An insightful comment from CMO Joe Chernov on Twitter:

“In B2B, demand generation is typically a misnomer. Marketers capture demand vs. generate it.”

What does that mean exactly? I haven’t asked Joe directly, but I believe he means that, in the absence of a genuine need for a product or solution, marketing rarely creates that need. More often, marketing – or, more specifically: demand generation — captures engagement from someone either outright shopping for a product, or, at a minimum, feeling the particular pain that the marketer’s product can solve.

generate demand

Why does this matter? It matters because if we as B2B marketers develop messages and content and campaigns that assume otherwise – namely, that we are somehow going to generate demand and interest for our product in the absence of a genuine need (an issue especially prevalent in ABM) – those campaigns will fail to generate the results we’re looking for.

Even if your product is trailblazing a new category, or solving a problem that few companies know they have, you can still orient your marketing to capture demand. For example:

1. Don’t ask people if they have an issue. Just tell them how to solve it.

Consider these two subject lines:

Suffering from low bandwidth? It’s time to look at 5G Wireless.
Now: a simple way to increase wireless speeds up to 10X.

The first puts the onus on the reader to confirm that he or she has a problem in the first place. Maybe that reader has low bandwidth and just doesn’t know it. Maybe he or she has low bandwidth but is perfectly happy with the status quo. Either way, if the answer to your question is “no,” you’ve lost.

The second subject line delivers a tangible benefit regardless of whether the reader perceives he or she has a need. As the reader, I might be perfectly happy with my middling wifi connection but if I can increase that speed by 10X, I may decide to engage with your campaign anyway.

2. Avoid the word “why”.

Saying “Why you need …” is one of the quickest ways to lose a potential customer. No-one wants to be told why they need anything. Instead, just assume the person you’re talking to has the relevant need, and focus on the benefits from taking action:

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You’ll generate higher engagement, and greater results, by appealing to a prospect’s aspirations, and potential for improvement, as opposed to making the case for a need that your prospect may not think exists.

Photo by Aaron Sebastian on Unsplash