In marketing, demand generation is like issuing singles before dropping an album.
Adele or a Soundcloud newbie, you do it to excite your fans and get new ones. But why bother when most of your earnings come from touring, ad campaigns, and paid partnerships?
Because generating demand for your product means increasing the chances of customers buying it, enjoying it, and recommending it to their friends. And just like with singles, you need to generate demand uniquely and creatively.
In this article, I’ll tell you what demand generation marketing is about, why you need it for your B2B campaigns, and how to come up with creative demand generation ideas that rock. Ladies and gentlemen, let the show begin!
Demand generation marketing is a combination of strategies and tactics to:
Drive interest in your company’s products
Increase brand awareness
Establish trustful relationships with potential customers
Form marketing-qualified leads (MQLs)
Offers solutions to customers' issues (even if these solutions aren’t yours)
Wait a minute… None of these points say “bring you money.” What’s the point of making demand generation a part of your marketing strategy and promoting someone else’s product along the way?
I knew you’d ask that. And here are the answers:
Demand generation helps clients realize the scale of their problems, the most cost-effective way to solve them, and the value they’ll get if they choose your business for that.
Demand generation makes your company’s name run in the back of their minds whenever they think of solutions to particular problems.
Demand generation increases the chances of your clients choosing your business when they’re ready to solve their problems.
As you can see, demand gen is not about the company’s ambitions to sell more at this very moment. It’s not even about collecting the prospects’ contact information for the sales reps — something that lead generation marketing does and one of many things that differentiate the two. It’s about generating demand where there was none.
What strategies and techniques do experienced marketers use for that?
Here comes your “favorite” answer: that depends. Yes, the right demand generation approach depends on many things, including your business strategy, product, resources, market position, audience, goals, and more.
Fortunately, though, the list of useful demand generation techniques and tools is wide enough to choose from. Here’s what you can use:
Email, content, social media, account-based, and inbound marketing
Paid partnership campaigns and influencer collaborations
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
Ungated, shareable tools, templates, and educational content
Online and offline events (summits, workshops, meet-ups, etc.)
You’re free to mix and match them to create the optimal demand generation strategy for your business, audience, and goals. Believe me, the results will be impressive.
People who have a positive experience with your brand from the start are more likely to keep following your business through newsletters or social media. This, in turn, increases the chances that they’ll buy your solution to their problem. And be delighted about it.
Let me guide you through the benefits of implementing B2B demand generation ideas in practice.
Increased brand awareness
If I mention the logo with a tongue sticking out, there’s only one band you’ll immediately think of.
The Rolling Stones.
That’s how brand awareness work. You may not like their music, but you definitely know who they are. How do you become the Rolling Stones in the B2B industry? Stand out from the crowd! And demand generation tactics can help you do it.
A quick example: regularly hosting educational webinars with the pros in your field will create an image of a company that cares about engaging, informative, and much-needed activities for the community. Plus, you’ll look like a thought leader and a top company for solving specific user problems.
And the next time your potential customer sees your name, they’ll think: “Hey, isn’t that the company who organized those webinars on B2B marketing software? I guess I could try their product. Oh, and they have a free trial? Awesome.”
Improved quality of lead generation
There’s one thing bands hate more than an empty venue: when you see the people who are clearly in the wrong place.
For whatever reason they showed up, they won’t have the experience a motivated fan has. The worst part? They won’t ever come to your gig again, let alone listen to your music, recommend it to their friends, or buy your merch.
Same with the motivated and unmotivated leads.
The people who know your brand, trust it, and find it useful are more likely to become your clients and make a purchase. At the same time, working up uninterested leads will mean wasting money trying to convert someone who doesn’t have the mood or need.
Well, demand gen adds to motivation big time. Because when people see a recognizable logo and remember they’ve seen it in a pleasant context, they’ll choose you over a brand they haven’t heard of.
