What Is Demand Generation? (+9 Strategies to Steal)

Lauren Pope
Lauren Pope  |  July 10, 2019

Everyone wants to be noticed – and brands are no different.

No matter what your role in your company may be, the end goal of all company efforts circle back to qualifying leads and closing sales. That’s easier said than done: especially if you work in a field with a lot of fierce competition. If you’re looking to edge out your competition for your next big marketing campaign, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll define demand generation, outline how it differs from lead generation, and highlight nine demand generation tips you can use to revamp your overall marketing strategy.

What is demand generation?

Understanding the variety of different marketing terms can be tricky for anyone just starting out in their career. Before you can take a deep dive into creating a demand generation strategy, you need to understand what qualifies as demand generation.

Demand generation is about brand awareness. Before you can sell a prospect on your services, you need to make them aware of what you do and gain their trust. Demand generation is considered a top of funnel marketing strategy and it takes time and effort to get it right.

Confused about how demand generation differs from lead generation? Don’t sweat it. Even the most seasoned professionals might have trouble differentiating similar topics.

Demand Gen. Vs. Lead Gen.
 

In short, if the content you’ve created serves the purpose of collecting contact information in order to nurture leads into making a purchase, you’re dealing with lead generation. This article will focus on demand generation.

Tip: If you’re more interested in information, check out this piece about the difference between demand generation vs. lead generation.

9 demand generation strategies you should steal

Now that you understand the difference between demand generation and lead generation, it’s time to focus on the best demand generation strategies. The following strategies should not be used in a silo! Play around with a different mix of each one and find the right combination that works for your business.

Remember, your business is unique. Your demand generation strategy should be too.

1. Focus on the things your customer needs

Understanding what your customer needs is the first step in any successful marketing campaign. One easy thing you can do to start this process is to create a customer profile of your ideal consumer.

You can do this by focusing on things like audience demographics, psychographics, socioeconomic status, and brand affinity. Once you do that, think about the pain points your customer might be facing and build that into your customer profile. These will be your guiding light as you go about creating content.

TIP: Discover common pain points as well as things your customers love by gathering, reading, and responding to real user reviews on G2. 

Grow Your Business With Reviews →

2. Create a value-add within your content

Once you’ve figured out what your customer needs, you can turn to creating content that adds value for them.

A value-add is something extra your customer gets when they consume your content or do business with you. Even when you’re not trying to sell a customer, there’s still a level of salesmanship that should go into your content. Create an experience that provides extra value to your consumers.

Example: If you’re writing an article about how to ask for a promotion, you could create a downloadable script that walks the reader through what they should say. This provides the reader with something free that other content doesn’t include.

The key to creating a great value-add is to give it away for free. People are so used to filling out landing page forms and forking over their email that they might be deterred if you ask for those things too soon. Value-adds are about building authority and trust with your reader.

Tip: Looking for some value-add examples? This article is full of them! Keep reading to find them.

3. Provide a free tool or resource

If you’re looking to take your value-add to the next level, you should consider creating a free tool for your consumers. You’re probably familiar with free tools already. Whether it’s percentage calculators, URL shorteners, or hashtag generators, free tools are designed to get new users on your website.

Once they make it to your landing page, you can include links to other relevant resources and help guide them through your other content. Eventually, the goal is to have the consumer lead themselves through the sales journey and contact your company about your services.

Your free tool should always relate back to the work your company does as a whole. You don’t want to create a free rent calculator if you sell pet accessories. Make it easy for the consumer to make the connection between your free tool and your paid services.

Tip: The G2 URL opener is one of our most popular free tools with marketers everywhere – check it out.

4. Don’t be afraid to partner with others

Sometimes the best value-add can come from collaborating with other industry leaders.

If you’re struggling to reach your target audience or maybe you want to tackle a project that seems to big to handle on your own, collaborating with other brands could be the perfect solution.

Collaborating with other brands will help you:

  • Expand your reach
  • Connect with new consumers
  • Build your brand authority
  • Create new contacts at important companies

It can seem counterproductive to collaborate with someone you might see as a competitor. Instead, you should see this more as putting the customer first. Creating value by working with leaders in your industry can benefit the customer and help them make more informed decisions. Plus, these collaborations are already happening. Would you rather reap the rewards or stay isolated?

Tip: In case you were wondering, we do take our own advice. Check out our latest ebook collaboration about the future of marketing teams with companies like Drift, Planoly, and Vimeo

5. Invest time and money in doing content the right way

You’ve heard it before: content is king.

But doing content the right way can be challenging. The companies that are seeing success are the ones who have invested in a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Content marketing is a specific type of marketing that prioritizes the creation, production, and distribution of original content.

Types of Content Marketing
 

It’s primary focus isn’t to advertise the brand, but rather to garner interest in a brand’s products or services: and it’s that distinction that makes content marketing a perfect addition to your demand generation strategy.

