B2B marketing has radically transformed in recent years.
Today, where information is easily accessible, potential buyers have unprecedented access to product knowledge through a quick online search. This shift has transformed how marketing works. Instead of marketers guiding customers, the latter now navigate the market themselves.
When a potential customer reaches out to you directly, they have already participated in community discussions, sought advice from their peers about your products or services, and considered various alternatives, including your competitors.
So, the question is – how can you effectively market in this changed environment?
The answer lies in moving away from generating leads and embracing demand generation. This means shifting your mindset and focusing on creating demand for your offerings.
So, what exactly is B2B demand generation? And how can you leverage it for your benefit?
What is B2B Demand Generation?
Demand generation is more than just a marketing tactic. It’s a comprehensive approach that focuses on building relationships with potential buyers over time, nurturing them until they’re ready to make a purchase.
This strategy goes beyond the immediate sale and emphasizes customer retention and loyalty. It’s not about pushing a product or service; it’s about offering an experience, a story, or a solution to a problem. The strategy uses content marketing to educate and inform potential buyers, helping them identify needs or problems they may not even be aware of.
This content can be in the form of webinars, whitepapers, ebooks, blog posts, or social media updates – all tailored to meet the needs and interests of your specific target audience.
The Transition From Lead Gen to Demand Gen
In the past, marketing was mainly about finding customers for your products. It was a numbers game, aiming to reach as many prospects as possible and hoping that some would turn into customers. However, this approach was somewhat inefficient as not all leads convert, and not all customers have the same value.
Marketing success in today’s B2B landscape relies heavily on understanding and fulfilling the unique needs of businesses. The new approach to marketing shifts the focus to B2B demand generation. This means putting the customer at the center of your marketing efforts. It’s about truly understanding your customer’s needs and providing solutions to meet those needs.
This customer-centric approach helps businesses build stronger customer relationships, resulting in higher customer retention and loyalty. It also leads to better product development based on customer feedback and needs.
What is the Difference Between Lead Gen and Demand Gen?
|Aspects||Lead Generation||Demand Generation|
|Primary Focus||Identifying potential leads and collecting contact information.||Creating awareness and interest in products or services within the target audience.|
|Approach||Narrow and transactional.||Broad and relationship-focused.|
|Customer-Centric Focus||Less emphasis on understanding customer needs.||Emphasizes understanding customer pain points and preferences.|
|Content Strategy||Often relies on short-term tactics like email marketing and PPC advertising.||It involves a comprehensive content strategy, including educational content, thought leadership, and valuable resources.|
|Building Trust||It may come across as aggressive or pushy, focusing on quick conversions.||Places a higher value on building trust and credibility with the audience.|
|Personalization||Limited to no personalization.||Utilizes personalization techniques to tailor messages and content to individual client needs.|
|Transaction vs. Relationship||This may result in one-time transactions.||Focuses on fostering a long-term relationship with customers.|
What Are the Steps to Build a Demand Generation Strategy?
Building a B2B demand generation strategy is similar to a lead generation strategy. Just follow these six steps.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
A deep understanding of your audience is the foundation of any successful demand-generation strategy. This requires conducting comprehensive market research to ascertain your prospective customers’ demographic details, behavioral patterns, preferences, and pain points. This knowledge aids in more targeted and efficient marketing efforts.
Step 2: Define Clear Goals
The next step is delineating clear and achievable objectives for your demand generation strategy. These could encompass a broad spectrum, from enhancing brand visibility and increasing sales volume to improving customer retention rates. Establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals that align with your overall business objectives is crucial.
Step 3: Create Engaging Content
Content reigns supreme in today’s digital age. Develop high-quality, relevant, captivating content that resonates with your target audience. This could span various formats, including blogs, white papers, eBooks, videos, webinars, and more. The primary aim of your content should be to educate your audience, address their concerns, and proffer solutions to their problems.
Step 4: Leverage Multiple Channels
Harness the potential of multiple marketing channels to reach out to your audience. Use strategies like email marketing, social media, SEO, PPC, and trade shows to disseminate your message effectively. The key here is to feature prominently where your audience frequents.
Step 5: Implement Lead Nurturing
Recognize that not every prospect will be ready to make a purchase immediately. Implement effective lead nurturing strategies to ensure your brand remains front and center in their minds while gradually guiding them through the sales funnel.
Step 6: Measure and Optimize
Lastly, regularly analyze your demand generation strategies. Employ analytics tools to measure key performance indicators (KPIs), track return on investment (ROI), and discern what’s working and what is not. Armed with this information, strategically optimize your efforts for enhanced results.
Unique Demand Generation Strategies to Overflow Your Sales Pipeline
While you can always use regular demand gen strategies like content marketing, e-mail marketing, etc, there are a few unique ways you can also implement to pull in new audiences.
Organic Social Media
Social media platforms are a powerful way to generate interest and demand. Creating content that matches what your audience likes and aligns with the platform’s algorithm is important to make the most of these platforms. When planning your strategy, focus on making your content easy to consume within the platform. This way, users don’t have to leave their feeds to see your content.
This approach helps you reach potential customers early on when they are just getting familiar with your brand and identifying their problems. It’s a great way to take your brand to the right people.
Paid Social Media
Using paid social media allows you to distribute targeted content to specific audiences, regardless of whether they follow your account. It also helps you serve ads to users based on their interactions with your campaigns, visits to your site, or certain behaviors, constantly reminding them of your brand and encouraging them to engage with your brand, products, or services again.
Hosting live events is a powerful way to generate interest by building a community and conveying your message. The key to a successful live event is to provide educational content instead of just showcasing products. Rather than collecting customer information, your goal should be to attract customers, strengthen customer loyalty, and increase brand recognition.
As people consume content differently, it’s important to customize your strategy for attracting potential customers based on their preferred channels. Podcasts have become increasingly popular, and it’s estimated that there will be about 504.9 million global podcast listeners by the end of 2024. Unlike other methods, podcasting focuses on engaging your audience directly through your content rather than directly trying to generate leads.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM is mostly relevant in demand generation only within specific contexts. You can achieve favorable results by concentrating on a defined set of target accounts and customizing your demand generation strategy to cater to the specific buying groups within these accounts.
This approach is especially effective because ABM is a strategic marketing approach where marketing and sales teams work together to create personalized experiences for a select group of high-value accounts or customers instead of a more general market approach.
The transition from lead gen to demand gen approach can help you attract top-notch leads and foster stronger connections with your intended audience.
You can establish your influence in your niche – increasing followers, conversions, and ultimately your profits by adopting a comprehensive strategy centered around delivering immense value to your ideal customer.
Ready to get started? The Smarketers is here to help!
At The Smarketers, our skilled team is dedicated to assisting your business to excel in B2B marketing. We specialize in working with B2B companies across various industries, leveraging focused and creative approaches such as account-based marketing and inbound marketing to attract and convert exceptional leads.
Contact us today and learn more about our services.