Writing and publishing blog posts, white papers, case studies and ebooks creates demand for a brand’s products and/or services, right? Doing social media marketing does, too, right? Those are common presumptions in marketing today.

In actuality, they provide something much more powerful than generating demand for products and services. They generate the demand to join a brand’s community and cause. They also generate demand for more content.

Content developed for lead nurturing is what creates robust demand for products and/or services, regardless of channel – not content developed and distributed for demand generation.

According to HubSpot, 96 percent of website visitors aren’t interested in purchasing anything the first time they visit. The demand generation content mentioned above only has a chance at influencing four percent of new website visitors. What about everyone else?

The Golden Circle of Demand Generation

Simon Sinek, in his How Great Leaders Inspire Action TED Talk, explains, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” He illustrates this point in a simple graphic he calls The Golden Circle. Below is Slingshot SEO’s interpretation of his Golden Circle with a demand generation and content twist.

The Golden Circle

The why, how and what model above is articulated by Simon using Apple as an example below:

“If Apple were like everybody else a marketing message from them might sound like this: We make great computers [what]. They’re beautifully designed, easy to use and user friendly [how]. Want to buy one[why]? . . that’s how most marketing is done. . . it’s uninspiring.”

“Here’s how Apple actually communicates: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently [why]. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly [how]. We just happen to make great computers, want to buy one [what]?”

What - How - WhyIn other words, most marketing campaigns start with the what and go from the top of the golden circle inward. This sets the expectation that demand generation should generate demand for products and/or services. However, inspiring demand generation campaigns start with the why and go from the bottom out. This generates demand for community membership [why] and more content [how].

Over the long term this will lead to greater demand for products and/or services [what].

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

Creating content that generates demand for community membership and more content (marketing from the why to the what) allows brands to identify who believes what they believe and creates inspired consumers, as opposed to uninspired ones. It also accomplishes the goal of doing business with people who believe what you believe.

He further explains that this way of thinking is rooted in the biology of the human brain. The neocortex is responsible for language, rational and analytical thought – the what. The why and the how are controlled by the limbic portion of the brain which is responsible for feelings, trust, loyalty and decision-making.

Marketing campaigns that work from the top down influence the neocortex part of the brain. However, campaigns that start with the why and work their way to the what speak directly to the limbic part of the brain that controls behavior.

Below is Simon’s full TED Talk:

Good demand generation should produce content that speaks directly to the limbic part of the brain – the why and how. This will create demand for community membership and more content. Ultimately, it allows people the opportunity to believe what you believe and creates inspired consumers over time.

Through the use of multi-channel lead nurturing and behavior based lead intelligence, demand generation for products and services will occur over time and help brands identify who believes what they believe. It also gets easier as more and more people join the community and evangelize a brand’s why and how. That’s because “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” This is the approach marketers should use when deploying online demand generation using content.

Read more: How To Drive Demand Marketing Change Without Sinking The Ship