Is lead generation part of demand generation?
Understanding what makes up "demand" is essential for marketers looking to create a sustainable growth strategy that will bring their offer's prospects closer to making an immediate purchase or signing up for your services. For companies with brick-and-mortar businesses, this often means converting more customers into paying clients.
But even if you're selling online, there isn't always one single thing people need before they'll buy from you. In some cases, it can be hard to tell whether someone has crossed over from being just interested in learning about your product or service versus actually wanting to consume yours on a regular basis. There are many factors at play here -- including budget constraints, time availability, interest level, etc. But knowing when to move forward with conversion tactics (such as emailing new leads directly) and which ones to use (like social media ads) can help you better manage your campaigns. So where does all of this leave us today? Is lead generation part of demand generation? And why should we care anyway?
In short: Yes! It’s absolutely crucial that marketers continue to grow their pipeline by creating quality content, nurturing those who like what they see, and then following up with relevant offers. The best way I've found to explain how these three components work together is through an example: Let's say you own a shoe store offering both men's shoes and women's footwear. You might have several different types of emails going out every day, but only some of them include promotions designed specifically around attracting potential female shoppers. This could happen because you know that most of your male customers already shop at other stores while your female customer base tends to stay loyal to you. Or perhaps your business model doesn't allow for the luxury of sending discounts to everyone equally. Regardless of the reason, you want to make sure you don't miss any opportunity to reach potentially valuable female consumers. When this happens, the result may not necessarily mean a sale right away, but it could certainly increase your chances of securing future orders later down the road.
The important takeaway here is that while each step of the buying cycle is necessary for building long-term relationships and providing value, having a strong lead/prospect management system (which includes identifying qualified individuals) is critical. Whether you call them "leads," "prospects," or something else entirely, understanding how to keep track of them effectively is vital for ensuring that you aren't wasting money chasing after folks who won't end up becoming real buyers.
With that said, let's talk about the importance of lead generation now -- and what it looks like as compared to traditional methods of generating traffic. Here are the six steps involved in the lead generation process:
1.) Identify target audience (who do you serve?)
2.) Define problem statement & solution(what problems are they trying to solve?)
3.) Create compelling copy (how can you convince them to choose YOU instead of competitors?)
4.) Design landing page (where would they go next if they clicked?)
5.) Automate followup sequence (so they never forget about you!)
6.) Measure campaign success (to improve performance, tweak accordingly).
So, back to our original question: Does lead generation look anything like direct mail, radio advertising, TV commercials, SEO, PPC, etc.? Well...yes and no. Lead generation definitely incorporates elements of all of these approaches, but its primary focus lies elsewhere. That's because unlike so many other forms of marketing, lead generation involves bringing targeted prospects directly to your website, allowing them to engage with your products and services without needing to click through multiple pages first. After doing some research myself, I discovered that only 1% of internet users find websites using search engines, and yet almost 80% of small businesses fail to utilize organic web searches as effective marketing strategies.
This is where lead generators come in handy. They give you access to highly targeted audiences via platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Google AdWords, etc., helping you take advantage of opportunities that arise organically rather than forcing visitors to navigate through dozens of menus before finding what they came for. These sources also tend to provide higher ROI since they typically cost less than paid options, plus they allow you to measure exactly how much exposure certain posts receive.
As far as lead generation goes, it comes down to two things: tracking interactions with existing leads and developing new leads. If you haven't heard, data analytics software provider Statista recently reported that nearly half of U.S. adults aged 18 years old and older used the Internet in 2019. While that's great news overall, it also illustrates how quickly technology continues to evolve. Nowadays, it's possible to generate leads virtually anywhere thanks to mobile devices, cloud computing applications, and various technologies such as QR codes, live video streaming, SMS text messages, etc. With so many ways to connect digitally, it's easy to overlook the fact that most of these channels were initially created for the purpose of reaching larger groups of people.
