Demand generation marketing is going to be very popular in 2024.
Why? Because demand gen relies on a combination of great marketing practices, designed to bring buyers' research, intent signals and importantly, their real needs together.
When done right – using data to target your audience and the right content to act as bait – demand marketing is a highly effective B2B marketing method.
In this blog we'll cover:
What Is Demand Generation?
B2B demand generation is the art of drawing leads to your business organically, through the power of your brand.
It's a method of inbound marketing, where your future customers approach you on the strength of what they know about you. As opposed to outbound marketing, where you target leads through methods such as content syndication and B2B lead generation services.
Demand marketing is important because speaking to salespeople is no longer such a major part of the buyer's journey: only 5% of that journey is spent talking to a sales rep, according to Gartner, as buyers now prefer to do their own 'self-service' research.
For B2B demand generation marketing, think about it as information given freely to familiarize prospects with your brand and expertise. Typically that will be strategies focused on educating your audience - like blogs, 'tips and tricks' posts on social media, instructional videos, maybe even a glossary of terms on your website.
B2B demand generation strategies also rely on good SEO, great content, and intent data to be effective.
Why Is Intent Data Important for Demand Generation Marketing?
If you know who your potential customers are, and what they need, you can target them more effectively for B2B demand generation – and we don't only mean in an ideal customer profile (ICP) way.
Intent data is the 'digital breadcrumbs' buyers drop as they're doing their research. There's a huge breadth of data you can use, from 1st party data, such as hits on your website and social media engagement, to 3rd party data such as data generated by working with a 3rd party supplier, such as Headley Media.
A demand generation agency can help you use intent data to put your content in front of the people who are most likely to be looking for your type of product.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation
The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but there's more than one key different between lead generation and demand generation.
Demand Generation vs Lead Generation: The Differences
- Long-term strategy, designed to entice prospects for the future.
- More focused on brand-building rather than capturing a determined number of leads.
- Less transactional; content is usually ungated to ensure as many people as possible can read it without a barrier.
- Short-mid-term strategy: goal is to capture leads now for nurturing through the funnel.
- Focused specifically on – well, generating leads.
- Transactional; content is usually gated to capture business contact details in exchange for a valuable piece of content, such as an eBook or research report.
Demand Generation Strategies
An effective demand generation strategy typically combines a number of traditional B2B marketing methods. Here's a quick run-down of the most effective types of B2B demand generation strategy:
1. Content Syndication for Demand Generation
Though technically an outbound lead generation method, content syndication still counts towards your B2B demand generation strategy.
How we hear you ask?! Well, content syndication works by hosting your content on content syndication platforms you don't own. Your content (and your brand) is then promoted to new but relevant audiences.
In fact, when you run a content syndication campaign with a reputable supplier, not everyone who downloads your content will become a lead.
For example, they might opt-out to hear from you at this stage and therefore not qualify as a lead, however they'll still have your content and be familiar with your brand. With that example in mind, a lot more of your target audience will be exposed to your brand, helping you to create long-term demand.
As an example, Headley Media's long-established and trusted content libraries have millions of readers. To become leads, our readers are required to tick a box consenting to hear from our clients directly. So, for every lead generated, there are several more prospects who read the content but didn't become a lead, meaning the content has served as demand generation and drawn them into, or nurtured them through, the marketing funnel.
2. Social Media
Social media is great for demand generation B2B marketing. Not only is social media far less intrusive than email communications, you can have fun with it, and you get decent analytics on your engagement.
It's reassuring for prospects to see that you have a healthy, regularly-updated social media presence, and they can use it for finding recent or relevant information from you.
3. SEO & blogs
Google visibility (other search engines are available) is still one of the best ways of getting your brand and content seen online. As a demand generation marketer, you should update content regularly, use a keyword research tool to find the most relevant search terms, and include backlinks to optimize your searchability.
Blogging (among other forms of content marketing) is almost essential in B2B demand generation tactics. Giving away 'free' ungated – but helpful – content ensures prospects spend time on your website and social media sites, and will start to regard you as a valuable source of information or thought leadership.
Is your company listed on Capterra, G2 or other review sites? As with all areas of online retail, B2B technology buyers rely heavily on peer reviews – don't overlook these as a demand generation opportunity. Reviews on your website also help!
5. Trade events
Another slightly old-fashioned one, but in-person business events still have enormous power. People love meeting people, after all.
Here's a nice example of lead generation vs demand generation. Having a stand at a trade show can generate leads. Speaking at a trade show as a panel guest or thought leader generates demand.
6. Email marketing
Email marketing for demand generation programs is largely about nurturing existing prospects. It's a great tool for sending relevant content or invitations to events. The key to good demand generation marketing emails is personalization: the more direct and relevant to the individual it is, the more effective it's likely to be.
Demand Generation Best Practices
To explore demand generation best practices, let's look at how you can use your gated content for demand generation.
Alex is a marketing manager for a medium-sized SaaS company.
She and her small team produce four whitepapers a year. Their primary purpose is to support their target audiences with in-depth industry information. Their second purpose is lead generation. However, Alex has a 12-week strategy for each whitepaper to ensure they can be used for demand generation campaigns too.
Week 1: Whitepaper is published and shared, gated, via social media, email, and press releases.
Week 2: Whitepaper is advertised on social media and sometimes in news journals.
Week 3: Key topic 1 in whitepaper is turned into a blog, shared ungated, with a link to the gated original.
Week 4: Whitepaper is shared via content syndication, attracting readers who do not become leads as well as those who do.
Week 5: Display advertising is targeted at audiences likely to have seen the whitepaper to boost brand recognition.
Week 7: Key topic 2 in whitepaper is turned into a blog and shared etc.
Week 8: Key topic 3 in whitepaper is turned into a blog.
Week 9: Leads captured via content syndication nurtured with a previous, relevant whitepaper via email.
Result: Boosted brand awareness, measurable through additional hits on website, more social media engagement – as well as a list of leads from content syndication.
Working With a Demand Generation Company
It's a very good idea to work with a B2B demand generation agency. Collating and making sense of marketing data, choosing the right channels and honing your content and SEO are all very time consuming, often beyond the scope of a small marketing team.
But it pays to choose your demand generation company carefully: naturally, the rising popularity of demand generation has seen businesses calling themselves demand generation companies pop up everywhere.
A real B2B demand generation strategy specialist will know exactly how to market to the audiences you need to reach.
They’ll be able to show you exactly how your demand generation campaign will work, from the prospects’ perspective.
Read more about how to find a trustworthy demand generation agency in our handy guide - or just contact us today!