Busting demand generation myths for 2024

  • Share via LinkedIn
  • Share via email

Few roles have transformed as quickly as those of B2B marketing teams. Spare a thought for the creative and analytical types who continue to have their budgets stretched and their ideas challenged. Then we have divisive tools like AI thrown into the mix, putting pressure on to deliver more with less.

Of course, a forward-thinking team understands that these trends never stay still, and neither do customers. We have forgone the traditional sales funnel and welcomed a ‘Spaghetti Junction’ approach wherein no two customer journeys are the same. So where does that leave us?

As evidenced by our own work with clients in B2B tech and telco, demand generation takes centre stage. Often confused with lead generation, demand generation starts far earlier in the sales process, looking to educate prospects with trusted marketing tactics. It’s also a magnet for misconceptions and falsehoods. From the buyer’s journey to budgeting, here are the biggest demand generation myths to debunk once and for all.

Myth #1: Organic social isn’t worth the effort in 2024

Despite platforms like Facebook claiming they prioritise ‘meaningful interactions’, it’s easy to become despondent when we see just how many ads clog up our feeds. The proof is in the pudding, too. According to Hootsuite, the 2023 engagement rate of an organic Facebook post has dropped from 2.58% to 1.52%.

Metrics like click-through rates and return on ad spends might tempt digital marketing teams, but a hybrid strategy is best. The challenge for B2B is differentiating content across various marketing channels. To avoid putting off potential customers, we need to stop cookie-cutting and lean on a mixed approach:

Customise your content marketing for each platform

What works on TikTok may not always work on LinkedIn! This doesn’t necessarily mean creating new content for every channel from scratch, but repurposing it based on each social network’s algorithms.

For example, Instagram can target new customers by showing them content they typically interact with as individuals. LinkedIn, meanwhile, studies how relevant your content is, drawing on engagement with multiple users.

Lean into humour and entertainment

There’s no reason why B2B lead generation should be boring. MailChimp famously poked fun at the mispronunciation of its name in 2017, creating fake promotional websites and videos. Any B2B lead will face frustration and pain points, so if your content can alleviate these with good humour, it will strike a chord.

Make events work harder for you

Repurposing rears its head again. If your marketing efforts are heavily events-focused, then make the most of this by repurposing content for social. A sign-up landing page can easily translate into a social media post, while you can turn human interactions into quality leads through remarketing.

Myth #2: Demand gen vs lead gen: we should approach them separately

When we think about lead gen vs demand gen, we tend to keep them separate because they have disparate goals. Lead generation is a direct response strategy that goes for short-term lead conversion, perhaps using automation to speed up the buying process.

Demand generation marketers look at a broader, brand-building approach – measuring things like brand awareness rather than black-and-white ROI. But while one is faster and the other nurtures, the two don’t need to work separately. After all, they both lead to customer acquisition.

Why should we pair B2B demand generation with lead generation?

As content channels increase, buyers spend more time making decisions, from testing product demos to reading case studies. More challenging are the channels that are difficult to measure, like events or dark social. (HubSpot notes that Instagram only shares accurate attribution data 30% of the time!)

This is why we can’t focus on high-speed lead generation alone. We need to invest in brand-building, using a consistent narrative across all channels to build trust. Consider, for example, a podcast or webinar. These build brand awareness and can incorporate a call to action, like a newsletter sign-up form. This helpful asset incentivises users to share their contact information.

How can marketing leaders make the best of both?

Investing in brand recognition can keep customer acquisition costs low. Buyers continue to go with brands they trust – particularly as ongoing economic issues polarise opinion. We need to consider how brand-building affects every stage of the funnel, for example, from attendance at events to follow-up email marketing.

This means our teams also need to collaborate, scheduling regular meetings between marketing and sales to align their efforts. Likewise, it relies on accurate, integrated reporting – attributing demand generation efforts to overall business growth. Key metrics to consider are pipeline growth, velocity and conversion rates. A strong CRM and regular training sessions will assist with this.

Myth #3: A demand gen-led marketing strategy is too expensive

The longer-term nature of demand generation makes marketers think it’s complex and costly. For example, a quick-return paid ad campaign probably sounds more appealing than months of SEO retainers.

