I DEMAND your product NOW! Demand Generation explained.

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There’s a lot of chatter these days about demand generation—and just to be clear— demand generation is not yet another cheeky way to describe millennials.

In marketing-speak, demand generation means to create a demand for a product that a customer didn’t know they needed, and then sell it to them.

An early example is the iPhone. None of us knew that we needed an expensive, app-filled mobile phone until Steve Jobs announced at the iPhone’s launch, “Today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products,” and then explained how the new widescreen iPod, there revolutionary mobile phone, and the new “internet communicator” were now all contained in one device. At that moment, Apple created a demand for a product (and a market) where none existed. And yes, our team is all die-hard iPhone users.

Steps in the demand generation process

Okay, so we can’t all be Steve Jobs. But smart companies today generate demand for their products and/or services through content marketing that creates leads and then, sales. Demand generation builds up the need throughout the sales process from the “I didn’t know this even existed stage” right through to “I want it NOW, stage. Where can I place my order?”

The process takes time and well-thought-out strategy to capture the interest of your audience and not just any audience. Typically, it goes like this:

1. The early stage in demand generation educates but doesn’t sell, and never bores the audience to death with too much heavy content. Typically, the most effective vehicles at this early stage are short blogs posts or articles that talk about trends, statistics, innovations —whatever grabs attention and gets the audience thinking about a challenge or a new idea that’s relevant to them.

2. As you start to attract your audience, the next step is to hold their attention. Here’s where you have to vary things, so they don’t tune out. Think of this as the “free stuff” stage, where you provide something of value like a free tool, free app or free resource, e.g. videos, ebooks, scorecards, reports, infographics, podcasts, webinar, etc.

Once again, the purpose of content marketing is to further educate and/or increase awareness of an opportunity that is going to help them achieve is some way: e.g. be more profitable, overcome a competitor, operate more efficiently.  

3. Now your audience is beginning to think that a solution like yours might be what they need. Demand has been created! As the customer begins to see how your product and/or service could work for them, they turn into qualified leads, which are passed along to a nurturing sales team. They also start seeing your solution promoted through Facebook ads, online sales, or some combination of online and offline marketing.

Sales then build the relationship directly, perhaps at a presentation or trade show, or an online chat. In an ideal world (and it does happen) they come to you!

Make it good and be patient

Demand generation is not an overnight exercise where you bombard your leads with product information. It’s a long-term relationship between your marketing and sales team and your prospective customers. It takes time, research, constant monitoring, as well as quality, well-thought-out content that your audience finds valuable. The mark of success when done well happens when it moves leads forward to the demand stage —music to any sales person’s ears! They are ready to buy!

No matter what your business goals are, they most likely include growth. A well put-together go-to-market plan is necessary at the start of any successful campaign to ensure that you hit your objectives. If you need help getting your demand generation process started Maguire Marketing Group may be able to help.