On December 19, 1973, Johnny Carson’s writers took an ordinary news story and turned it into what some have called the greatest example of Demand Generation in the history of free enterprise. The story contained a statement by a Wisconsin Congressman named Harold Froehlich, who claimed that the federal Government was behind schedule in processing bids from toilet paper suppliers.  In the article, Froehlich stated, “The United States may face a serious shortage of toilet tissue within a few months.”  

That night in his Tonight Show monologue, Carson said, “You know what’s disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper. There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States.”

By noon the next day, almost every store in the U.S. was out of toilet paper because more than 20 million viewers had heard Carson and told their friends about the “shortage.”  Prior to the Great, Fake Toilet Paper Shortage of 1973, demand for a product had never been generated.

Even though generating demand for a product or service isn’t a new concept, the way marketers use demand generation has changed dramatically in the last few years.

For one thing, many of today’s marketers fail to recognize the difference between Lead Generation and Demand Generation, and therefore, use the two terms interchangeably. According to MarketingSherpa, in 2005, “We learned no one says lead generation marketing (or even just marketing).  …The new term is Demand Generation.

“Often confused with Demand Generation is the lead process itself. Converting demand into sales is a totally separate task. Many companies, however, will call themselves Demand Generation organizations when they are really lead generating.”

To create a cutting-edge Demand Generation program, an effective marketer must not only create awareness, but build on it. This is necessary for new brands and products, as well as for established ones. Creating and building awareness is the cornerstone of any Demand Generation program and every kind of marketing, including inbound, outbound, and social.

Once awareness has been created, the next phase of Demand Generation is known as Discovery.  This is the phase in which a prospect learns about the service or product via online research, white papers, Webcasts or Webinars.

The third and final phase of Demand Generation is Validation, which takes place when the prospective customer and the vendor discuss the vendor’s solution for the customer.

Although it may be fashionable to mislabel Lead Generation as Demand Generation, clever marketers can generate demand for a product or service as well as generate leads for it. Demand both from your marketing partner because what makes a successful business is the ability to supply what’s in demand.