe not right away.
The key thing to remember is that once people know who you are and what you do, they’re far more likely to take action when they see a lead generation campaign in the future.
Demand generation creates trust with your target market, which can lead to better lead generation in the future.
When considering a lead generation campaign, it is important to realize that it helps expand your overall audience.
For example, maybe your business is just starting out in your niche and not a whole lot of your potential customers even know who you are.
Or maybe you’ve been focusing on the wrong audience altogether.
Either way, running a solid demand generation campaign can ensure that the right people know who you are based on factors that make your products and services the right match for their needs.
If you’ve wondered why your target market hasn’t responded to your previous lead generation campaigns in the way you had hoped, it might just be that you’re targeting the wrong audience altogether.
Demand itself is a perfect word for describing how this type of campaign generates buzz for your business.
When people find out who you are and become excited about the content you’re putting out, they’re much more likely to tell others about it.
Likewise, demand generation campaigns are focused on offering tons of value with little to no expectation of a purchase.
Most consumers are much more likely to share something that is free and solves a problem in their lives, entertains them, or educates them in some manner.
Sharing is caring, right? Well, that’s especially true when it comes to a successful demand generation campaign.
Drives More Traffic
Finally, demand generation actually drives more traffic in a good way.
When your audience knows they can learn more about you or a specific topic without feeling pressured to make a purchase, they are likely to listen to the buzz and visit your website.
And, as you already know as a smart marketer, traffic is important for a lot of things — i.e. search engine optimization (SEO), page authority, monetization options, and a lot more.
Simply put, focusing on demand generation offers far more potential than even the most comprehensive lead generation campaign.
How to Create the Best Demand Generation Campaigns
Now that you know the reasons why your brand needs to focus on demand generation campaigns, let’s talk a little bit about how you go about the process.
Demand generation campaigns are not about:
- Finding ways to get the most shocking or newsworthy press.
- Alienating certain groups to try to attract the attention of others.
- Showing off that you’re better than the competition.
Instead, it should all be about how you can give your target audience the value they need, while earning their trust for the long haul.
Here are a few excellent methods to consider when planning your next demand generation campaign.
1. Develop Customer Journey Maps and Buyer Personas
It probably goes without saying that you need to know the audience you’re generating buzz with before you launch a campaign.
There are multiple ways to do this, but customer journey maps and buyer personas are typically some of the best.
In fact, taking the time to engage in these methods can help with all of your marketing efforts, not just generating demand.
Why? When you know exactly who you want to attract to your brand, you can tailor your message and approach to their needs, wants, and desires.
2. Boost Authority with High-Quality Content
One of the biggest reasons to run a demand generation campaign is to help position your company as a trustworthy provider within your specific industry or niche.
When you’re putting out informative, engaging, and descriptive content that captivates their attention, they’re more likely to consider you an authority.
3. Improve Content Engagement with Syndication
Creating a demand generation campaign also typically includes some sort of content syndication plan.
This can be something as guest blogging on someone else’s website for backlinks or even submitting informative articles to industry publications to boost your credibility.
4. Streamline Your Workflow with Automation Technologies
The best part about demand generation campaigns is that they’re actually fairly simple.
Most involve creating content and getting it out to the masses to help build buzz around your brand.
By using automation for posting content to social media, scheduling editorial releases of blog posts, and whatever else works best for your campaign, you can help streamline your entire workflow.
5. Improve Your Return on Ad Spend with Niche Targeting
Generally, your return on ad spend (ROAS) is something you’re looking to boost with conversions.
So, does this work when it comes to demand generation?
When you use niche targeting for a future lead generation funnel, you can reach those who have already experienced your demand generation campaign.
This makes it easier for them to recognize your brand, immediately trust you, and make the decision to convert — thus improving your ROAS later on.
6. Use Account-Based Marketing Tactics
This process is especially useful when you have a very niche industry or are even in a B2B market.
Focusing your marketing tactics on the needs of a few specific accounts within your target market is a good way to generate buzz with a very specific subset of your business.
7. Build Authority with Event Marketing
These days, making a personal appearance is a big deal.
A great way to generate demand for your brand is by building authority at events like trade shows, community activities, and more.
8. Generate Content for Different Stages of the Sales Funnel
The best part about demand generation is that it is very flexible.
To help ensure your campaign is amazing, work to generate different content for different stages of the sales funnel.
Not only does this help your target market make decisions more quickly, but helping answer questions before they’ve been asked can truly build trust.
9. Encourage Collaboration Between Sales and Marketing
When it all comes down to it, demand generation is a beautiful mix between sales and marketing.
Always encourage collaboration and discussion between these two teams.
10. Implement Omnichannel Strategies
In order for your demand generation campaign to be successful, you need to have some sort of omnichannel strategy.
After all, brand awareness means ensuring you make multiple contacts with your customers so that they know it is you the moment they see one of your ads in the future — no matter what platform it is on.
11. Focus on User Experience
Demand generation is about creating a memorable experience for the customer or lead.
To do this, you need to work to ensure the campaign you’re running offers a positive connotation. If not, they could become soured to your brand in the future.
12. Make Your Content Interactive
Who doesn’t like something that’s different and fun?
Interactive content like quizzes, multimedia, and more makes it far more likely that your customers share it with others.
13. Use Email Marketing for “Last Chance” Strategies
Demand generation isn’t about communicating with future customers, either.
You can create that must-have buzz with your existing clientele to ensure they don’t want to miss out on what you have to offer — aka FOMO or fear of missing out.
14. Define Goals, Choose Metrics, and Measure Results
Finally, make sure to clearly define your goals, choose metrics, and measure results.
While you won’t necessarily focus on conversions, it is important to at least have a plan of what you want to accomplish with your demand generation campaign.
Creating amazing demand generation campaigns can really increase overall brand recognition within your market and make it easier for customers to convert for future lead generation pushes.
And since we have mentioned interactive content, why don’t you check out this other blog post on how it can help you reach your marketing goals and boost your results?