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Ultimate Guide to Demand Generation Part 2: Why brands are now choosing to focus on demand generation

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There’s a lot of talk in the online B2B marketing space right now around demand generation vs lead generation. While often referred to interchangeably, demand generation and lead generation are in fact two different practices.

In this article we’re going to take a look at why technology and telecoms brands are now choosing to focus more on generating demand, and why, if sustainable business growth is a priority for your organisation, you should be too.

Let’s zoom out for a moment and explore what these terms – lead generation and demand generation – actually mean and the role both should be playing in your marketing strategy.

What is lead generation?

What is demand generation?

Lead generation is the marketing activity that focuses on capturing potential clients’ contact details, i.e. email address. Once you have these details, you can then nurture them using your marketing content and through sales conversations to ultimately convert into clients.

Here’s an example of a lead generation process:

  • Create an eBook on a topic of interest to your ideal client, e.g. A Step-by-Step Guide: Switching from ISDN to VoIP.
  • The eBook sits behind a gated contact form so before they get access to the eBook, they first need to fill in a form with their contact details.
  • Once their contact details are captured, they then enter an email sequence and are displayed targeted ads to nurture them and convert into sales.

Now, let’s delve into demand generation – to do this we need to back up a few steps in the marketing process. Demand generation is where it all starts, it’s where you bring potential future clients into your audience.

The objective with demand generation is simple; familiarise the right people (i.e., your ideal customers) with your brand and the solution you offer. To do this you need to educate them; help them understand the struggles they’re experiencing and what solutions are out there. While also creating a buzz and getting them excited about what you have to offer.

Typical activities that generate demand include blogging, webinars, podcasts, videos, influencer marketing, PR, SEO.

So, the big question! Should you be focused more on generating demand? Or generating leads?

(Drumroll please!!)

The reality is you need to be doing both.

The end game is to convert people who are interested into clients, which is where lead generation plays its part.

But lead generation can only work effectively when you have a demand generation strategy to support it. After all, you can’t nurture qualified leads and convert them into clients, without first attracting them to your business (enter demand generation!).

How do demand generation and lead generation work together?

Think of your marketing simply as a way to support your customers on their buying journey. With you nurturing them along the way, offering different touch points from the very first time they enter your audience, through to becoming a paying customer.

Now picture your customers’ buying journey as a funnel. Your prospects enter the top of the funnel when they’re first exposed to your brand. As they work their way down the funnel, the message you serve them changes to support the stage of the journey they’re in. Eventually reach the bottom of the funnel, which is where your marketing is geared towards converting them into a client.

As they make their way down the stages of the funnel, they get to know, like and trust your brand more. So when they reach the bottom, you’re the obvious choice! (we dive deep into b2b marketing funnels in this other blog!)

The demand generation activities sit further up the top of the funnel stages to create awareness of your brand and education around the problem they’re experiencing. At this point they may not know what the solution is, just that they have a problem.

The lead generation activity sits at the bottom of the funnel. The content you typically see at the bottom of the funnel is content that builds credibility to warm them up to buy from you (testimonials, case studies), and content that showcases your products or services. These typically include a direct call to action, like ‘BUY NOW’, or encourage them to request a demo or book a sales call.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing on lead generation alone

Demand generation has been around as long as brands have. But due to marketing budgets often being squeezed and pressure to see an immediate ROI, there are still lots of businesses making the mistake of skipping demand generation activities in favour of focusing solely on lead generation.

If your goal is to create sustainable growth in your business and a consistent flow of qualified leads coming in, you need to be allocating budget for demand generation and making this a priority in your overall marketing strategy.

What happens when you nail your demand generation strategy?
At onebite, we’re seeing more brands choosing to focus on generating demand (great news for us, as this is absolutely our jam!) And the reasons for it are clear. Brands that focus on demand generation benefit from:

  • A predictable pipeline for your sales team
  • Sustainable, long term business growth
  • Building deeper trust and connection with your audience so you become the obvious choice when it comes to making the buying decision
  • Consistent audience growth – and if you want to be consistently growing your sales, being consistent with growing your audience is a must
  • Being seen as an industry expert – when you become known in your field, a go-to expert, it makes the job of marketing a whole lot easier as your reputation does a lot of the heavy lifting for you

Creating stand-out campaigns that generate demand and create consistent, sustainable growth for B2B technology and telecoms brands can be difficult to get right. This is where we can help.

Ready to get serious about generating more demand for your services? Get in touch to learn how we can help.

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