But like any marketing, or indeed, life goal, it takes time and consistency. Generating demand is not a set-and-forget task: long-term efforts can complement each other, like paid and organic search engine marketing. Companies of all sizes can get started with brand-building if they follow these three rules:

Rule 1: Know who you’re going after

How do you define a target audience? Look at the company and the individuals within it. The firmographic data, such as business size, industry, revenue and location, can give you an idea of who’s in it and what the company’s values are. Then looking at the individuals, it’s key to understand who the decision-makers are and what their role is, for example, Head of Marketing.

Rule 2: Know your message

If you can’t understand your brand, there’s little chance your audience will. The whole team needs to have buy-in on your messaging, and this goes beyond logos and colour palettes. What makes your brand unique, and how can you make this association in people’s minds? Fedex is a great example, offering complete assurance in 24 hours, from its slogans to its arrow logo design.

Rule 3: Know where your audience is

There’s no need to be on every channel. In fact, do this at your peril – spreading yourself too thin can diminish your outreach efforts, particularly if you repeat stale content. Instead, look at your existing data or take inspiration from your competitors. Do people engage with your brand at trade shows? Does your competitor have a significant LinkedIn following? The best messaging in the world will only land if it’s in the right place.

Myth #4: Marketing campaigns should only focus on top-of-the-funnel tactics

A common misconception is that demand generation tactics are solely for building awareness. The best strategies focus on the entire funnel, based on the principles above of understanding your audience. In practice, this might look like nurturing a prospect who has got in touch through quick lead generation tactics. Consider an email follow-up after somebody has downloaded a report, for example.

This helps to shape the perception of the brand. It demonstrates that you’re customer-focused, following up on their interest with personalised outreach. Likewise, it presents initiative and speed – showing your prospective customer that you can solve their problems quickly.

Thinking further along the funnel, this helps to foster loyalty. There are endless statistics on how much cheaper it is to retain a customer than it is to acquire one, so we need to continue building value. This may lead to word-of-mouth referrals, thereby retaining and acquiring customers. We return to this notion of trust – it’s not only about gaining their trust at the beginning, but keeping it.

Myth #5: Demand generation campaigns only work for new products, services or markets

This is similar to Myth #4 – like customer interactions, products don’t always need to be shiny and new! Demand generation best practices apply to all products, services and markets, regardless of age. The confusion lies in thinking we only need to educate people about products they’ve not seen before.

In reality, it relies on the industry and target audience. We can’t assume that people know what we’re talking about, so we need to continue nurturing those leads, regardless of the service or product. This can also help to reinvigorate older offerings. Comeback campaigns are fun, light-hearted ways of re-engaging dormant customers. At onebite, we think of these as three separate categories:

  1. Launching a new product or service, or taking an existing offering into a new market/region.

  2. Refining the brand to reposition it for these changes and reawaken your audience.

  3. Amplifying brand awareness with targeted campaigns to maximise conversions.

Of course, your goals might fit into one or more of these. The guiding principles are the same: to ensure your brand aligns and is consistent across all channels. This helps to build your brand and familiarise customers, ideal for those who want to buy in the future.


As budgets lessen and demands grow larger, marketers are leaning on long-term demand generation, focusing on nurturing the customer. This has led to unease in many companies, who may view these drawn-out strategies as complex and expensive. In turn, we see the same marketing myths thrown around with little evidence.

Demand generation should not replace lead generation, but complement it. Forward-thinking teams follow demand generation best practices, like varying their organic channels and mixing them with paid. Lead gen should follow on from demand gen – something as simple as a contact form to download a brand-building asset can make all the difference.

Despite changing algorithms and technologies, the principles of marketing stay the same. Customers need to trust a brand, and your educational content can help. This needs to be at every stage of the funnel, with the right customer in mind. If you know who you are and who your audience is, then the two will inform both your lead and demand gen strategies.

We’ve seen it time and again, from aspiring start-ups to global powerhouses. A strong demand generation strategy aligns your marketing and sales teams. It carries a consistent message across all channels. Better still, it works with quicker methods like paid ads to bring in qualified leads.

Brand will be front and centre for 2024 and beyond – so make sure you’re building yours.

For more information on demand or lead generation, get in touch today.

Contact us
  • Share via LinkedIn
  • Share via email

More insights