What is demand generation?
Demand generation is integral to the ongoing health and success of your business.
In its least complicated form, ‘demand generation’ is a catch-all phrase that covers all marketing activities that create awareness about your product, company and industry. It includes a mix of inbound and outbound marketing.
It has different meanings depending on who is using it: some people use ‘demand generation’ as a by-word for ‘lead generation’ (or ‘things you do to create leads at the top of your funnel). Other people use the term to refer to marketing automation software and the set of best practices that surround a successful implementation. Still others use ‘demand generation’ in a much broader way to mean online-focused B2B marketing.
At idio, we work to this definition:
An integrated and measurable approach to encouraging the increased and sustained interest leading to revenue.
It seems simple enough – but let’s break it down some more:
Demand generation helps you to orchestrate and integrate your various marketing and sales activities, processes and investments in a way that not only brings marketing and sales into alignment, but brings your company into better alignment with your prospects and customers.
With demand generation, each marketing and sales activity, each lead activity, and all other data you gather about the leads at every stage of your revenue funnel is captured. Properly analyzed, this data is used to measure the effectiveness of your activities and enable effective, fact-based optimization and forecasting.
Demand cannot be forced and ‘interest’ cannot be coerced. The aim of demand generation is to influence and shape your audience’s perspective – ideally by making sure your message overlaps with their needs.
Demand generation activities – especially those utilizing content marketing tactics – should not be done with a short-termist ‘attention spike’ in mind. Demand generation is a marathon not a sprint. Any solid demand generation initiative needs at least several months to yield impact. The day-to-day, however, is important as well. Evaluate and iterate constantly.
The goal of demand generation is that it creates an audience that is interested enough to purchase your products or services. This interest is not achieved by blasting as-yet unidentified prospects with a generic product-centric sales message but instead providing them with helpful, useful content which meets and answers their needs.
Undoubtedly, the best way to measure the success of demand generation efforts is revenue. Whilst measuring revenue is difficult and there may be lots of great reasons why this can be challenging (systems, process, people), this should be the goal: to measure revenue that directly results from demand generation spend.
So, there we have a simple definition to demand generation.