One of the biggest challenges today’s marketing teams face is creating demand for their company’s products. Increasingly, marketing teams are being measured by their contribution to revenue, not just how many MQLs they can deliver. Lead generation is an important part of an overall demand strategy, but it’s not sufficient on its own.
While the precise definition of demand generation is debated, I see it as the process of creating awareness and desire for products and services with a strong focus on developing pipeline and fueling sales. And with a good content partner who understands demand generation, you can accelerate your demand gen initiatives and get content that resonates with your target personas/segments and drives them to action.
Why demand gen vs. lead gen
However you define it, demand generation is about empowering marketing teams to increase revenue by creating a reliable pipeline of prospects at each stage in the buyer’s journey and nurturing them toward the point of purchase in the most effective way possible.
- Demand generation is more holistic than lead generation because it covers the entire buyer’s journey—from initial exposure to recurring purchase—and focuses on brand positioning to create and capture desire. It involves ungated content since the purpose is to educate, inspire, and move to action.
- Lead generation, on the other hand, focuses on collecting information from people who fill a form on a website and using that information to qualify them and send them related content. But prospects aren’t usually willing to give up their contact information before trust is built because they’ve been hounded in the past by bad marketing after requesting gated content. So they either don’t fill the form at all or enter a throwaway email address and fake phone number.
Demand generation includes that crucial trust-building step, providing plenty of highly resonant content before requesting contact information. At some point, prospects will want to receive emails from you and be nurtured in a directed way. The key is to create enough desire and build enough trust that a prospect wants this level of interaction with your brand.
How a content partner can accelerate your demand gen strategies
A good content partner who understands demand generation can help you hone your demand gen strategies and create content strategically designed to achieve your goals. Let’s look at three specific ways an experienced content partner can support your team’s demand gen initiatives.
1. Build the brand
Brand-building is too often underrated in the B2B world simply because it’s hard to measure. But would Nike be so successful after 57 years if they only focused on their product’s features? Would Salesforce be worth $230 billion today if it hadn’t invested in brand recognition and its “No Software” awareness campaign?
Without brand-building, there’s no true differentiation. To be successful with demand generation, you need to differentiate through thought leadership, a relevant and distinct point of view, and transparency. Paid campaigns, inbound marketing, and SEO focused on answering questions prospects are asking all play crucial roles in brand-building.
Ungated content such as free tools, articles, guides, podcasts, videos, and infographics are ideal vehicles to build your brand, and a good content partner will understand what questions to ask to strategically develop this content so it does what you need it to do.
2. Capture existing demand with persona-specific content
Once prospects feel a sufficient level of trust and you’ve stirred up desire, you can be successful with gated content. The information you gather through form fills lets you deliver precisely targeted content based on industry and role.
White papers, use cases, and other persona-specific content pieces help prospects realize that you fully understand their industry, pain points, and needs. A good content partner will ensure they have a thorough understanding of your personas and know how to speak to them in a targeted, effective way.
3. Support the sales team with product-focused content
Coordinated content for use by the sales team ensures that your brand messaging stays consistent and the buyer experience is seamless. Strategic sell sheets, sales decks, case studies, and other bottom-of-funnel content gives sales teams the support they need to take the prospect the rest of the way to a signed contract.
An experienced content partner can help you align product-focused content with product messaging platforms, ensuring brand consistency. A good content partner will also be able to conduct strategic customer interviews that produce persuasive storylines with meaningful, quantifiable results.
Content that creates demand drives revenue
Content that creates demand is strategically developed based on a thorough understanding of your customers and your products. A content partner that knows how to quickly achieve that understanding and translate it to effective content will help make your demand gen initiatives more successful and speed up the process for building them out.
This post is part of the Content Partner series, where I share how marketing teams are working with me and other content strategists and creators to increase their performance. I offer a behind-the-scenes look at what my clients are doing and what I see other successful SaaS marketers doing.