Just this week I asked two people what they thought “Demand Generation” meant. One was a recent college graduate with a degree in Journalism; the other was a 40-year old electrical engineer working for Sandia National Laboratory. They both had the same answer!They speculated that “Demand Generation” involved asking something from people who spanned different age brackets.
It’s a reasonable guess, of course, but one that I found funny. Wikipedia does a good job of explaining components used in demand generation but I think more philosophically about demand generation.
Demand Generation is attracting people to your business who purchase your product/service. No doubt about that, however, to understand that definition you need to understand its parts:
- Attract People
- Get Them to Buy From You
Where people get in trouble is thinking that these two steps are one in the same. It’s important to understand that “demand” doesn’t always mean “about to purchase.” Here’s an example: a banner ad that says “Buy From Us Now”. The ad is trying to attract people and get them to convert into a paying customer right away. So what’s wrong with that?
Lots of people may be interested in your product or service but how many are ready to buy right now? For every product or service there is a “buying cycle” – stages that someone goes through before making a purchase. If you attract people by saying “buy now” you are only going to attract the few that are ready to purchase and not the bulk of people who are in earlier stages of the buying cycle.
Now I’m not saying “Buy From Us Now” is a poor ad, it just doesn’t represent the entire spectrum of demand generation. Successful demand generation strategies should attract people in all stages of your product or service’s buying cycle. Tactics for doing this include:
- Social Media
- Awareness Advertising
- Email Campaigns
- Paid Advertising
- Search Engine Optimization
When you use these tactics and use content that targets people at a specific buying cycle stage, you should net some interest. Once you have acquired a lead then it is the role of both “Demand Generation” and “Lead Management” to move the lead down your sales funnel until a purchase is made. Of course, that’s where Demand Generation can start all over again by trying to accelerate a customer’s journey through the buying cycle for another related product or service.
Lead Management and Demand Generation overlap when it comes to attracting potential buyers and getting them to buy. Here’s my post on lead management.