We hear a lot about different generations—their wants, needs, and preferences. You’ve probably read dozens of blogs over the years waxing poetic on the differences between Gen X, Gen Z, and millennials. But have you heard about the demand generation?
We’ve heard marketers talk about “lead generation” for years, and it’s exactly what it sounds like—generating leads for your business. Obviously, this is an important concept for anyone in B2B marketing or business to grasp. But there’s a new player in town taking this concept to the next level.
It’s time to meet the demand generation.
What Demand Generation Really Means
Demand generation takes things to the next level. Creating leads for your business is necessary, but creating a demand in the market for your product, service, or offering—that’s a whole other level.
If you create a demand, the leads will naturally follow, and this is the whole premise behind this focus in marketing and why it works.
At its core, demand generation focuses on taking people and turning them into prospects. People who are strangers to your brand need to be introduced, whether through paid ads or organic social, event marketing, public relations, or influencer marketing.
Lead generation, however, focuses on taking prospects and converting them to qualified leads. Some people have used these terms interchangeably in the past, but this distinction is of utmost importance if we are going to understand the way the marketing funnel really works.
Understanding the Marketing Funnel
To put it even more simply, demand gen focuses on awareness while lead gen focuses on turning people into qualified customers.
The marketing funnel works like this—at the top of the funnel, you have awareness. This is the entry point and a foundational aspect of what we do (because if no one knows who you are, they certainly aren’t going to do business with you).
Once customers have reached a level of awareness, we move on to the consideration or interest stage. In this stage, marketers cultivate a relationship and teach the customer more about their product or service.
Once you’re sure the customer is interested, you can progress toward consideration—the stage where they are closer than ever to closing the deal with your business. Then we move into intent and action—the final stages before a purchase is made.
Demand generation and lead generation work hand in hand throughout this process. But even though demand generation is at the top of the funnel, here’s why it is so essential for marketers.
Why You Won’t Go Anywhere Without Demand Gen
At the end of the day, lead generation is simply the result of your efforts toward demand gen. It’s a trickle-down effect. Focusing on what comes later—lead gen—is simply less effective than starting at the top of the funnel.
The more people that are aware of your brand, the higher the statistical likelihood you have of getting more leads. That’s why we advise all of our clients to focus on demand gen at the outset of our relationship. The higher number of possible customers, the better—and that’s just good business sense.
How to Build It
The best B2B brands in the business (some of whom are our clients) have an excellent grasp on demand gen and what it can do for their company. Here are some tips for building demand gen to ultimately reach success.
Your demand gen strategy has to begin with identifying your audience and focusing on outreach. At Zen, we do this through our Mixed Marketing Method. We include each facet of a strong marketing and PR strategy—Owned, Earned, Paid, and Shared, to make sure our clients achieve results both in the short term, but continuing into the long term. Combining each of these marketing tactics helps us grow our client’s reach exponentially, and gets some buzz going about who they are and what they do.
Once you’ve used our Mixed Marketing Method to build brand awareness, it’s time to develop a B2B content strategy for your growing audience. Develop a strategy that positions you as a reliable expert in your field. This helps build trust between you and those interacting with your company. Utilize retargeting through paid ads or email marketing campaigns, so they never forget about you.
One thing is true in life and business: timing is everything. Once you’ve put in the work to develop trust with your audience, hopefully, you’ve gotten some leads. Make sure you’re sending them the right messages through the right platforms at the right time. A targeted nurture campaign can help you accomplish this.
At the end of the day, if you have a larger pool of leads to choose from, you’re more likely to find success. That’s why we focus on demand gen. In a world full of a lot of noise, this new “generation” of marketing will go far in making a difference for companies, no matter their size.
Interested in upping your demand gen efforts? Contact our team of happy, hungry, helpful, and high-performing experts to take your company to new heights.