When brands want to generate interest in their products or services, they use specific tactics to bring in leads. Whitepapers, blog posts, and case studies are often used in demand generation strategies, but they’re often confused with lead generation, but they aren’t the same thing.
Demand Generation Isn't the Same as Lead Generation
The difference between demand generation and lead generation starts with their position in the traditional marketing funnel. Demand gen sits at the top of the funnel and focuses on increasing brand awareness, whereas lead gen lies at the bottom and pays attention to lead nurturing.
While demand generation helps you grow, lead generation helps you convert. You need to start with a demand gen strategy that attracts and educates leads through content, so you can begin vetting them. Only when you get a lead's contact information can you start nurturing them.
What Demand Generation Looks Like in Practice
A typical demand generation strategy has five parts but ultimately revolves around content marketing. This fact remains true no matter your industry, market, or business offerings.
Step 1: Build Product or Service Awareness
Customers aren’t interested in your products or services specifically; they’re interested in how they solve their pain points. Simply marketing an exercise bike as a workout accessory isn’t going to cut it. You need to state its benefits, such as how many pounds a person could lose.
But you can increase your visibility and credibility further by using recent customer reviews. If your website is filled with testimonials from happy customers, you’ll increase your social proof.
Step 2: Develop a Full Content Strategy
A regularly updated blog is the main element of reliable demand generation. When you create valuable content, you’re setting yourself up as an authority in your industry. You’re also bringing in potential customers from Google (News - Alert) via keywords and other search engine optimization tactics.
If you have the marketing resources, consider building a personalized content strategy that focuses on a specific type of high-value lead. Then, use calls to action to entice buyers.
Step 3: Nurture High-Quality/Warm Leads
While lead gen strategies play the biggest role when nurturing leads, many demand gen tactics require a nurturing stage. For example, if a social media follower comments on your posts, one of your marketers should follow up. Consistent interaction will build customer relationships.
With that said, you can’t move to this step unless your marketing team creates content your prospects want to interact with. You should monitor lead feedback, such as data, surveys, and questionnaires, to understand whether your strategies are meeting your customer's needs.
Step 4: Utilize Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing is when a business targets a select group of people that have the highest growth potential. This step is necessary when you have a bunch of leads you want to fast-track through the pipeline, but you can only do that if you really know your audience.
Marketing teams should design personas that are more likely to purchase. Use these target personas to inform how you’ll market to these leads through content that focuses on pain points.
Step 5: Explore Partner-Based Marketing
Influencers in your niche can expertly market your product or services to their audience, but you need to choose the right people. When done right, you can build social proof and trust in new audiences, especially if you’re targeting Millennials or Gen Z buyers on Instagram or TikTok.
Remember that a generalized marketing strategy isn’t going to draw the numbers you’re searching for. Narrowing down your messaging is the quickest way to carve out an audience.