When done correctly, lead generation allows you to turn digital strangers into actual customers. As I mentioned earlier, however, it takes patience and persistence to cultivate lasting relationships with your prospective clients. By taking control of your entire lead generation workflow, you can ensure that you spend your dollars wisely on high-quality efforts that get results.
For example, suppose you run a company that sells vitamins and supplements. Perhaps you decide to market your brand via a variety of digital outlets, including e-mail blasts, popups, and banner advertisements. However, due to limited resources, you determine that you can't afford to send promotional material to hundreds or thousands of leads per week. Instead, you opt to partner with a third party vendor that specializes in lead generation. What kind of person would you expect this vendor to attract? Someone who's searching for information related to health issues, for instance. Once they sign up for your program, you'll be able to communicate with them via scheduled newsletters, phone calls, and personalized videos. Even though you'd prefer to handle your outreach yourself, you realize that outsourcing it helps you save money. Plus, depending upon the nature of your relationship, you believe that partnering with this particular vendor gives you greater peace of mind.
Keep reading below to discover how combining traditional methods of driving traffic with modern lead generation techniques can boost your bottom line.
What are the six steps in the demand generation process?
While we've discussed the concept of lead generation above, the term itself was originally coined by Harvard Business Review contributor Scott Brinker in his book Demand Generation: Why Today's Consumers Will Expect More From Brands - How To Harness The Power Of Involvement. Following is a breakdown of the six major stages included within the framework:
1.) Discovery stage: This is where potential clients become aware of your existence. Typically, they begin researching topics that relate to your niche, and start visiting sites that feature your offerings. Some examples include clicking links shared by friends or family members, searching keywords associated with your industry on popular search engines, checking out review blogs written by previous customers, and browsing reviews posted on forums dedicated to your type of product.
2.) Consideration phase: During this period, people who are intrigued enough by what they've learned about your brand to visit your site for further details. At this point, you typically present solutions to their identified needs and ask if they'd like to hear more. Examples include calling attention to free trials available for select programs, asking if they'd like to schedule a complimentary consultation, offering special deals to people who refer others to your site, and displaying images of satisfied customers.
3.) Conversion stage: People who ultimately decide to join your network usually contact you via telephone or e-mail during this phase. Your goal is to persuade prospective buyers to convert into subscribers or followers so that you can nurture them over time. An ideal scenario is when someone signs up for your newsletter or subscribes to your feed, showing that he or she wants to hear from you again soon. Examples include adding a new subscriber form onto your homepage or blog, incorporating a squeeze page in your sidebar menu, and designing downloadable reports based on specific interests.
4.) Loyalty stage: This refers to people who actively participate in your community by sharing interesting articles or comments on your social media accounts, engaging in conversations surrounding your topic of choice, participating in Q&A sessions, and interacting with your team. At this point, you strive to maintain relationships with current members while growing your list continuously. One way to do this is by keeping tabs on your top influencers (those whose opinions carry significant weight) and utilizing their endorsements whenever applicable. Another option is to share unique content regularly via social media, thereby improving engagement levels among your followers.
5.) Advocacy stage: This occurs once someone becomes truly committed to working with you. During this phase, you aim to establish trustworthiness and credibility by proving that you deliver on promises, consistently delivering superior customer experiences, and establishing positive word-of-mouth recommendations. A good approach is to showcase testimonials, case studies, and awards received to show readers that you are capable of producing tangible outcomes. Other common actions involve conducting loyalty surveys, hosting contests, holding giveaways, and publishing white papers.
When most people think about Demand Generation (or DGM), they're thinking about advertising, PR or other forms of direct response tactics that companies use to reach new customers with messages designed to move prospects closer toward a sale — and sometimes even past the point where someone becomes a customer.
But what if you're not interested in moving your target audience all the way through an ad campaign before making contact? What if you just need leads for one particular purpose — say, finding out more information on a specific product so you can make well-informed buying decisions — but don't want to go through the entire sales cycle at this time? In those cases, it's often referred to as "lead generation." And while it may seem like there isn't enough money in the world to pay for both DGM and B2B lead gen strategies, there really aren't any hard rules when it comes down to choosing which tactic will get the desired result best. After all, everyone wants targeted leads that convert into qualified opportunities faster than possible, right?
