These days, demand generation is perhaps the most critical element of marketing success. From the first time a customer comes across your brand or content to the last time they purchase something from you, demand generation is the overarching strategy that helps you attract customers and build relationships.
At its core, it’s all about connecting with your target audience in meaningful ways. And it involves leveraging the right channels and messages to create a lasting impression.
But what does demand generation entail, exactly?
In this article, we’ll discuss the demand generation definition, how it works, and how you can implement it in your omnichannel strategy.
Demand generation: what it is and how it works
In a broad sense, demand generation can be defined as the process of creating and managing demand for your products or services. It’s a combination of marketing and sales efforts aimed at driving qualified leads to your business, engaging them until they’re ready to buy, and increasing their customer lifetime value (CLV) from that point onward.
Generating consumer demand involves various channels including content marketing, social media, email campaigns, pay-per-click advertising, advertising on CTV, and PR. The channels any one company uses will vary depending on its customers, products/services, and goals.
The main goal of demand generation is to capture attention and convert leads into customers. That means knowing your target audience and what kind of message they’re looking for. It also involves building relationships with them through engaging content and personalized experiences.
The 5 pillars of demand generation
Since demand generation is such a broad topic, it helps to break it down into five distinct pillars.
Awareness doesn’t always translate to a lead or a sale. But ubiquity in the marketplace has untold benefits in terms of recognition.
Most buyers choose the brand that’s most familiar to them. If they’re already seeing your content and know exactly what you do, they’re more likely to pick your brand in the future (or, at the very least, start their research with your brand top of mind).
In some cases, they may even recommend your product to peers because they’re already familiar with it. Whether or not they’ve used it themselves, they know who you are and what your brand stands for.
Lead generation is the process of turning prospects into leads by capturing their contact information. Most often, this is through gated content (e.g., an email newsletter, webinar, or first-time shopper discount code).
Leads provide the opportunity to engage prospects in a meaningful way and build relationships over time. Whether through email, text message, or even social media, lead generation helps you get your messages out there and start building relationships that can turn into sales in the future.
Lead generation only gets your foot in the door with a prospective customer. It does nothing for ongoing engagement, which is where lead nurturing comes in.
The goal of lead nurturing is to build relationships with prospects and turn them into customers over time. It involves regular contact, providing value, and ensuring that your messages are relevant.
Sales and buyer enablement
Through content marketing, brands can equip their buyers with the information they need to make their decision.
Common examples include:
- Pricing information
- Comparison pages
- Blog posts
- How-tos, guides, and tutorials
- Social media posts
Lead nurturing involves content that can help individual buyers along their journey. Enablement is more about having the resources ready for them when they start to do more digging into your product (and others).
Customer acquisition costs five times more than the equivalent retention efforts. Getting new customers is great, but there’s no growth if you’re losing current ones just as quickly.
That’s why customer retention is a big focus of demand generation. It involves providing value and support, getting feedback, implementing improvements, and building brand loyalty through rewards programs.
Implementing demand generation for your business
Demand generation won’t do anything for you if it isn’t implemented properly. That means having the right channels, messaging, and resources in place.
Start by getting to know your target audience, who they are, and what kind of message resonates with them. Once you’ve done that, create an omnichannel strategy that leverages the right combination of channels (social media, email marketing, content marketing), messages (brand awareness vs. lead nurturing vs. sales enablement), and resources (content, customer service, etc.).
Throughout the campaign, tracking performance is also critical. Each channel should be monitored closely to track performance and identify opportunities for improvement. To centralize all your important data, you’ll have to invest in a scalable marketing automation tool (if you haven’t already).
Demand generation isn’t just about getting new customers. It’s about building relationships and creating lasting impressions that grow with your brand. To do that, you need to thoroughly understand your target audience and the right combination of channels, messages, and resources. But if you get it right, demand generation can bring in higher-quality leads and improved customer lifetime value over time.