Inbound Marketing + Sales Blog

June 7, 2018

What is Demand Generation?

Written by: Amanda Nielsen  |  Share:

what is demand generation

First and foremost, demand generation encompasses — you guessed it! — generating demand for your product or service. Secondly, demand generation refers to the comprehensive program of marketing and sales enablement initiatives throughout the entire funnel that only occur once there is some demand for your product or service. Lastly, demand generation goes beyond your marketing and sales funnel to address non-visible touch points before a lead even enters your funnel, all the way through customer retention.

A true demand generation strategy accounts for every touch point in the buyer’s journey; all the way from anonymous consumer to delighted customer. In executing an effective demand generation strategy, you create opportunities: opportunities to make data-driven decisions, align your marketing and sales teams, track marketing’s contribution to revenue and, most importantly, drive growth for your organization. Below, we’ve laid out the four essentials of a successful demand generation program.

Demand Generation Fundamentals

As demand generation programs encompass every single touchpoint (from before a person becomes aware that your company exists all the way through closed-won and up-sells), they can be broken down into four manageable parts: brand awareness, inbound marketing, sales enablement and client retention.

Brand Awareness

As mentioned, demand generation programs rightfully include both initial and continued demand generation. By properly generating demand for your product or service, you can guide your long-term product development strategy and promote the longevity of your business model. The list below includes the necessary components for generating and sustaining demand for your product or service.

Brand Awareness Methods

  • Brand identity and image
  • Comprehensive product development
  • Properly identified buyer personas
  • Established thought leadership
  • Strong social media presence
  • Public relations management

Inbound Marketing

Many carry the misconception that demand generation and inbound marketing are one in the same. But they're not. Inbound marketing is a single facet of a comprehensive demand generation strategy that addresses the high-volume acquisition of high-quality leads.

Inbound marketing tactics work not only to nurture visitors into customers, but also to generate demand for your product or service. After all, inbound is all about enabling consumers to identify and solve for their challenges with the help of your organization.

The list below details the essential inbound marketing elements needed to properly execute a comprehensive demand generation strategy.

Inbound Marketing Methods

  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing
  • Blog content
  • Email marketing
  • Website/SEO
  • Targeted advertising
  • Content marketing (ebooks, guides, white papers, etc.)

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Sales Enablement

Marketing and sales alignment is critical to the success of your entire revenue team. Fortunately, sales enablement initiatives driven by a comprehensive demand generation strategy can promote unification across marketing and sales and in turn, close more business.

The list below includes sales enablement methods that can be executed by your marketing team to close the gap between marketing and sales.

Sales Enablement Methods

  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Fact sheets/FAQs
  • Estimate and discount calculators

Client Retention

Client marketing tactics offer a great deal of opportunity to promote up-sells and decrease churn. After all, the easiest people to sell to are those who’ve already purchased from you.

While acquiring new business is important, retaining, delighting and evangelizing your existing customers is critical for achieving sustained growth with your demand generation strategy. Below are several methods to promote client retention and reduce churn.  

Client Retention Methods

  • Excellent customer service
  • Client marketing initiatives
  • In-person events
  • Exclusive offers and services
  • Up-sells and renewals

The Importance of Data-Driven Decision Making

Every B2B marketer understands the importance of data-driven decision making; using data can take the guesswork out of your demand generation strategy and ultimately drive revenue. Moreover, the ability to perform analysis and make informed decisions based on real results is essential to achieving success for both you and your clients. If you make your decisions with data in mind (and they're sound decisions!) revenue growth will follow.

An essential pillar of any effective demand generation strategy is consistent optimization fueled by cross-channel analysis. Demand generation marketers are constantly testing, experimenting and optimizing to simultaneously drive efficiency and revenue. Doing so enables them to effectively attribute marketing’s contribution to revenue, providing superior visibility stretching beyond the entire marketing and sales funnel.

In order to make effective, data-driven decisions, you first need an understanding of how you can predictably meet your revenue goal. A funnel gap analysis is an essential step toward building your strategy. It provides initial insight and visibility into your entire marketing and sales funnel, creating the groundwork for a successful demand generation program.  


Topics: Demand Generation

About The Author

Amanda is an internal marketer specializing in inbound copywriting, lifecycle marketing and co-marketing initiatives.

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