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What is demand generation?

Demand generation is a holistic approach to customer engagement that focuses on building long-term relationships with customers. The goal is to generate demand for your products and services and nurture personalized customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey until the deal is closed.

Essentials of a demand generation program

A demand generation program includes many marketing and sales touch points mapped across a broad strategic timeline. For example, the journey may start with the customer reading a blog post and signing up for a newsletter, which leads to a follow-up call from the sales team, and ends with a customer experience survey and discount code for the next purchase.

To effectively create a long-term demand generation program, there are four essential steps that will help you engage customers, drive conversion, and continuously improve your plan.

1. Coordinate marketing and sales strategies

Marketing tactics drive customer leads to the sales team, so it’s important that these two teams work together to set and measure goals. Integrating collaboration and coordination tools, like shared data and dashboards, help sales and marketing work together efficiently and strategically to drive ROI.

2. Identify and segment audiences upfront

Demand generation pros believe the biggest mistake you can make is not segmenting your target audiences in enough detail. The narrower the target, the easier it is to deliver a personalized experience that’s more likely to convert. Marketing experts recommend using customer data to create and refine audience segments early and often.

3. Orchestrate the customer journey

Once you know exactly who you’re targeting, you’re ready to start nurturing leads and orchestrating the customer journey. You’ll use your marketing tactics and data-informed strategies to create demand, deliver personalized experiences, qualify leads, nurture relationships, and onboard new customers.

4. Use data to make informed decisions

As these customer journeys come to life, you’ll be collecting and using data to develop a 360-degree view of your customers. You’ll also be tracking and analyzing the effectiveness of your marketing tactics in relation to conversion rates to better understand marketing attribution and make refinements to your marketing and sales strategies.

Demand generation programs boost your efficiency in collaboration, segmentation, personalization, lead generation, and conversion. When you have the essentials covered, it’s much easier for your teams to deliver ROI and happy customers.

Demand generation marketing tactics

The marketing tactics that make up demand generation will be different for every organization based on size, goals, products, services, and customers. The one thing they have in common is their intent to build brand awareness and lead prospects into a journey through your conversion funnel.

Demand generation marketing may include:

  • E-books, guides, and white papers
  • Webinars and demos
  • Events
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Targeted advertising
  • Remarketing campaigns
  • Websites
  • Search marketing

Remember, demand generation is a long-term strategy to build prospect and customer relationships. These marketing tactics aren’t used as a quick hit. You may engage a prospect with a Facebook ad, follow up with a nurture stream of emails, qualify the lead, hand it off to sales, and answer customer questions along the way.

This is all part of a well-rounded demand generation journey that focuses on its commitment to the customer through every experience with the product or service.

How does demand generation work with inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a subset of the broader demand generation program and works in tandem with sales strategies to build customer relationships and drive conversions.

When it comes to generating demand, inbound marketing tactics are great for showing prospects why and how your product or service can solve their problem. Keep in mind that inbound marketing is only one portion of your organization’s comprehensive demand funnel.

Demand generation vs. lead generation

How is demand generation different from lead generation? Demand generation is broader than lead generation and includes the entire marketing and relationship-building process that delivers qualified leads to your sales team.

Lead generation is a specialized segment of a demand generation program and it’s essential for driving conversions. Lead generation tactics focus on capturing prospects’ contact information, so you can communicate with them along their customer journey.

Here’s an example. Demand generation gives prospects free content, like blog posts and videos, to build brand awareness and generate demand for your product or service. Lead generation tactics offer high-value gated content, like an e-book or report, in exchange for the prospect’s contact information.

Demand generation

Free content with no follow-up

Lead generation

High-value content with a contact form

Capturing customer information with lead generation tactics during the demand generation process helps you identify which prospects are likely to become customers and triggers actions to guide them into your sales pipeline.

Connecting sales and marketing with demand generation

You’ll increase your ability to engage customers if you use demand generation strategies and software to coordinate the efforts of your sales and marketing teams. This coordination enables them to drive higher conversion rates and bigger ROI.

Sometimes marketing and sales teams work in silos where marketing generates product demand and delivers leads to sales without circling back to measure results and make refinements. Using a demand generation strategy aligns the teams and gets buy-in on shared goals, as well as shared metrics.

Ideally, marketing and sales teams would collaborate to create data-driven strategies, plan campaigns, build relationships, drive conversions, analyze results, and make improvements for the next demand generation campaign. When the teams aren’t working toward the same goals and sharing information, there’s a chance of losing valuable leads.

Using data to drive demand generation strategy

Making data-informed decisions based on real results is key to increasing revenue with demand generation. Consistently analyzing your demand generation channels gives you the opportunity to orchestrate the customer journey by:

  • Tracking and analyzing every customer interaction to get a 360-degree view of your customers and their behavior.
  • Targeting the right audiences, providing personalized experiences, and running efficient campaigns using marketing automation .
  • Enabling cross-channel analysis that allows marketing and sales to create and share custom dashboards, so everyone is working toward the same goals.
  • Making smart decisions based on results discovered through A/B testing, lead scoring, and marketing attribution.

Benefits of demand generation software

What’s the easiest way to implement a demand generation program? Find a demand generation software solution that streamlines sales and marketing applications on the same platform. The right demand generation solution can help your organization:

  • Increase efficiency by running targeted multi-channel campaigns from a single platform.
  • Expand customer engagement opportunities by allowing sales and marketing to share data, processes, and a single view of customer insights.
  • Segment and target the right customers to drive high-quality leads that are more likely to convert.
  • Use marketing automation to deliver personalized experiences and orchestrate seamless customer journeys that deliver sales-ready leads.

Find out how demand generation can help your organization

Discover how your business can increase ROI with demand generation software—Dynamics 365 Marketing helps you generate demand, personalize customer experiences, orchestrate customer journeys, and convert high-quality leads all in one platform.