Demand Generation is NOT Lead Generation

Demand Generation is a key part of Market Strategy

The terms Demand Generation and Lead Generation are often used interchangeably by B2B marketers. The difference between these two can seem murky, but generally, it is actually as simple as the terms themselves.

As the name implies, Lead Generation is used to accumulate information regarding potential clients that can be converted to sales leads. Demand Generation, on the other hand, refers to a marketing operation that aims to create an interest in or demand for your products and organization using the law of attraction.

It’s likely that the confusion between the two terms resides in the fact that both use content assets as the core offering to achieve their objectives. This purpose of this post is to describe more of my thoughts on the nature of Demand Generation, a subsequent article on Lead Generation will follow.

Purpose: Start with Why

With respect to Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk, , Demand Generation concentrates on communicating your organization’s message to the market with the intention of then attracting those individuals that are beneficial to achieving your desired message.  Demand Generation is about building an audience that will follow you and your organization.  If you’ve got a successful Demand Generation program you’ll be able to achieve the following:

•    Create a market awareness of your presence and vision and values. You communicate to your target audience who you are and what you can do for them.

•    Create a position as a thought leader. By providing quality and valuable content to the audience, you will be seen as an expert in your prospect’s challenges and unique circumstances.

•    Attract investors, staff, and clients to you because you’ve shown the industry why they can trust and rely on you.

•   Educating and defining your value proposition. In new “blue oceans”, you may need to define and educate your market on the severity of the challenges or potentiality of the solutions. 

•    Position yourself as the leading brand in your market.  Using the techniques from Demand Generation you easily acquire the trust of your target audience ensuring that your brand and company are top of mind.

Use the Law of Attraction

Demand Generation activities and techniques build your audience of prospective customers, investors and team members.

A more prominent market presence will lead to greater possibilities for you and your organization through the law of attraction.  Not only will your prospects and clients get to know and understand your values, they’ll also appreciate how you differentiate yourself from your competition. 

Expected Outcomes From Demand Generation

Demand Generation is all about building organic growth that creates medium and long-term results.  Organic growth is the source for sustainable or recurring revenue and a loyal client base that not only provides for scalable product-market fit it creates product fans and opportunities for additional revenue channels with the same audience.

Great products can build great organic growth which can build brand awareness. Demand Generation is about building brand awareness through story-telling.  Thus Demand Generation and Product Design are two partners to achieve organic growth.  So in order to accelerate the organic growth, a great product needs a great story.  Content created for this purpose (ie. To support the product and organization) creates lasting impression and allows prospects to discover your product.

Demand Generation creates Organic Growth

By using Demand Generation activities, Investors and key hires will get to know your organization and as a result, when you’re ready for the next “acquisition”, the ease through which you’ll be able to grab their attention will be significantly easier.  Because of your Demand Generation efforts, building a team of “A” players or investors will take less time and efforts.

Typical Demand Generation Activities

The development and publication of content is one of the key activities related to Demand Generation.  The type of content that can be used for Demand Generation includes any and all of the following:

•    Podcasts – We’re all busy people, but with a microcomputer in our pocket, we can all take 15 or 20 minutes to listening to an inspiring idea or intriguing interview. Building a Podcast on your topic allow you to network and grow beyond your current network and adds value to you, your peers, customers and prospects.

•    Whitepapers – Lengthy papers that provide insight, data and practical instruction, knowledge, guidelines can position or reinforce you position as to go-to leader in your industry.  The key is to ensure that these documents are about the content and not yourself or your organization.

•    Blog posts – on and off-site – The blog post is one of the common ways to share knowledge with your target audience and in turn, establish a reputation as an expert in your industry. Aside from including blog posts on your website, you can increase your reach by submitting articles to other sites.

•    Press releases and media – Media Relations is all about getting your audience to know about you and your organization’s offerings in a broader context.  Issue formal press releases when you’ve got something big to talk about and make sure your media contacts know about this “news” in advance.

•    Advertorials – Find and publish content on publications where your target market visits. Don’t know where to start?  Ask your current clients and prospects using a simple survey or interview.

•    Video blogs – According to Wordstream, YouTube has billion of users. 82 percent of those that use twitter watches videos, 1/3 of online activity is generally spent on watching videos, you will not only widen your reach and boost business awareness. It can also help in yielding higher ROI and profit. 

•    Tradeshow talks – Make presentations on leading topics at tradeshows where your prospects attend.  As a result, you’ll increase your visibility and awareness of your brand offline and position yourself as an industry thought leader.

•    Academic papers – Offer to assist academics use your technology in their research and ensure that you publish the results in your media channels.

•    Case studies – People most likely want proof. Through case studies, you are providing them with proven content.

Note that the key to success somehow relies on the quality of the content. No matter how many Demand Generation activities you execute, if you do it half-heartedly, there’s a lesser chance of success.

Get Started on Your Demand Generation Program

Starting a Demand Generation program can be a bit daunting, so here’s some ideas on where to start:

  1. Identify your organization’s core values and how they’re transformed into market offerings
  2. Build a story as to how you want your audience to understand both these values and offerings
  3. Start telling your story using the various activities (For now, I personally choose written and video blogs posted to several sites).
  4. Increase the volume of activities and communication channels as you have time and resources.

Lastly, as Brian Tracy has famously said, Eat the Frog First.  If you start doing the hard things at the beginning of your day, then the rest of the day gets much easier. A Demand Generation program and strategy will help focus your organization on its core values and the translation of these values into offerings that will pay medium and long-term dividends to your Revenue outcomes.

While content management planning is a key element of the successful outcome from a Demand Generation strategy, execution is as equally important… it’s best to just start with one or two activities (described above) and then grow your outreach over time.  You can do it so just get to it!



Author: Blair Carey

I'm a classically trained investment analyst who's passionate about the intersection of Big Data, Sales, Marketing and creating success for VC investors

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