What a demand generation engine looks like, and why it’s essential for growth
If accelerating revenue growth is a priority for your organization, then you need to build a demand generation engine. Many organizations still tend to prioritize lead generation activities because they’re under pressure to meet short-term revenue goals. But there’s a critical flaw in that strategy.
Lead generation tactics alone won’t deliver the results you need for high growth. Why? Because at any given time, only 5% of your potential prospects are in market to buy – and in a recession, it’s closer to 1% as many companies pull back on spending. The rest simply aren’t interested or ready for what you have to offer right now. But you can’t afford to ignore these potential prospects just because they’re not in-market yet. Because these buyers are critical to your company’s future growth.
Demand generation is based on the premise that if you build brand awareness and trust, prospects will invite your company into their buying process when they are ready. But it’s a long-term game, one focused on building an audience and continually engaging them to gain their trust over time, so they ultimately select your solution.
Let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of a demand generation engine.
The 3 Pillars of Demand Generation
|The blueprint for your engine
This is a hyper-focused action plan that serves as your compass. It provides direction for every demand generation program decision you make.
|The heart of your engine
This is the consistent story you’re telling your target audience, over and over. It includes content that’s relevant for all stages of their buying journey.
|The fuel that keeps your engine going
This is how you ensure your content shows up in the places where your target audiences are likely to see it. This includes paid, owned, and earned channels.
Strategy: The blueprint for your engine
If you’re just beginning to put together a demand generation strategy, we recommend starting this process by defining your target audience. One of the best ways to do this is by creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). An ICP is a description of the type of company that is the best fit for your organization. An ICP defines your target audience by looking at things such as buying triggers, product use cases and key organizational characteristics.
Key benefits of an ideal customer profile:
- Aligns marketing and sales teams on the best audience to go after
- Drives content that’s hyper-focused on your target audience’s needs and pain points
- Helps you stand out in an overcrowded market with relevant content
Learn more about ICPs on this episode of our podcast, The Demand Gen Fix or in our blog article: Why You Need an Ideal Customer Profile for a Successful Demand Generation Strategy.
Content: The heart of your engine
Once you’ve built out your ICP, then you need to develop your content plan. A content plan identifies the key topics and formats that will resonate with your ideal customer. It should also serve as a roadmap that outlines which pieces of content you’ll create to align with each stage of the buyer’s journey. Mapping out your content in this way helps to ensure that you’re connecting with prospects at critical points throughout their decision process.
Content at Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
TOP OF FUNNEL
MIDDLE OF FUNNEL
BOTTOM OF FUNNEL
Content that creates brand awareness and builds trust in your company.
Content that helps prospects identify your solution as a viable option for them.
Content that helps prospects choose your solution over competitors they’re evaluating.
Learn more about content mapping in our blog article, B2B Content Mapping: Build Content for Each Stage of the Buyer Journey.
You can also check out this podcast episode: Building a demand generation engine: The content.
Your content plan is a critical part of your demand generation strategy. Ultimately, it should help you deliver on what your target audience wants to hear from you. It should also help ensure that your content demonstrates your company’s unique point of view and stands apart from the competition.
Distribution: the fuel that keeps your engine going
So now you’ve got a plan for killer content that’s hyper-focused on the needs of your ideal customer. This is a great start, but even the best content can languish in obscurity without an effective plan to promote it. That’s where your distribution plan comes in. It helps you identify what channels and marketing tactics you’ll use to get content in front of your target audience.
- Your website – this is an ideal place to house the new content you outlined in your content plan. If you already have a “content hub” site, like a company blog or content marketing portal, this is the perfect place to host your blog articles, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts and more. Think of this as a digital storefront for all your content assets. You should make it visually appealing and easy to search and navigate. For prospects visiting your website homepage, your content hub should be front-and-center to maximize visibility.
- Your social media channels – promoting your content with posts on your company’s social media channels is another great way to drive increased visibility and traffic. You can map out these posts on your social media calendar each month, and then use a tool like HubSpot to help manage and schedule posts.
- Digital advertising – this is a great way to drive content visibility on a larger scale. Get more eyeballs on your content by leveraging paid advertising and sponsored content opportunities with key industry organizations and publications frequented by your ideal customers.
- Email – another way to promote content is through strategic nurture campaigns. This can be an effective way to drive ongoing engagement, particularly if you can serve up content at each stage of the journey. Using a marketing automation tool like HubSpot can help you manage and automate these campaign processes.
- Industry influencers – every industry has influencers, and those influencers have built-in credibility and audiences of their own. If you’re selling in a crowded market, influencers can help you stand out in the crowd – and engage with existing relevant audiences – while also providing an added level of credibility.
Learn more about building out the distribution pillar of your demand generation engine on this episode of our podcast, The Demand Gen Fix
An effective demand generation strategy is essential for any company looking to achieve significant growth. In fact, it sets the foundation for successful demand capture activities because it builds up an audience that’s interested in what your organization has to say. This means that once your demand generation engine is humming along, your prospects will be asking you for a meeting instead of the other way around.
The anatomy of a demand generation engine boils down to three key components – strategy, content and distribution. But getting each of those components just right can be a challenge. If you’re looking to build or enhance your demand generation strategy, we can help! At GrowthMode Marketing, we’re experts at helping our clients drive growth with demand generation activities that work. Contact us today to learn more.
Interested in going deeper on this topic? Check out The Demand Gen Fix Podcast, Episode #9:
Learn more about building a demand generation engine to drive high growth.