September 15, 2022
By Steven Rafferty, Content Specialist
Demand generation is a more comprehensive approach to marketing than traditional lead generation strategies. It can deliver significant benefits by generating awareness and buzz about a brand or a specific product.
Effective demand generation increases a brand's reach and grows traffic, ensuring a pipeline full of qualified leads. To maximize the return on investment, marketers must leverage tools that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of demand generation strategies.
Trends that will drive successful demand generation in 2023 and beyond include:
What makes demand generation so vital to B2B marketing? The simplest answer is that it takes a broader view of the buyer’s journey and develops content that works to nurture buyers into better-qualified leads before the handoff to sales.
Traditional approaches to lead generation aim to identify leads and collect contact information so the sales team can go to work. Lead generation is an efficient way to convert buyers in the decision stage of their journey, but the lack of awareness-raising and nurturing activities and the absence of lead scoring often result in lower conversion rates.
In contrast, demand generation strategies account for buyers ready to make a decision and those who still need to be educated on the challenges they face and the available solutions.
The difference between lead and demand generation strategies becomes evident in the overall success of marketing and sales teams. Demand generation is especially effective at converting buyer groups over the longer sales cycles that typify B2B marketing. The difference is crucial for startups, go-to-market campaigns, and expansion into new markets or regions.
Content is essential to demand generation. B2B marketers use content to educate buyers on business challenges, the available solutions, and what differentiates their products and services from other options.
Crafting content that fits each stage of the buyer’s journey and aligning it with forms and platforms that generate variety will appeal to the tastes and awareness levels of different members of the buyer group.
Digital content has become the cornerstone of B2B marketing. The importance of digital content only increased throughout the pandemic, and its influence continues to grow. Content that is easy to access, relevant, and speaks directly to buyers’ needs is sure to impact a brand’s reputation favorably.
B2B buyers indicated that once they engaged with a solution provider’s site, the biggest factors influencing their decisions were:1
Marketers that create content that delivers on these metrics see positive results. The top three goals marketers achieved with content marketing in 2021 were:2
Content is the fuel that drives demand generation strategies. But good content alone isn’t enough to gain a competitive advantage. Optimizing demand generation requires marketers to find more efficient and effective ways to deploy content and use the data it generates about their audiences.
Data, automation, and integration will be the most important trends for demand generation strategies in 2023.
How do marketers know if the content they create is relevant and speaks directly to the needs of their audience? They rely on data to tell them. Since buyers expect digital content that understands their pain points and offers solutions that fit their needs, collecting and analyzing data is essential to demand generation success.
Currently, marketers can access intent data from third-party vendors. In fact, 31% of marketers intend to use intent and signal data in their demand generation strategies in 2022.3 However, using third-party data has to be weighed against the coming changes to privacy and data sharing laws.
While changes to privacy regulations could impact the availability or quality of intent data, there are opportunities to build something better in its place. Tools like first-party cookies, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, and identity mapping software are alternatives to third-party data.
Using those tools to support a more conversational approach to demand generation could lead to a better way of doing things.
Technology is essential to providing users with the seamless and personalized experience they expect from content marketing. Automating as much of the process as possible ensures that all relevant data is captured and that content delivery never lets a buyer slip through the cracks.
When demand generation is driven by complete, accurate, and comprehensive data it allows marketers to better identify the persona of their audience.4 At the same time, omnichannel content delivery demands consistent messaging with platform-specific optimizations and perfectly timed delivery.
From social media posts to emails and even initial contact from sales, automation technology makes it possible for marketing and sales to make every buyer feel like they are the only buyer that matters.
When you get down to it, customer experience is the central factor in determining demand generation success. Data and automated processes can help marketing and sales teams understand and respond to buyers' needs. But it’s just as important to create a consistent message and a smooth transition between marketing and sales.
Creating content that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey, including the stages beyond their decision, is vital to creating a user experience that will make prospects want to become customers. Nurturing those relationships after the sale is crucial to creating lasting partnerships that will help your organization grow.
CRMs, data analytics software, and other technology create a common ground where marketing and sales can work together to create experiences that will nurture audiences from awareness to decision and beyond.
1 Demand Gen Report, B2B Buyers Survey Report, June 2021.
2 Content Marketing Institute, 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, 2022.
3 Demand Gen Report, 2022 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey, January 2022.
4 Finances Online, 8 Demand Generation Monitoring Trends for 2022: New Predictions To Watch Out For, 2022.
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