Demand generation is the process of creating an appetite for a set of services or a product. This is throughout the entire marketing funnel, not just at the top.
Generally, you want to create demand for your content first, then your brand, and eventually the product you are selling. Your audience must see the need for your category of products/services before they evaluate your offering. It’s the same way that nobody is going to eat your delicious, secret mashed potato recipe if they didn’t want potatoes in the first place.
You are making your company a priority in the mind of your customer by first creating an appetite for your category of products/services, then building that appetite in such a way to highlight the strengths of your offering and lead to the eventual sale.
It is much like inviting your loved ones over for a Thanksgiving meal.
First you see what your guests want to eat, then plan the menu to meet the desires of your guests. You feed your audience, offering a variety of dishes that sate their hunger for the moment and the establish a desire for more food later (leftovers).
Your goal at Thanksgiving is for everyone to leave satisfied and want to come back next year.
Invite the Right People
This is the initial stage. First, you need to decide how many people you want at your Thanksgiving feast. Then, you spread the word through appropriate channels. Just trying to reach your family? Send them an email or private (message?). Don’t care who shows up? Maybe spread the word on social media with an open invite to your Thanksgiving feast.
In demand generation, your top-of-funnel content is your invitation. People will register or download, therefore accepting the invitation. Others will click/open and read but don’t register. They are the maybes. People who do not engage at all are the no’s.
Plan the Menu
You know a bit about who is coming to your dinner. Next, you find out what each of your guests prefers. Maybe your gathering is largely carnivorous, so you plan a meal with not just turkey, but also ham. But maybe there are a couple of your friends that are vegetarians, you should make sure they have some meatless options as well.
Basically, cater your content to what you know about your audience. Knowing what your crowd needs or wants makes it easier to create demand.
Have Others Bring Dishes
Maybe you aren’t comfortable cooking ToFurkey or you hate Brussel sprouts. Let someone else into the kitchen and have them help you create content for you. This will create more variety in what is made for your Thanksgiving feast.
Partnering with others is a critical component to demand generation. Feature guest posts on your blog, especially in areas you might not know a lot about. Or cross-promote your brands on the channels of your partners. Collaborate with thought leaders to put on an industry-relevant webinar.
Remember to make sure the meal isn’t all on you. Let others lend you a helping hand.
Feed Your Guests:
Turkey and Mashed Potatoes
These are the foods with the most widespread appeal. These foods are the crowd-pleasers, the basics of what makes Thanksgiving.
In demand generation, this is content that appeals to everyone. These are the blog posts and the infographics. These are the staples, everyone does them, but not everyone does them well.
This is the content that everyone will sample, even if they won’t eat much else.
Make it appealing to anyone interested in the industry you work in and it will succeed.
Green Bean Casserole
This less popular dish might be a smashing hit in your family. Or no one will eat it. Knowing if a piece of content is one that your audience will consume is critical. Green bean casserole is hit or miss. Your audience will either eat it up or leave it. You need to know which for your content to work.
Green bean casserole is like video content. Some people love it; some people hate it. The nice thing about videos, like green bean casserole, is that they can pack a lot of nutrition (information) in a non-disgusting (not boring) package.
Cranberry Sauce and Brussels Sprouts
These dishes cater to a highly-specific audience who either love or hate these dishes. My preference, no cranberry sauce and lots of Brussels sprouts.
These highly-tailored piece of content will help you to differentiate. These are going to be your miscellaneous web tools, templates, flow-charts, etc. They don’t have wide appeal, but they are valuable to the right person.
It’s important to do your research to make sure that there is enough of a demand for these specialized dishes. If you don’t, they will remain untouched and you will have wasted your effort cooking them up for no reason.
Dessert is the course that tops off the rest. Still a little full from dinner? A delectable slice of pie means that your guests have a little room left after all.
The pie is content that sweetens the relationship. This is often the final push to ensure that the lead is satisfied. This can include case studies and testimonials.
Often, this type of content can make it easier for the lead to convert. It would be odd to start the meal with these dishes, though some do.
Want to end the meal on a high note? A good dessert can do just that.
After the Meal
After you’ve served your meal, you need to see how well each dish was received.
This is akin to gathering data after a campaign. Look at the pieces of content you used for demand generation and see how well it performed. How many people engaged with it and how many converted? Look at opens, views, likes, clicks, and shares.
Now determine your next menu based on what you learned from this one. After all, not learning from your previous hits ands misses is how many marketers go a-fowl.
Now that you know the components that make up both a successful Thanksgiving dinner and a successful demand generation campaign, you can execute both with ease. That means when you return from stuffing your face with actual turkey, you can be prepared to serve great content to an audience who will appreciate it.
Does your content feast have enough variety? What are you favorite dishes? Let us know in the comments section.