Shorter sales cycle
Sales cycle length depends on the client's motivation, familiarity with the brand, and level of trust. And the longer it takes to convert prospects into leads and customers, the more money you’ll spend along the way. The bad news is that you can never guarantee the result.
With motivated leads, however, this process can be way shorter, as your demand generation campaign has already ‘prepared’ them to decide in your favor. How? By showing the value they’ll get from your product or service.
Enhanced customer experience
People don’t go to concerts only to listen to the artists performing live. They go for the whole experience.
Yep, customer experience is a big deal. Take a look at these numbers: 85 percent of business buyers consider a positive experience as important as product quality, and 66 percent expect it to be personalized.
Well, every demand gen strategy is centered around customer experience and enhancing it. If you’re in the software development industry, making your product work spectacularly well is step zero. You need more to impress and attain your prospects for them to become clients.
Like having a killer support team that can hold conversations your clients will make share online with positive captions.
Increased revenue and slashed customer acquisition costs
There are two ways demand generation can make your business more profitable.
One, the more people feel the need for your product, the more money they’re ready to spend on it. And if at the Awareness and Demand stages of the demand generation funnel you show how their life/job/wellbeing will get easier with your offering, their curiosity will skyrocket.
Two, the demand generation marketing strategy improves the flow of organic customers by introducing your company as the one that goes the extra mile to help clients solve their problems. And organic acquisition is always cheaper.
This is important because customer acquisition cost (CAC) grows annually, which makes marketers expand their budgets… while still having little return and conversions.
Just look at the gap between the organic and inorganic CAC. Even though this graph only explains the online forms of B2B lead generation, the trend is pretty visible.
A successful demand generation strategy has plenty of perks that translate into higher revenue, improved recognition, and stronger loyalty. Are you excited to give demand gen a try now? I’ve picked a few demand generation campaign ideas you can use for inspiration.
Quality lead nurturing takes time, effort, and creativity. The latter is key in marketing as it hooks people’s attention the most. That’s why we remember both the campaigns that have become iconic (like this one) and the ones you wish you’d never seen (like this one).
Sidenote: While various types of advertising can be a part of your demand generation strategy, they should never be your main tool. Why? Because it’s harder to get the attention of the folks who know how marketing works. Take once-popular banner ads as an example.
At the dawn of digital advertising, banner ads used to be a popular marketing tool. But already in 2013, 86 percent of people were ignoring them. And since our generation pays for ad blockers, there's a huge chance banners won't even reach your audience.
Now, back to our demand generation strategies. Whichever you choose, make sure to sprinkle it with creativity to stand out. Because you’re not the only one using them.
Invest in quality content creation
Content creation is among the most affordable yet effective means to generate demand. Here’s what you should do to make it work.
Make it high-quality
And by high-quality, I mean relevant, useful, up-to-date, visually appealing, emotion-evoking. What’s the secret? Carefully study your clients’ personas, their needs, and anticipate the problems they might face due to social, economic, or other changes.
For instance, if you offer logistics software for B2B, you can write about freight shipment, delivery, tax, and other regulations in different countries.
Ensure it generates extra value
The content should not be a part of your product or service but rather a valuable addition to it. With B2B audiences, knowledge always brings extra value, and you can make it the basis for your content creation strategy.
For example, you can run a bi-weekly digest on what’s going on in your industry, so your readers always know who to rely on you for quick updates.
According to Demand Gen Report, 81 percent of B2B users find interactive content more attention-grabbing than static content. Plus, it doubles the conversion rate.
To decide what would work for your audience, think of the digital tool that could help your clients with their tasks (tax calculators, online measurement tools, virtual diagnostics, etc.) and integrate it into your website or app. That’s how you provide value, improve your traffic rate, and increase the chances of closing a client simultaneously.
Involve users in content creation
People love recognition, and you can give it to them for free. You can start by asking users to take pictures with your product and post them online, tagging your business page, or using a specific hashtag.
