What is Demand Generation anyway?

Posted Oct 2nd, 2012 by . 1,370 people read this post.

‘Demand Generation’ has been a bit of a buzzword over the past year, but what does it really mean and is it a technique B2B businesses should consider? I’ll try to distill the jargon.

Finding a really simple definition for Demand Generation proved tricky. When defining terms there is a tendency to be too long, wordy, or jargony. The word ‘holistic’ comes up a lot, but here’s our stab at a concise way of defining Demand Generation:

The process of building interest and driving potential customers through your sales cycle.”

But that’s just marketing right? Wrong.

Well, not ‘just marketing’. We see Demand Generation as the name given to processes that join marketing and sales together.

Traditionally there has been a struggle between marketing and sales teams: Sales are never satisfied with marketing’s leads and due to a lack of integration, marketing struggle to measure ROI. Demand Generation bridges this gap, steering marketing and sales teams to work together to achieve business goals.

There are 4 key areas that typically occur in the Demand Generation sales cycle:

Demand Generation Sales Cycle

Demand Generation activity supports this cycle by mapping out operational processes, matching the right content and marketing activities for each stage and determining a lead qualification process. It eliminates guesswork and provides a framework that allows you to deliver the right content, at the right time to guide users through your sales cycle.

Recognising Demand Generation online.

Whether you have been conscious of it or not, you will have experienced Demand Generation techniques online. Take this example, I performed a search on ‘Demand Generation’ and was led to this webpage:

Recognising Demand Generation Techniques Online

There are at least 5 examples of demand generation being used:

  1. Related display advertising – Up top, we see a display banner advertising a digital marketing event. This is not an accident, it’s targeted advertising aiming to drive awareness.
  2. Free guide download – This is the content I came to the page for, a introductory guide about the topic. As this is entry level information, users can download it without having to provide personal details. This encourages visitors to download and share, exactly what the owner wants.
  3. Call-to-action – For users that are closer towards a purchase decision, there are clear CTAs on this page so they can easily find out how to get in touch with the supplier.
  4. Cross promotion – An obvious but effective technique. Should the main content of this page not offer visitors what they need, links to other content are provided.
  5. Gated content – A simple way to qualify your visitors. A recorded webinar and white paper with higher level information is available for *free* when the user provides personal details – Name, Company, Email, Phone, Industry etc. As a hint here, consider how much information you want Vs what a user will be willing to provide in exchange for the level of content you are providing. Don’t scare off potential leads by asking for too much information.

But how does it all come together?

Adopting Demand Generation can be something of a cultural shift. Whilst there is marketing automation software available, it isn’t as simple as just switching it on. Getting this right takes effort. You have to really understand the journey your users take in order to make their purchase decision and match this to your content strategy. But the result is worth the effort, a recent report by Eloqua stated that through introducing demand generation techniques businesses have been able to deliver 18% higher revenue.

At DEER/digital we’re really excited about the results that can be driven from Demand Generation and talking to our clients about making this work in a B2B environment. If you want to find out more get in touch.

Have you used Demand Generation techniques? What were your successes or challenges? Please share your opinion or questions below!

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