While a digital marketing strategy may take different roads to nurture their campaign, some of them may be leveraging one with the wrong steps approaching demand generation. Here are some examples:
1. You’re still mistaking demand generation with lead generation
They’re both trying to gain traction and adhesion. While lead generation sticks to its name and ends with a sales qualified lead (and, eventually, a customer), demand generation follows up before and after a lead generation strategy is put in motion.
It works after sales with referrals and promoting customers, and generates traction beyond a particular qualified lead, with noncustomers who will beget them by giving your brand and website more visibility, enhancing your reputation and opening you up to new markets.
2. You’re mistaking a digital marketing strategy with tactics
A company needs to push harder for specific products, services or seasons, but they must add up and follow a smart demand generation strategy.
The outcome of one particular action or tactic during the year may not be visible on its own. Sometimes, building a (leadless and customerless) hype and getting online traction in a quarter will get you started on building trust for leads becoming aware of your solutions for the following quarter’s campaign.
3. You haven’t defined clear and shared KPIs
Silicon Valley Expert Linda J. Popky wrote in the Harvard Business Review that, with the incoming trend of the Internet of Things (IoT), we'd collect and transmit unprecedented amounts of data. At the same time, marketers will have a problem as they can “end up down a rabbit hole of fruitless information.”
Demand generation involves a diverse team, which may follow a different set of rules and metrics to measure performance, but at some point, must seek the same goals and focus on the most important ones.
“Now, more than ever, marketers need to be measuring the right things,” Popky said. “However, too many executives rely on metrics that look good in a report, but don’t affect the organization’s goals.”
Metrics should be easy to understand, replicated and actionable.
4. You rely on hard data and overlook the customer’s experience
When working on Inbound Marketing, demand generation requires constructing specific buyer persona profiles. Marketing departments tend to rely on demographic reports, sales projections, and market research, but often fail to be in touch directly with the customer. After all, that’s a job for sales.
While demographics are essential to constructing a buyer persona, getting to know customer motivations, pain points and -especially, how they express themselves- is essential to figuring out what are they looking for online.
- Why is that?
- What is going inside their head or, better yet, their customers'?
The most trusted source of information is referrals. But how do we leverage the power of third-party referees? Demand generation requires filling those gaps and connecting the dots.
5. Sales and marketing reps lack consistency
If lead generation is about finding the right prospects, and demand generation goes past leads and into delighting customers, sales and marketing teams need to find common ground with a similar playbook and set of definitions to a qualified lead, crafting a pitch or a message.
As community managers, we can figure out which Twitter message was drafted by a marketing or a sales rep, just because they lack consistency.
If your brand was a flesh-and-blood person, we might say he/she has a personality disorder. That problem is conveyed to your image and eventually your reputation.
6. You have a standard approach to content
Your brand must have a consistent language; at the same time, it pitches content tailored to different interests.
People ask us why are we writing about the exact same issue over and over. It’s simple: it’s not targeted at the same buyer persona, or we’re addressing the matter at an earlier or later stage of their conversion funnel.
The depth is completely different because the goal of the piece is not the same.
A DemandGen report has shown that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on buyers’ purchase decision, while 68% have increased the amount of content used to research and evaluate their purchase.
7. Marketing automation runs your strategy rather than help it
A key demand generation tool is marketing automation. It helps people improve their jobs considerably, aligning and streamlining a series of tasks of an online marketing strategy.
But it doesn’t manage your strategy. It’s like saying that a spell check on a text processor will make you a better writer, or that an automated online translator will make you multilingual.
Demand generation follows a series of steps where the marketer needs to make key decisions on how to proceed or what to follow.
- Who do we send a follow-up email, or who doesn’t receive one?
- In what conditions should I send a lead to sales?
- What social media channels do I use to promote my content, and when do I get to do it?
- At which point do I need to get on the software and make course corrections?
8. You use all social channels you can get
With social media, you need to find the channels that suit your audience. I like to check my email every morning at the office on my laptop computer (preferably with a fresh cup of coffee), but some of my prospects don’t: they check them on their smartphones at a time they may be commuting on the train or bus.
I don’t use Instagram. On the other hand, I encouraged one of my students to use it as part of his community management strategy. Of course: he was a photographer!
9. You’re overlooking your current customers
This is one of the issues that best describes the difference between demand generation and a lead generation.
Lead generation focuses on finding new prospects to nurture into customers. But it doesn’t end closing a sale and strives to keep and delight customers and turning them into evangelizers.
It is cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones. Harvard Business Review’s Amy Gallo used HubSpot as an example of how to use marketing automation not only to understand churn rates – the number of people who left you- but predicting the next one.
“When the economy crashed in 2008 and the company’s churn rate shot up, HubSpot delved deep into its churn data to see what it could find out about which customers were more likely to leave and when. Using that analysis, the firm targeted customers they suspected might cancel and offered services, like extra training on features, to convince them to stay."
Do you still have questions regarding demand generation? Let me know.