By Dany Ortiz, on 28 September 2023
Demand generation is a crucial process in any marketing strategy, as it involves capturing leads (potential customers) and generating more sales by reinforcing brand awareness.
In this article, we will delve into this concept, providing you with the 7 key steps to implement it in your company.
What Is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is an inbound marketing technique aimed at prompting leads or potential customers to want to purchase a company's product or service due to a desire, attraction, or interest towards it. This technique positions a brand in the market, both online and offline.
Demand generation serves as an initial response to a brand's need to establish itself and succeed in a market that does not yet demand its offerings or recognize its significant potential. Therefore, this technique encompasses all marketing actions with the goal of identifying potential audiences and increasing their interest in your products or services. In this context, content strategy plays a fundamental role in demand generation.
This technique is commonly used by companies introducing new products or services, as was the case with Apple or Uber in the past. However, it's not exclusive to these companies, as well-established enterprises also employ this method to further boost demand for products or services already established in the market.
Ultimately, any type of company, whether B2B or B2C, can use demand generation and benefit from its two main advantages: increased brand reputation and improved market positioning.
The Importance of Demand Generation
Should my company invest time and resources in demand generation strategy? Below, we outline the advantages this technique can bring to your brand, so you can determine if its effects are valuable for your organization's current stage.
Enhance Visibility, Awareness, and Brand Reputation
Customers today are increasingly demanding and require more from brands to earn their trust. Consequently, we are in an era where consumers only acquire products from brands they trust after a thorough comparison process. Demand generation techniques are an excellent tool to position your company in consumers' minds ahead of the competition—an endeavor that's not easy, given it's a lengthy and complex process. Nevertheless, it's worth it, as you'll also build longer-lasting and stronger customer relationships.
Expand the Company Into New Markets
As mentioned earlier, demand generation techniques are excellent for positioning a product or service in an unexplored market. Therefore, if you're considering expansion, crossing borders, and entering new markets where a product or service similar to yours doesn't exist, you shouldn't disregard the range of actions that demand generation encompasses, which we'll discuss further.
Furthermore, even if there are companies similar to yours with similar offerings, demand generation techniques will still greatly assist you in carving out a place in the market.
Long Term Strategy
Demand generation is not designed to generate demand during specific moments or seasons; rather, it's a strategy aimed at sustaining the brand over time and enhancing its brand awareness. Consequently, this technique won't yield instant results, but the results you achieve will endure over time.
Enhance Lead Conversion
Demand generation generally involves generating potential customers, as having our brand appear in a customer's mind when thinking of a product or service increases the likelihood they'll turn to us when they want to acquire those items.
Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation
Often, the concepts of demand generation and lead generation (potential customers) are confused and used interchangeably. Although they are distinct techniques, it's important for companies to understand that both are complementary and that one precedes the other, making both vital within a marketing strategy.
But what sets them apart? Firstly, their objectives. While demand generation aims to enhance brand awareness and visibility of a product or service, lead generation aims to gather data and information about potential customers through actions like forms and landing pages.
Secondly, they differ in style. Demand generation is a more emotional technique that highlights a company's values and ideals. Lead generation is based on colder, more logical actions that qualify prospects.
In essence, demand generation could be seen as the first phase before embarking on a lead generation strategy, as it paves the way through the sales funnel before customers convert.
In summary, you can't (or rather, shouldn't) attempt to generate leads without first executing demand generation and brand positioning work. Otherwise, your company's name would lack value.
7 Steps to Implementing a Demand Generation Strategy
As mentioned, it doesn't matter what stage your company is in. Whether you want to introduce your brand, launch a product, grow with your product or service, it's essential to design a demand generation strategy to attract leads. Therefore, we'll detail the 7 key steps to develop such a strategy with your marketing team.
And remember, this strategy takes time to bear fruit, so don't expect overnight results. Be patient and think long-term. Additionally, view it as what it is—a circular process that repeats in any customer journey stage.
1. Set Objectives
Like any marketing strategy, you can't begin without defining what you want to achieve. In this case, your objectives will be business-oriented, such as achieving a certain number of leads. A common practice for companies at this stage is to implement a sales enablement system that coordinates the actions of the sales and marketing teams.
2. Design Your Brand Identity
Once you've clarified your objective, it's time to implement branding actions to establish your brand's identity with the public, enhance positioning, and increase brand recognition.
During this phase, consider aspects such as your company's purpose, the values that represent you, your communication strategy for each customer journey stage, and how you'll differentiate yourself from competitors. These are not simple questions, but they'll help you create a powerful, meaningful branding strategy that effectively communicates your message to your audience.
3. Analyze Your Audience
Who is your buyer persona? This is something you must be clear about before continuing with the demand generation process. This means defining the audience you want to target, so you don't waste efforts and resources trying to attract an audience that will never be interested in your promoted products or services because they don't address their pain points.
To define your buyer persona, base it on data about your ideal customer. And remember, your brand can have more than one buyer persona. For example, imagine a facial cream brand—its ideal customers include both young and mature individuals looking to care for their skin, as well as older clients seeking wrinkle correction.
4. Define Customer Journey Stages
The customer journey consists of five stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Demand generation generally takes place in the first stage—awareness. However, what many people don't know is that you can apply it to other stages as well. In fact, the most effective strategies are those that are implemented from start to finish. And why is that? Because theory and practice differ. Although the ideal is to attract customers in the first stage, the reality is that they can arrive at any time, so as a brand, you must be prepared.
5. Create Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content creation is one of the most critical stages in the demand generation process, as it's a technique that has proven highly effective in gaining the trust of the audience. Newsletters, social media posts, blog articles—these elements will all help position your brand in the minds of consumers.
6. Choose Your Channels
In which channels will you be present? We recommend analyzing where your audience is most active and developing your strategy there.
7. Begin Automation
Certain parts of the demand generation process can be automated to save time for your teams and streamline their work. There are numerous powerful automation tools available that can assist you.