Inbound marketing has revolutionised the way we market and sell, and the methodology has naturally attracted many followers worldwide. But what if I tell you that inbound marketing is just part of a marketing program and that you now have to look outside the inbound bubble and more on the whole? Say hello to demand generation.
Demand generation may not be a new term, but there are still many people who do not know what it is, what it means for your marketing and how it really relates to inbound marketing and sales.
Before we dig deeper to understand why demand generation is an essential part of your future marketing, let's first look at what it actually is.
What is demand generation?
Imagine an umbrella. The umbrella itself is demand generation – a collection of marketing programs or strategies, for example, a coordinated and well thought-through set of activities to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Demand generation programs aim to make your prospects and customers interested in your company's products and services. It's about attracting new markets, promoting new products, building up the brand and not least engaging existing customers.
Perhaps most importantly, demand generation programs are the points of contact throughout the conversion and sales funnel. The goal is to attract and care for relevant leads and long-term customer relationships.
To achieve this, you as a marketer need to tap into the power of marketing campaigns via email, promoting blog posts and downloadable content in social media, and assisting in the customer's buying process.
In other words: Demand generation is an e-book campaign, a weekly newsletter or a breakfast seminar. So what is it that really differentiates demand generation from inbound marketing?
What is the difference between inbound marketing and demand generation?
Inbound marketing is one type of demand generation activity. Common demand generation tactics that are inbound include blog posts, social media, newsletters, video – content-driven resources that establish your business as a thought leader in the industry.
Demand generation is the marketing system that eliminates the distance between the company's sales and revenue activities. It may involve more touchpoints, ranging from blogging to marketing on social media – that is, all in-depth marketing tactics that are part of the company's overall demand generation.
We, therefore, believe that demand generation is an integral part of what inbound has been created for: Attracting leads, converting leads to sales opportunities, and converting these opportunities into sales. Marketing is, after all, about generating income – regardless of the type of methodology you follow.
While planning your marketing strategy, we thought we will show you how to show you how to take advantage of the demand generation in conjunction with your inbound marketing strategies.
How to combine demand generation with inbound tactics
1) Develop strategies to reach those people who do not know your business and your products or services
What if people with specific challenges do not know that your business exists and that you have the exact solution they need? Or worse: what if they do not know that there is a solution to their problem at all?
The term for this is the pre-awareness stage, that is, the stage before the person becomes aware that there are products or services that can solve his or her problem. As part of inbound, we gladly welcome people who have already come to a step further.
They know that there is a solution to their problem and they have begun looking for this solution. With inbound marketing, you can meet these prospects wherever they are and assist them in the buying process.
If prospects are unaware (and many are just that), how should you inform them, make them interested in your business and your solutions? Through demand generation. One example is account-based marketing.
2) Account-based marketing
In account-based marketing (ABM), instead of focusing on attracting individuals, you focus on a group of companies you consider interesting. Then you define contacts in each company that you engage with custom and relevant content through, for example, personal emails or targeted content in social media.
We should not hide the fact that there are clear differences between inbound and ABM. Inbound is about creating content that will attract the right people and help them through the buyer’s journey.
ABM, on the other hand, is when a salesperson pushes content on a potential customer in a company based on what the salesperson assumes are that person's needs.
It may sound a little like we are talking about inbound and outbound marketing. And we are because you know what? When it comes to account-based marketing, you actually need both methods to achieve success.
Also in inbound marketing, there will be days where lead generation stops slightly, and you need to look for new ways to fill the sales pipeline. This is where ABM comes into play.
It's a mix of inbound and outbound that lets you work more actively towards the companies and industries you want to collaborate with without having to make cold calls because the companies have not heard about you.
You create content that is relevant to the people you want to reach out to, and you try to help them uncover and solve challenges. It’s a win-win situation.
3) Advocacy Marketing
Few things are better for a salesperson than when an existing customer recommends the salesperson's business to others.
Not only does the sales process go faster because the prospect is more likely to have fewer concerns and questions, but it is also far easier to close the deal because the prospect has heard so much about the company and what it delivers.
This is what advocacy marketing, also known as an impact/word-of-mouth campaign, is. Engage your current customers to become more involved in the sales process and reward them for their participation.
For example, you can create case studies to present what your customers actually think about the collaboration and the solutions you've provided. Why not make it a competition? The more a customer does to help your salespeople, the more points he gets.