Optimize your SEO
The content you post on your website and social media platforms should speak the language of your audience. This is why you need to optimize it and make it easy for them to find it. Simply put, use SEO best practices. And I’m talking about more than just keyword stuffing.
Link building, quality external references, active social media channels, and shareable content are the first things that come to mind. Using SEO the right way will increase the influx of organic leads that are cheaper to convert.
Offer free trials of your services or useful resources
Businesses don’t buy what they don’t need. So your B2B product should offer them a sample. With software, it’s easy: you provide users with a free, full-featured trial for several days and let them see how great your solution actually is.
But you can do more. If your main product is, say, an app that helps with tax payment, you can create a page with a tax calendar and payment notifications for the users.
Or a library of laws and regulations regarding the taxing processes. Or tutorials on how to fill out and submit your first tax report. Your task is to make the clients fall in love with your solution because it anticipates their needs.
Send out branded gifts
Receiving branded gifts may feel like catching drumsticks at the end of a gig: you didn’t expect to return home with them, but it feels nice. And they will always remind you of that event.
I understand it’s hard to feel the same about a branded calendar or pen. *sighs* So use your imagination and make these products really cool.
Like a branded basket with fine wine, cheese, and everything else for a picnic. Or beautifully designed reusable coffee mugs. There are even services that make gift giving easier and can track your expenses to estimate the ROI later on.
Search for new business opportunities
When your current audience shows little demand, try growing it by partnering with people who have bigger audience pools. Guest posting, partnerships, collaboration — there are plenty of ways to work with them. Just make sure both sides benefit from the cooperation.
For instance, if you do guest posting, discuss the pain points of that audience — not yours. Plus, some bloggers allow a native link to your business (if that doesn’t make the content too salesy).
Use personalized email and promo campaigns
What can make you click an email? I bet it’s when the tagline is personal. Some tools allow you to personalize your email marketing and make it to the point. Leadfeeder is one of them.
Our sales intelligence tool identifies the customers and companies that interact with your site and turn anonymous website traffic into a very real list of companies you can reach out to. It analyzes the companies’ behavior and gives you a clear idea of what companies visits the website and what they’re looking for.
With this data-driven approach to demand generation, you can create a more precise lead generation strategy with customized email marketing and promo campaigns that speak directly to potential leads.
Partner with industry leaders for webinars
Sharing valuable knowledge is a key part of the demand generation strategy. And here’s the thing: it should be done by someone not only experienced in the field but also a name.
The easiest way to reach out to the superstars is by offering them something they need. For some speakers, it would be money, for others — an opportunity to connect with other audiences. Some could even do it for fun!
The thing is, you never know until you get acquainted with these people. And, as with all business relationships, it will take a while. So be patient and respect other people’s time.
Reach out with interactive emails
The recipient of your emails might not be interested in what you offer, but they might know someone who will. Your task is to help them share it instantly. This is where interactive emails come in handy.
Power your email with a link sharing button, social media buttons, or a template builder, and ask the recipients to share it with potentially interested people.
However, interaction can have other forms. For example, you’re launching a new feature of your software and want to host a presentation on how to make the most of it. Include the link to the calendar/reminder/registration app in the email so the person can register and get notified.
Use LinkedIn to engage your audience
Don’t underestimate the power of networking, especially in B2B. You might know a guy who knows a girl who is the CEO of a company that’s looking for a solution like yours.
Of course, it’s easier to network and form valuable business connections on LinkedIn — a platform created specifically for that. But not just for that.
Along with networking, you can use LinkedIn to present new partnerships, joint campaigns, and other news. Keep your audience updated on the relevant information about your company and help them expand their business network.
Use “Last Chance” & low hanging fruit campaigns in email marketing
Imagine you’re on the fence about taking your friend to a Drake concert, so you just sign up for the event’s news for now. Well, what if you received an email saying, “Buy one, get one free”? You’d buy them, and you know it. This email generated demand and secured two people for the gig. In a matter of 10 minutes.