How can content marketing boost demand generation?

  • Drive organic traffic to your website
  • Create social shareable conversations
  • Increases brand awareness
  • Builds loyalty and preference

Content is the primary offering you’ll need for demand generation. It’s the first step in creating the value-adds, free tools, and resources we spoke about earlier in the article. Some might argue that demand generation is impossible without content marketing. At the very least, it’s difficult to pull off without a dedicated content marketing plan.

Tip: Content doesn’t write itself. Learn how G2 built our 30+ person content marketing team and reached 1+ million organic traffic in one year.

6. Choose the right tech stack to reach your goals

Managing all of these demand generation strategies at once can be tough without the right tools. Luckily, demand generation is so popular that a variety of advanced software options are available to anyone who might need them. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to streamline the demand generation process, you’ll need the right tech stack.

Here are three tools you can use to optimize your demand generation strategy:

1. Marketing automation system

This tool is perfect for automating repetitive, time consuming tasks like triggering email nurture streams or scheduling social media posts. It saves your team time and frees them up to focus on more technical aspects of their job.

A key component of marketing automation tools are the included analytics features that allow users to measure the impact of an entire campaign across segments and channels. These features measure anything from KPIs, campaign ROI, and the impact of campaigns on company revenue.Find the best Marketing Automation software on the market. Explore Now, Free →This tool allows users to generate, manage, and publish content on their websites without the aid of developers. This is ideal for any team that doesn’t have a full-time developer on staff. It’s also ideal for anyone looking to shorten the time needed from writing to publishing.

2. Content management system (CMS)

The great thing about content marketing systems is that they can usually be plugged into third-party hosting platforms that provide more complete website management functionality. Some CMS systems can integrate with marketing software, third-party CMS tools, or content analytics software.

Find the best CMS software on the market Explore Now, Free →

3. Customer relationship management (CRM) platform

CRM software is probably one of the most important tools you’ll need for demand generation. Once you’ve moved your demand generation prospects over into lead generation, you’ll need a place to collect and categorize their contact information.

A CRM software will record interactions between your business, prospects, and existing customers. It’s also great for tracking prospects and contacts throughout the sales pipeline and facilitate an enhanced customer experience.

View the Easiest-to-Use CRM Software →

Having the right tools for the job can make or break your demand generation strategy. Exploring your options and choosing the right tech stack for your needs is crucial to success.

7. Cross-team collaboration is key

The biggest mistake your company can make is assuming that demand generation is the job of a single department. Every team can benefit from demand generation, so every team should be involved.

As you build your demand generation strategy, loop in your sales reps and prep them with talking points. New leads might reach out to them after reading a piece of content on your blog, and your sales team will need to know how to receive their questions.

You should also involve your researchers to ensure the data you’re including in your content is fresh, relevant, and focused on user-intent. Original data and research will help edge out the competition and give your customers that extra value-add.

8. Generate quality leads with real-time data on buyer intent

The purpose of demand generation is brand awareness and ultimately, converting strangers to customers. If you’re not already utilizing buyer intent data in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to convert leads into sales.

Buyer intent data tracks the online activity of your consumers, both B2B and B2C, and allows you to see where along in the marketing or sales funnel they are. User intent data is powerful because it better informs you on how to keep customer attention, tells you how close they are to making a purchase, and whether or not they’re looking into your competitors as well.

Understanding those things can help you convert warm leads into sales or possibly even poach a competitors client. Putting hard numbers behind your work will help increase sales and prove the ROI of your demand generation strategy.

9. Use your brand ambassadors to your advantage

Here’s a harsh truth: consumers don’t trust brands at face-value.

What consumers lack in trust in brands, they make up for with trust in each other. Influencers and brand ambassadors are becoming the de facto authorities online about which brands to trust and which ones to ditch.

A recent study from Mobile Marketer shows that 44% of social media users follow an influencer, and 34% of those consumers said they have discovered a brand solely based on influencer posts. People trust other people more than they trust companies talking about themselves. Why? They think it’s more authentic and relatable. Use this to your advantage by creating a brand ambassador program to activate your biggest fans.

Brand ambassador program
 

Don’t discount someone just because they aren’t on your payroll. Activate the influencers who really care about your brand and help them sing your praises.

Keep your brand in demand

Staying top of mind is hard when you’re competing with other brands for attention. With these tips and tricks of the trade, you’re well-equipped to revitalize your demand generation strategy and take your team to the next level.

Ready to put all of these tips into action? See how real-time insights from active buyers can propel your demand generation strategy. 

Get Leads with Buyer Intent Data →

Lauren Pope
Author

Lauren Pope

Lauren is a Senior Content Specialist at G2 with five years of content marketing experience. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub. In her free time, Lauren enjoys listening to podcasts, watching true crime shows, and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene.