When it comes to marketing and growing your startup or challenger brand, you don’t just want your business to tread water and barely survive, right? You want customer traction growth, more household-name popularity, and more funding/investments as you progress.
There’s a term for this challenge when it comes to which tactics are required in marketing your business: demand generation (which stems from the widely known economic term “supply and demand”).
Simply put, it refers to creating demand for what your business has to offer the marketplace.
Let’s look at everything there is to know about demand generation, including demand gen strategies.
What is Demand Gen?
Demand generation is a pretty clear-cut marketing term. It means generating demand for a company’s products and services.
Demand generation involves utilizing strategies, programs and tactics meant to boost leads, and eventually sales, from prospective and current customers (many of which may not even be familiar with the idea your new startup or business exists).
These strategies — critical to marketing and sales teams worldwide, but also to startup founders and CEOs with smaller teams — must spark awareness and interest for your brand, creating reliable, high-quality leads and clients. Assuming you have completed all of the steps involved with brand development, including brand/product naming, product packaging, tagline development, user experience design + website creation, and foundational aspects of startup marketing, you are ready to progress with a solid demand gen strategy.
Table of Contents:
- Demand Generation Vs. Lead Generation
- What Does Demand Gen Strategy Include?
- Demand Generation Strategy: The Basics
- Are You in Need of a Successful Demand Generation Strategy?
Demand Generation Vs. Lead Generation
Demand generation marketing and lead generation marketing are two critical ways to secure prospective customers. Understanding the difference between the two is a vital part of understanding digital marketing as a whole.
By now, you have a pretty decent idea of what demand generation is – the process of generating demand for your products and services. However, it is important to note the differences between demand generation and lead generation, and why they matter.
Demand generation should focus on people who have a problem and are searching for a solution, with your product or service being that solution. Your goal as a marketer, CEO, or startup founder is to strive to get their attention and establish brand awareness with a holistic marketing and advertising strategy in play. The goal with demand generation specifically is to garner new leads (people who show interest in your brand or startup’s offering).
In marketing-speak, high-quality leads mean the prospective buyer is well-versed enough in your product/service and close to making a purchase, or at a minimum, “qualified” to make a commitment at some point in the future. The higher the quality of the lead, the more likely you will make a sale (eventually). And the more qualified that lead is, the sooner they may make that decision to commit to your business.
Your demand generation efforts should kickstart the following actions and reactions in the potential buyer:
- Awareness: The potential buyer is aware of your brand, products and services.
- Consideration: The potential buyer has enough information about your brand to consider a purchase.
- Intent: The potential buyer intends on buying your products and services.
Another way we like to say it here at HypeLife Brands: Taking a person from curious to interested to wanting.
Lead generation means working in your target audiences (aka “unique buying tribes”) you’ve already established through a solid marketing strategy, brand audience research groundwork, and building what is known as “customer lifetime value.” It involves acquiring contact information like email addresses, phone numbers, names, physical addresses, etc in order to reach them where they are (not where you might think they are…as not everyone is on TikTok, or Facebook).
Generally, lead generation includes compiling an email list of people who have proven that they are a part of one of your targeted persona groups (driven by marketing and advertising in many different channels that are relevant to your audiences).
After establishing the email list, your marketing efforts can begin towards maintaining a steady communication stream with them, and eventually opening a two-way conversation. This may include:
- Directing them to your sales and marketing teams in different ways.
- Establishing a bond with your unique buying tribes via marketing newsletters, etc.
- Directing them to information about new products and services you’re offering.
- Running ads towards additional touches and getting them into your lead or marketing funnel.
- Creating an incentive to invest in your brand and purchase your offering, such as a monthly giveaway email.
- Using social media advertising to build your email list.
When prospective customers see your social media posts, emails and ads containing information on your brand, it may appeal to them and drive an action (following your startup or business, responding to an email, etc), giving you a new potential customer (yes!).
What Does Demand Gen Strategy Include?
Here’s a scenario: you’ve got this amazing startup and/or brand, and you’re about to secure the funding you need to get the ball rolling. However, what’s the use if no one knows your product exists? (Hint: Your potential investors will be asking you how your customer traction looks today, and what the average cost of customer acquisition is…something we track vigilantly and daily for our clients).
The best demand gen strategies transform your vision into something popular for potential customers, creating demand. After securing funding, early-stage companies and startups often need a 360-degree approach to gaining public interest.
You need to establish several ways to achieve demand generation and, later, understand your demand generation metrics to enable further optimization (which can help lower your customer acquisition costs).
Demand Generation Strategy: The Basics
There are four components to demand generation: brand awareness, inbound marketing, sales enablement, and customer retention.
If you don’t know who you are, how could potential buyers possibly know who you are? You should immerse yourself in your brand as much as possible to achieve demand generation.
- Establishing a brand identity is a major component of brand development. Many people make the mistake of thinking a brand identity is simply a logo or image. However, it should instill an intangible, yet positive, feeling in potential buyers.
- Understanding who your buyers are is another critical component to brand awareness, demand generation strategy, and effective lead nurturing. To accomplish this effectively, much up-front planning is required. Ask yourself: what type of person needs our products/services? Where do they hang out (online or otherwise)? What are their needs, wants and desires? “Prospective customers” doesn’t just mean everyone who hasn’t purchased your product/service yet. While potential customers may include everyone in an ideal world, it’s important to understand and establish a niched audience to focus on so that your lead generation efforts are actually fruitful. Not knowing your defined niches can make your customer acquisition costs unsustainable, and for startups, kill your startup before you start marketing. And no qualified leads can be awfully frustrating for your sales team, if your organization is large enough or capitalized enough to have one.
- Building a social media presence is an excellent way of gaining access to your potential buyers and brand advocates but definitely not the only channel you want to focus on. For instance, your Instagram followers, LinkedIn followers, and so on will give you valuable insight into who is interested in what you have to offer. Social media is also one of the most important demand generation strategies since this type of marketing continues to dominate the world of advertising and brand awareness (but again, we must stress: not the only, and for some startups and businesses, not the primary either…contrary to popular belief). If you maintain a consistent social media presence, you can capture new demand and multiply existing demand in this “sticky” marketing channel.
Demand generation should also include consistent inbound marketing, a technique for producing valuable content. It differentiates from outbound marketing, which could interrupt your target audience with information they may not need.
Interesting, appealing content keeps customers focused on your product and ensures your brand stays in their thoughts when they have a problem that your brand can solve.
Inbound marketing strategies that drive sales and reinforce demand generation usually include:
- Blog articles: Many people think blog articles are a thing of the past, but most people don’t realize how many web-based articles are blog posts from reputable, well-known brands. Blog articles engage and inform your target audience, consistently giving them new reasons to invest in you, helping to generate more demand.
- SEO Marketing: Think about the last time you needed a certain product or service —- did you google it? Many people would certainly say yes, and that’s why search engine optimization plays a huge role in your demand generation strategy. SEO involves discovering and implementing specific keywords into your content marketing so that your business ranks on Google. Your SEO strategy should generate traffic to your website and social media pages.
- Downloadable content: If there is a way to show people how to use your product or service, you should produce this type of content. This can include guides, how-to documents, infographics or product guides. One of the best content marketing strategies, ensuring you have some downloadable content, gives your customers information they can store in their digital media libraries. The key is to make sure your downloadable content is valuable.
- Newsletters: Demand generation should also include keeping in close contact with all former clients. A monthly or quarterly newsletter keeps people informed on what’s new with your business, reminding them that you exist. Who knows when they will need your brand again?
- Podcasts: Podcasts are all the rage. They’re also one of the best digital marketing strategies you can take advantage of. Striking a deal with a well-known podcaster can give your brand some attention in a new space (audio…also great for SEO as speech recognition continues to be utilized more by Google for cataloging podcasts in search results). This content strategy technique lets people discuss your brand in a down-to-earth, conversational way, making potential customers feel like it may be the product for them.
Inbound Marketing: Lead Nurturing
Nurturing leads essentially means creating a genuine relationship with potential customers. This relationship should grow as customers participate in marketing and communications messaging on their journey. The goal is to nurture prospects, creating company growth.
Inbound Marketing: Lead Scoring
You should perform an intricate yet beneficial process called lead scoring as a part of your demand gen strategy. Unsurprisingly, the goal is to assign scores to your leads. The scores determine which leads are ready to send directly to your sales team and which leads still need nurturing.