B2B companies can use this technique, too. Maybe you have some service that isn’t selling well or a product that’s sitting in the warehouse. Come up with a promo strategy to help you sell it quickly and attract those looking for a better deal.
For instance, it might be “Last chance to buy with X percent discount” or “Choose a standard subscription plan and get additional service for free.” Deliver better deals to your audience, and ensure an easy check-out.
Create a scoring model for leads
To know what demand gen strategy or technique performs better, create a lead scoring model. It will help you:
Identify what techniques are more/less popular with your audience
Calculate how much a technique cost and assess the ROI
Define the further lead generation strategy for each group
See where your visitors are on the demand and lead generation funnels
Knowing this information will help you evaluate the success of the chosen demand generation strategy and adjust it accordingly. What does a scoring model include?
Point-based system to estimate behaviors where more points = more investment (to estimate the ROI) or more points = better conversion (to assess the impact)
Link to the demand generation funnel stage (e.g., reading the post = Awareness, signing up for a demo or presentation = Consideration, etc.)
Various tiers (cold, warm, hot, boiling) to segment the audience and understand who your sales team can start working with
With a lead scoring model, you can quickly and accurately analyze what your demand gen strategy lacks to reach your goals. It will also improve your understanding of the prospects’ needs and interests.
Phew, that was a lot of ideas! I hope you’ve found the ones that will work for your business. Now, let’s look at a few examples of demand generation campaigns in action.
I’ve chosen three examples that illustrate how SEO practices, personalization and prospect identification, and webinar hosting can be used to generate demand. Enjoy!
Case study #1: CloudTalk.io
CloudTalk.io, a cloud-based call center software provider, struggled with turning visitors into clients. Regardless of the number of visits and clicks they received each month, few of them converted into subscribers.
The problem was that they didn’t know who the visitors were to start an effective campaign. But this changed when CloudTalk.io partnered up with Leadfeeder.
Thanks to Leadfeeder’s account-based marketing tool, CloudTalk.io was able to identify over 1,000 new prospects each month, initiate personalized campaigns for 20 percent of the visitors, and send valuable resources to the top 10 percent.
In the end, CloudTalk.io started getting over 20 new sign-ups each month.
Case study #2: HydroWorx
HydroWorx, the manufacturer of therapy and fitness pools for NASA, the Philadelphia Phillies, and Manchester United, wanted to expand its digital presence and source more visitors through organic search.
The company partnered with the digital marketing agency WebFx for SEO optimization, PPC advertising, and web design change. After launching the website and social media campaigns, HydroWorx has received a 236 percent increase in organic sessions and a 131 percent increase in organic contact form submissions.
Case study #3: Spectrix
Spectrix, a provider of end-to-end event organization software, wanted to use the power of webinars to enrich its prospects and provide value to existing clients.
The company had the experts and connections in the industry but not the experience and technical base to do it and get a positive ROI. So, it turned to Digital Litmus, a B2B demand generation agency. After a few strategic sessions, KPI identification, and customer segmentation, they came up with the webinar format.
Together, they chose Zoom as the webinar platform, integrating it with Spektrix’s MarTech stack, CRM, and Outreach.io sales automation platform.
After the tech part was ready, they started inbound and outbound webinar promotion, persona-based emailing, and organic and paid advertising across various channels.
The results? The engagement rate of the target accounts grew to 53 percent, and the live webinar attendee rate increased to 51 percent. Not too shabby.
Creativity in demand generation is key to drawing clients’ attention and rising beyond the competition. But randomly spitting out crazy ideas won’t work. You need to know your audience to please it.
Various techniques and strategies like interactive email marketing, educational content creation, partnerships, and more help you connect with the target audience, become their valuable resource of knowledge and fuel their interest.
Now go wrap up your creative ideas into an engaging form, and go start the show!
Note: Try out Leadfeeder for free to put high-intent company visits on a VIP list and treat them accordingly!
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