In short, no matter what kind of business you have, lead generation should be viewed as an extension of your overall strategy and goals. It simply helps identify potential clients who already know exactly what they want from your offerings. With that said, let's take a look at some of the similarities between demand generation and lead generation, then explore why they might differ slightly in their ultimate effectiveness.
What is included in demand generation?
Leads, specifically focused ones that align directly with your company's core mission objectives. This means that these ideal candidates must fit certain criteria such as being located within a certain geographic area, willing to receive a call or email from your team, etc., so that your message can actually connect with them. But beyond that, it also means that these individuals have demonstrated interest in topics related to products/services offered by your brand, whether directly or indirectly. For example, someone looking to buy a car would likely respond better to a lead offering automotive services rather than something unrelated.
What are the types of demand generation?
There are four major categories of demand generation depending on your industry and intended outcome. Here are examples of each type:
Direct Response - These campaigns typically involve getting people to pick up the phone or click through links on emails to enter contests or sweepstakes. The goal here is to generate immediate action, usually leading to a purchase later on. Examples include print ads, billboards, radio spots, mailers, postcards, etc.
Relationship Marketing - A form of direct response that involves building relationships over time using personalized communications, offers, events, social media posts, newsletters, etc. The objective is to create long-lasting connections that ultimately lead to revenue growth via referrals, repeat purchases, partnerships, etc. Examples include eNewsletter delivery, sponsorship packages, group discounts, coupons, etc.
Media Buys & Ad Campaigns - Using paid media to place content in front of consumers, either online or off. Media buys allow advertisers to achieve high visibility, greater flexibility and higher ROI compared to traditional TV, newspaper, magazine, outdoor, etc., promotions. An advertiser can put its logo next to content that interests readers without paying thousands of dollars per week for prime placement. They also provide additional branding power since audiences tend to associate brands with articles written about them. However, marketers beware: Not every article published needs to contain a link back to the advertiser’s site! Just because you see a headline about your favorite sports franchise doesn’t mean you necessarily need to visit the website, especially if the writer didn’t do his job properly.
Customer Loyalty Programs - Also called “customer retention programs,” this refers to activities aimed at keeping existing customers happy and attracting others. Ideas could range from loyalty rewards cards, free merchandise or gift certificates, special deals, etc. Some businesses even offer incentives based upon the number of times someone signs up for their service — i.e., $1 for signing up once, $5 for signing up twice, $15 for signing up three times, $50 for signing up four times, etc.
What is demand generation?
If we boil it down further, demand generation is essentially anything done outside of normal face-to-face communication with your current client base in order to discover new prospects, qualify them for future engagement, and eventually turn them into actual buyers. If your company provides financial advice, consider doing lead gen calls for prospective investors. Or maybe you sell office furniture, and you'd like to send samples to local real estate agents to see if anyone bites. Whatever your niche, chances are good that you've got tons of ideas for generating quality leads.
Demand Gen Channels
As mentioned earlier, Demand Generation has become synonymous with Lead Generation, thanks mostly to the popularity of Internet marketing techniques used today. While many still view SEO as a form of DGM, search engines now rank websites according to relevancy and authority, meaning that having a strong presence online alone won't always yield positive returns unless the right keywords are chosen. On top of that, social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn continue to play larger roles in boosting awareness of a given brand among targeted demographics. As such, the term 'demand generation' is starting to lose its meaning as companies increasingly focus on leveraging various digital channels to find relevant leads.
So, does that mean that there's less emphasis placed on offline activities, including things like trade shows, meetings, flyers, brochures, etc.? Absolutely not. There are plenty of ways to promote a brand through traditional methods, but it's important to remember that lead generators like trade show booths, event signage, giveaways, etc., are only effective if they help drive traffic to a live presentation that showcases the benefits of your solutions. Otherwise, they'll end up taking up valuable space at an exhibit hall full of competitors vying for attention. That said, it certainly makes sense to allocate resources towards multiple tactics to ensure maximum exposure across different mediums. By combining them, you can increase the odds of reaching your target market effectively.
