According to HubSpot’s 2021 State of Marketing, about 35% of marketers surveyed are prioritizing demand generation activities in 2022. Other marketing priorities include increasing customer satisfaction (22%), increasing brand awareness (18%), closing more deals (14%), and increasing customer retention (8%).
This means that digital marketers must get smart about using data and analytics to target the right audience with purposeful content that helps solve business problems. Content that is self-serving, shallow, and performing won’t cut it anymore. The same HubSpot study also found that 62% of marketers worldwide struggle to implement successful marketing strategies, while 83% of companies report they don’t use data effectively.
What is Demand Generation Marketing?
Demand generation marketing is a strategic approach that informs the goals and objectives of digital marketing programs and creates “demand” for a product or service. This is a long-term marketing strategy that requires the integration of programs across paid, earned, shared, and owned media.
Demand generation is executed differently based on the size of the company and the types of products and services that companies offer. Typically, audience acquisition is the number one priority in smaller companies and startups. This means that companies will do anything and everything to get their products and services in front of audiences to collect their email address. This includes offering free trials, free initial consultation or assessments, early access to a platform with limited features, and more.
Enterprise companies have the luxury of having much larger marketing budgets and can afford to execute brand awareness-focused marketing activities. This can include expensive media buys, sponsorships, events, and more extensive marketing activations.
Here are three things to consider when planning for your demand generation marketing:
Use Data to Inform Demand Gen Marketing Activities
There is a surplus of data available in the marketplace. And if you work for a large company, you probably have more data than you can handle. I prefer to use three primary sources of data.
- Audience data: In this case, I am not referring to audience data related to primary research. I am talking more about building audiences using social media profiles. This methodology will uncover many audience insights, like identifying their top social media preferences, the leading media outlets they read, and their attitudes about various topics and stories.
- Website Analytics: In addition to Google Analytics, I like to use Google Search Console to re-optimize web pages based on my target keywords and landing pages. Because demand generation marketing is a long-term strategy, this approach will help ensure that audiences get to the right landing pages when searching Google for various keywords and phrases.
- Primary Research: Similar to this HubSpot report, primary research is helpful to identify more significant trends about audiences or the industry at large. For example, several research firms and social listening companies offer free access to reports and surveys. This is their approach to demand generation marketing. I recently wrote a post about Gen Z shopping habits, which I sourced from eMarketer.
Message Repetition Should Drive Demand Generation Strategy
How many times have you hummed to yourself the tune, “Nationwide is on your side”? I do it all the time. Message repetition happens when brands consistently and repetitively target audiences with brand messages. Of course, this is much easier for brands that have larger digital marketing budgets. However, over the years, several reports and studies have revealed that consumers must see/hear a brand message 3-to five times before they “believe.” And because today’s consumer has a very complicated and unpredictable shopper journey, this data point becomes much more critical.
Retargeting through marketing automation is one way to ensure that you are reaching the same audience more than once. This can be done with Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social channels.
Integrate Influencers in Demand Generation Marketingprog
One thing I found interesting in the HubSpot report was that influencer marketing was missing from this survey. Not sure why. This is a massive disconnect for marketers who are managing demand gen strategy.
In any case, integrating a brand influencer program into demand gen marketing initiatives can help augment and amplify existing programs and campaigns. I am of the mindset that brands must have “always-on” versus campaign-specific influencer programs for many of the reasons listed above. An integral part of any influencer program is integrating a content collaboration. This could look like a series of guest posts hosted on the company blog, the influencer’s blog, or a series of YouTube videos. The key here is that the program must encompass more than just Instagram, TikTok, or other short-form video collaboration. This is because the content shelf-life for long-form content (and YouTube) lives forever in the Google search results. This is not the case for other platforms.
Demand generation marketing takes time. It requires a long-term strategy with goals, objectives, and integration points. Integrating influencers into lead generation programs can almost guarantee that you will get high-quality leads.
How to Measure Demand Generation Marketing?
A successful B2B demand generation strategy will include a measurement approach that consists of all marketing efforts, including public relations, content marketing, social media, events, and customer marketing. Top of the funnel metrics that drive awareness and interest will be just as critical as delivering quality leads and sales.
In any business, the best practices for measuring demand generation is to map all of the marketing programs to the B2B sales funnel. This is the most effective way to reach your target audience with content that converts. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
In the awareness phase, the best way to generate demand is to invest in advertising. This can include traditional banner ads or highly targeted paid social media campaigns across media networks. Paid search is another channel that can deliver thought leadership and generate leads. Lastly, especially for B2B companies, attending industry events should always be a part of all demand generation strategies. E
Even if the intention is to build awareness, all sales and marketing teams should measure all of the content marketing tactics within the campaign. For example, social media is very effective at reaching buyers across the entire journey.
Most of the lead generation tactics will be the same in the consideration phase. The only thing that will change is the content that has been delivered in each of the channels. From a content perspective, customer stories, case studies, a blog post that highlights customer pain points, and thought leadership can all be effective at generating demand.
Most B2B demand generation strategies don’t consider the whole sales funnel when creating content. Instead, they either focus on the top of the funnel marketing tactics or the bottom of the funnel lead generation. However, successful demand generation will include specific marketing tactics when launching campaigns.
In the consideration and purchase phase, customers are already aware of the products or services that your business offers, so it makes sense to leverage marketing automation to retarget them. Measuring conversion rates will be essential during this phase, especially since revenue is at stake.
Loyalty marketing is not included in a demand generation strategy.
Should public relations be included in a demand generation strategy?
Yes, public relations and social media should always be included in demand gen campaigns. The great thing about public relations is that it can generate great visibility for any business or brand. While most public relations campaigns focus on top-of-the-funnel activities, sales and marketing teams can leverage marketing automation to reel the target audience into their digital ecosystem. Additionally, good PR builds brand equity over the long term.
What are the differences between demand generation vs lead generation?
Demand gen marketing is a strategic approach to building and nurturing valuable relationships with potential customers. Lead gen typically refers to generating qualified leads or emails that are passed on to the sales organization. Every lead should not necessarily turn into a sale, but every sale starts as a lead. Both tactics can produce quality leads.
How much does demand gen cost?
According to Cloudtask, the average cost per lead in 2019 was $198. These numbers will differ based on industry, company size, target buyer, and competitive set. For example, in the same report, the cost per lead in the technology sector is $208, and the cost per lead in education is $5. Other costs to be factored in should include agency fees, content generation, technology investment, etc.
How to measure demand gen marketing?
A demand gen marketing strategy requires a combination of paid and organic efforts. A good list of KPIs should include web traffic, website conversions, social media followings, qualified lead generation (email addresses), the average cost per lead, etc.
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