Demand generation is a big trend for 2023. In fact, it's been building in popularity over the last 5-10 years and shows no sign of stopping.
But relax, you're already doing it: most inbound marketing methods count as demand generation.
And while a lot of demand generation marketing can be done in-house, there are a few key ways your strategy can benefit from outside help. That's where a good demand generation agency comes in.
What Is B2B Demand Generation?
As a B2B marketer, the chances are you're already carrying out B2B demand generation in your business.
Types of demand generation marketing include:
You might have noticed a theme here: B2B demand generation focuses on giving away resources, for free. This is one of the best ways to get people not only thinking about your brand but actively using your resources, learning about your brand over time – and ultimately, trusting you.
Lead Generation vs Demand Generation: What's the Difference?
Demand generation is inbound marketing: a range of long-term marketing strategies designed to raise awareness of your brand over time. Essentially, any marketing strategy where your focus is on attracting leads organically to your brand, typically on social media or your website, can count as demand generation.
In comparison, lead generation is outbound marketing. It's typically a shorter-term strategy where you work with a lead generation agency to reach out to relevant prospects and pull them into your marketing funnel.
Or, in terms of the natural world, think of lead generation like a hungry frog, spotting insects and flicking its tongue out to catch them. Whereas demand generation is more like the carnivorous sundew flower: you tempt prospects with something sticky and wait for them to land on it!
Demand generation is harder to measure than lead generation. As a long-term strategy that targets top-of-funnel prospects, the aim isn’t to get a quantifiable list of leads straight away.
But demand generation complements lead generation really well, as it can attract future leads to your brand over time, and also supports your lead nurturing strategy, too.
Gated vs Ungated Content
Next up, should you gate your resources, ie. put them behind a content download form? Or should you ungate your content, letting your target audience and website visitors consume your content freely?
The answer is 'it depends'!
A content download form allows you to collect readers' contact details, turning them into a solid list of leads.
Therefore, gating is associated with lead generation. Whereas leaving your content ungated so it's 'free' it's better for demand generation. To fill in a content download form, your readers need to know the gated asset is going to be valuable to them.
- Is the resource particularly valuable to potential leads?
- Is it unique, or would it be easy to find something similar from other companies?
- Does it use stats, figures, or other data that your business has produced, ie. primary sources?
If the answer to those questions is 'no', it's best to give the content away ungated, to drive your demand generation strategy.
What Does a B2B Demand Generation Agency Do?
Demand generation agencies typically combine inbound and outbound marketing techniques to create an integrated B2B demand generation strategy.
Any lead generation or demand generation agency worth its salt is an invaluable source of data, and data is a vital part of demand generation.
Your B2B demand generation agency should be able to track behaviors in your leads that indicate what kind of content they'd like to see, so you can feed them that content and drive demand for your product.
Take, for example, a classic content syndication campaign.
Content syndication is fantastic for demand generation, because it puts your content in front of likely audiences.
A content syndication and demand generation agency should have their own, long-established content syndication platforms with huge audiences of decision-makers in specific sectors.
For example, at Headley Media, we have content libraries in the IT, cybersecurity, HR, fintech, martech, and electronics industries, published in 60 countries, with thousands of readers. Our readers download content from our technology clients in exchange for their contact details and marketing permissions.
We track what content each of our readers is downloading, so we can score their behaviors to understand the intent behind their content consumption. based on where they are in the purchasing process.
That gives you great intel for your demand generation campaigns.
Not all prospects who download your content will consent to hear from you. That means that aside from the marketing leads you buy, your content has been accessed by many more prospects - and that counts as an invaluable demand generation strategy.
What Are the Best B2B Demand Generation Strategies?
There are lots of different demand generation strategies that a B2B demand generation agency can help you with. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. Optimizing Your Content Creation
Content is really the greatest tool you have for demand generation. You should aim to produce a continuous mix of industry-relevant content pieces from blogs to more in-depth, gateable whitepapers, as well as videos, podcasts, and webinars, to ensure you have plenty of bait for attracting new prospects.
2. Give Away Content for Free
Gating everything would mean missing prospects at the top of the marketing funnel. Show your company's expertise and specialisms with free blogs, software, demos, and trials to catch the attention of potential future leads.
3. Use Content Syndication
Content syndication has many demand generation benefits, helping you widen your potential audience. Use a 3rd party demand generation company to cast out your net further than your social media sphere, and generate leads as well as demand.
4. Implement Lead Scoring
By scoring your prospects based on their behaviors and how likely they are to buy in the near future, you can judge whether they need more nurturing through the funnel, and what content to put in front of them.
B2B demand generation agencies can help you implement lead scoring, and offer services to directly support your lead scoring strategy, such as ABM lead generation, or Intent Data campaign enhancements.
5. Try Demand Generation ABM
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a highly targeted marketing strategy, where you first identify your ideal leads, then market to them using personalized content and messaging. An ABM demand generation campaign can help attract your ideal leads more organically to your business.
6. Use 'Surround Sound' Advertising
Display advertising works really well for demand generation, especially combined with content syndication. Programmatic ads that your readers see when they're already becoming aware of your brand through content will make them more likely to remember you.
Demand Generation Case Study
Rob is the Marketing Manager of a well-known brand within the electronics sector.
He's been reading up about demand generation, and realized a lot of his activities already follow demand generation best practices: he's built a social media following by sharing educational content, publishing a weekly blog on developments in the electronics space, honed his SEO and arranged for his CEO to speak on external webinars.
However, social media growth has slowed so he decides to try content syndication, as a form of demand generation that can target a bigger audience and also create a solid pool of new leads.
He chooses a B2B demand generation agency based on their long experience in the electronics market (such as Headley Media, shameless plug), and their user-friendly content hub. Rob feeds them four different pieces of content to publish, including a webinar recording, an eBook, a research report, and a relevant template.
Rob's demand generation campaign with Headley Media is also enhanced using Account-Based Marketing (ABM) content syndication and intent data targeting, delivering 400 high-quality leads at a fixed cost-per-lead (CPL).
As well as the 400 leads Rob receives, thousands more relevant potential prospects have also been served Rob's content, through Headley Media's content syndication campaign.
Therefore, Rob's campaign has not only contributed to his outbound lead generation strategy but his demand generation activity too. How? By building brand awareness with dozens of relevant contacts, even if they're not quite ready to buy from Rob's company yet.
How to Choose a Demand Generation Agency
Any B2B demand generation agency or lead generation supplier you choose to work with should be able to answer every question in our Quality Lead Generation Checklist.
In particular, you'll want to check:
- Can the demand agency offer you a solid ROI, for example, leads generated on a CPL basis?
- Does the demand generation company generate leads and demand via its own websites, such as Headley Media's portfolio of brands?
- Can the demand generation consultant you choose to work with show you the reader journey for your prospects?
- Can the agency target the precise audience you want to reach?
- Is it a demand generation specialist with industry knowledge, market insights, and local expertise for the countries you're targeting?
- Does the demand generation B2B agency comply with all data protection laws?