According to Forbes Insights, approximately 80% of global consumer spending occurs in markets outside of North America, Europe and Japan. So, if you own a U.S.-based retail chain, you probably shouldn't ignore international shoppers entirely. Instead, try integrating foreign language capabilities into your lead gen efforts. More importantly though, you should consider targeting overseas consumers when creating your lead gen materials. For instance, if you run a clothing retailer catering primarily to women aged 25-34, you should tailor your messaging accordingly. Your material should reflect the fact that although these women may shop online, they prefer shopping in person for fashion items. You can accomplish this by adding photos of models wearing clothes from your catalogues, featuring attractive men or stylish women of color. Finally, keep in mind that cultural nuances exist around almost every topic imaginable, regardless of location. For example, if you're selling shoes, the word 'fashionable,' which tends to carry connotations of style and sophistication, sounds much differently in India than it does in the United States. To avoid confusion, stick to common words and phrases wherever possible.
There are two main types of businesses that exist today. One is Demand Generation (DG) companies like Apple or Google, which sell consumer products directly from their company stores or websites. The other is Lead Generation (LG) companies, who provide services such as SEO or PPC management.
While both have similar goals—to generate revenue quickly by providing an awesome experience to customers—the way they achieve this differs drastically. This article will help you understand why LG companies can't just copy DG tactics without making some changes, and vice versa. Let's dive into it!
What is a lead generation in sales?
In sales, leads are people interested in your product but not yet ready to buy. They might be in different stages along the buying cycle. In order to convert these potential buyers into real clients, you need something called qualified leads. Qualified leads are those with enough information about what they want, so that you can present them with the best solution available. For example, if someone wants a new car, and comes to you looking to purchase one, you'll know exactly what makes sense for her based on her needs. You wouldn't offer her a hybrid when she asked for a luxury sedan, right? That would be counterproductive.
The same goes for generating leads for any kind of service-based business. If you're selling digital photography courses, then even though there may be several people browsing your website daily, only a few of them are actually serious about learning more about the subject matter. So instead of spending time trying to convince them, you should direct them towards resources or content where they could get started faster.
Leads don't necessarily require money or credit cards either. A lot of times, all you really need is somebody's email address and phone number. Then you can reach out via emails, calls, texts, etc., asking them questions related to your niche. Once you've established rapport, you'll be able to figure out what their biggest challenges are and show them solutions that solve those problems. When you do this effectively, you won't waste your client's time anymore because they'd rather focus on their work than worry about whether you're going to call them back or not.
That said, we often see marketers talking about customer acquisition costs as opposed to conversion rates. What does this mean? It means that they measure cost per acquisition rather than cost per result. And while it's important to keep track of the amount of traffic you send to your site, it doesn't tell you anything about the percentage of visitors who end up converting into paying clients. As long as you're getting positive ROI from your efforts, you shouldn't care too much about this metric.
Now let's talk about how lead generation works in the context of marketing.
What part of marketing is lead generation?
To put it simply, marketing is the process of finding prospective customers through various channels and communicating with them until they become actual paid clients. Because LG deals with prequalified prospects, many marketing experts consider LG itself as another step within the buying funnel. However, since LG isn't always focused on immediate transactions, it's sometimes referred to as "lead nurturing." We use "lead" here because its meaning has evolved over time and now encompasses activities other than cold calling.
So yes, marketing involves lead generation, but it's also used to refer specifically to creating targeted campaigns aimed at bringing in highly relevant leads. Some examples include social media advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) ads, video production, newsletter publishing, etc. These methods allow for effective lead capture and lead qualification processes to ensure that you aren't wasting your budget on irrelevant clicks.