There are two types of lead scoring: explicit and implicit. You can determine an implicit lead score (sometimes called a behavioral score) based on the information you gather yourself. It’s essentially a measure of how a prospective client interacts with your brand by means of visiting your website, clicking links, filling out a form, joining an email list, and more.
You can base an explicit score on more direct information, like their name, occupation and location. You can generate an explicit score by observing information that potential customers include when they fill out contact forms, sign up for newsletters, etc.
Enabling sales means prepping your sales and marketing team before communicating with potential customers, and getting them running through your sales funnel. Sales enablement should include:
- Training: Sales reps need sufficient training before guiding customers through the buying process and establishing a sales cycle. They need to know everything about the products they’re selling. They also need to understand the company’s tone, goals and values. Furthermore, they should also be well-versed in customer pain points, referring to common problems your current and future customers face in the marketplace.
- Connection: You’ll need to ensure an easy way to transfer potential customers to the sales team, kickstarting the sales cycle.
- Testimonials: An excellent way to enable sales and, in turn, another great demand generation strategy is posting a page of testimonials. They spark trust in your product and can generate more high-quality leads.
- FAQs: A great internal, free tool is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for your company’s website. Answering these for your unique buying tribes up-front can speed up the sales cycle and buying process by answering questions about your product, giving the marketing team more time to focus on other sales initiatives (rather than answering the same question over and over). This page on your company or startup’s website should be a living, breathing document and added to constantly as these repeat questions appear.
More on Directing to the Sales and Marketing Team
Demand gen isn’t possible without excellent representation, and relevant audiences need to end up communicating with your marketing and sales team.
To ensure they steer in this direction, you should use the call to action (CTA) marketing strategy. A CTA uses terms and phrases that you can easily insert into sales scripts, web pages and advertising. In a nutshell, you want the audience to act specifically, meaning you want them to purchase your product or service.
When using a CTA, it’s crucial to lead into the direct action by reinforcing why they could benefit from your brand. Simple CTAs state things like “buy now!” or “call now!” However, your CTA shouldn’t just demand action without highlighting that your product will deliver. While the buyer’s journey should end with an act, they should feel confident with their decision instead of feeling too much pressure.
You don’t just want to offload potential clients onto your sales team without working closely with them and ensuring their end of things is running properly. They also need to be completely in tune with your brand and the leads it should attract. After all, your sales and marketing team will keep churning out consistent demand generation. It is their job to guide returning clients and new leads through the sales finalization process, so it’s important to make sure they’re a solid team.
The existing demand that already exists is just as important as demand generation.
New, high-quality leads are essential, but you should continue to appease the quality leads that are already your customers.
The best way to retain your existing customers is to simply appreciate them. You can do this with exclusive offers and giveaways. You can also utilize your blog to continuously show you care about them by producing helpful how-to articles.
Getting feedback from your customers is another good way to maintain and grow a healthy potential customer base. You can also use feedback to make necessary adjustments to your products and services, putting you in a better position to raise brand awareness and secure a new qualified lead.
Are You in Need of a Successful Demand Generation Strategy?
We’ve covered a lot of information here, and believe it or not, there is even more to learn about demand gen strategy.
Marketing agencies like ours here at HypeLife Brands do all of the hard work for you when it comes to building effective content marketing, sales funnels, and getting marketing programs + marketing automation in place, giving you more time to focus on making your business the best it can be. We believe in your brand, so let us help you ensure that other people do too.
Our services, which include getting your business or startup in a position for effective demand generation, include:
- Brand Development: Includes brand strategy development, digital strategy, messaging development, tagline development, founder coaching, product packaging, and more.
- Marketing: Includes SEO, influencer marketing, email marketing and establishing marketing automation, location-based marketing, and more.
- Advertising: Includes social media advertising, advertising campaign development, and more.
- Startup Funding Preparation and Support: Includes cash flow forecast analysis (how much revenue will you generate?), deep competitor analysis, executive summary design, and more.
Our company works hard to make hitting your goals and KPIs a reality no matter how old your business is. Our goal is to help you generate demand, create awareness (and yes, revenue!), and ensure you’re on track to long-term success.
With a specific focus and specialization on working with B2C lifestyle startups and challenger brands, we’re confident we’ll be able to guide you through the intricate process of demand generation.