Another crucial component of lead generation is personalization. While most brands tend to throw generic messages at consumers every once in awhile, using personalized messaging increases response rate significantly. By sending emails that contain specific details regarding the recipient's problem, you increase chances of gaining his interest and attention.
If you think about it logically, it becomes clear that LG is a subset of DG. But given that LG requires additional effort, expertise, and tools, it seems reasonable that LG companies charge higher fees compared to DG ones. After all, you can't expect to hire an employee solely responsible for managing 10+ accounts, tracking hundreds of prospecting conversations, developing creative ideas, executing strategies, etc.
Since LG companies usually cater to larger enterprises, they typically employ dedicated teams that handle multiple projects simultaneously, which includes recruiting talent, researching competitors, designing strategy, coordinating team members' schedules, etc. Depending on the size of your organization, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on hiring managers alone, not mentioning other expenses. On top of that, you probably won't find anyone willing to take on full responsibility for lead gen unless he or she is passionate about it.
What type of business is lead generation?
As mentioned earlier, LG is mostly associated with B2B industries. While the concept is pretty straightforward, implementing a successful campaign can still prove difficult due to unique nuances involved. For instance, if your target audience is tech professionals, having a strong online presence is vital. Yet, if you create boring landing pages, nobody will bother clicking it. Conversely, if you make your page look flashy, you risk attracting spammers. To avoid falling prey to these pitfalls, you must first decide what your brand stands for before deciding on colors, fonts, images, headlines, body text, etc.
Afterward, you should write down everything you plan to showcase. Be sure to prioritize certain elements over others, depending on what's currently working well for your industry. Take advantage of design trends and analytics data to improve your conversions. Finally, test your designs constantly to optimize user engagement.
A popular misconception among LG entrepreneurs is that they primarily serve small businesses. This couldn't be further from the truth. According to research conducted by Hubspot, 89% of LG companies claim revenues exceeding $1 billion annually, whereas 79% report serving Fortune 500 Companies.
What is the category for lead generation?
LG companies fall under three major categories. First, there are Marketing Automation platforms, whose job is to automate repetitive tasks that normally involve manual inputting of info. Such systems collect leads automatically and forward them onto designated employees for follow ups. Second, there are Sales Enablement firms, which specialize in helping organizations streamline their own internal operations. Lastly, there are Consulting/Advisory firms, which act as trusted advisors that guide their clients toward growth.
These categories differ mainly in terms of approach and scale. Whereas Marketing Automation focuses heavily on efficiency gains, consulting provides guidance on improving core competencies. Of course, each firm offers something unique, so choose wisely based on your requirements.
Marketing automation allows for better scalability, flexibility, and customization, while consultancies generally aim to minimize operational overhead. Since Marketing Automation tends to consume less resources, it serves as a great option for startups aiming to stay lean. Consultants, however, come in handy for large organizations seeking to boost productivity.
Looking for ways to grow your business? Here are some tips on combining demand & lead generation...
When done correctly, lead gen + DG = increased profits
Although the idea behind merging these concepts sounds promising, it's easier said than done. There are plenty of obstacles that prevent us from successfully integrating LG with DG. Below are three common issues seen in practice.
Lack of alignment: Most companies view marketing as a separate department altogether and thus fail to integrate LG properly. Even worse, LG teams often feel disrespected and neglected by DG executives. The good news is that proper integration starts with communication. Make sure that everyone knows what's expected of him or her and hold regular meetings to discuss upcoming plans.
Poor planning: Unlike marketing, LG doesn't happen overnight. It takes months of preparation and meticulous execution. Unfortunately, many companies try to rush things and end up cutting corners. Don't skip steps and start jumping straight to implementation. Plan ahead and allocate adequate time for testing.
No ownership: Usually, LG falls upon marketing managers or directors, leaving little room for creativity or innovation. Also, LG fails to attract talented individuals because no one owns the outcome. Instead, it ends up being delegated to junior staff members, resulting in lower quality. Only after establishing a true culture of collaboration and empowering everyone will you begin seeing tangible improvements.