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In the marketing and sales world, a lot of different, industry-specific terms are created and thrown around. After a while, they either become part of everyday talk or sink into disuse. One of the newest phrases is “demand generation” or “demand generation marketing.” But what exactly is it? And why are people starting to adopt the strategy to build a holistic approach to marketing?
Simply put, demand generation is focused on creating and raising your customers’ awareness and desire for your product or service through various marketing approaches such as nurture campaigns. When demand generation is successful, it trickles into every part of marketing and sales by creating a long-term relationship between a brand with a potential buyer. It also gauges and develops a prospect's interest in said brand's products and services.
Demand generation can also be thought of as an umbrella term that includes and covers most top of the funnel tactics, with a scattering of mid and bottom-funnel tactics for good measure.
Other aspects of demand generation include:
Much of this may sound very similar to inbound marketing tactics and other top of the funnel strategies. But, what's the difference, and how can these two strategies mesh together?
The difference between demand generation and inbound marketing is that inbound marketing is a strategy that creates demand generation. In other words, demand generation is a broader category in which inbound marketing falls. The same holds true for lead generation.
Demand generation encompasses every tactic, strategy, and method that creates demand for your product or service. By this definition, the standard top of the funnel tactics or strategy is part of a demand generation strategy. Sometimes, they're the only demand generation strategy that a company uses.
Some of the most popular initiatives to set up an entire demand generation strategy include:
In a nutshell, demand generation strategies provide a more cohesive narrative throughout any person’s experience with your business.
Invest in content. Content is one of the best ways to increase demand and awareness for your company. By regularly updating your blog with relevant and exciting content, it should help increase your organic traffic through search engine optimization. Companies like Google crawl your website and look for quality, updated content.
Leverage partner marketing. Partner marketing is the practice of gaining exposure to your partner's audience in exchange for exposing your partner to your audience through a variety of tactics. One of the most popular methods is co-creating content such as webinars. When you partner with other brands, it's essential to work with companies that have a similar audience (but their product shouldn't be competitive with yours).
Offer free stuff. Building trust when a potential customer interacts with your brand for the first time is essential to demand generation. An easy way to build trust is to offer gifts that benefit your customers. For example, instead of charging for your reports, offer them for free. This shows that you're willing to give your best stuff away to help your potential customers learn about a specific topic and gain valuable insights.
The first benefit is a birds-eye view of your customers' journeys. What brought people to you? When did they get off the flywheel? All of these answers can be found much more efficiently with an excellent demand generation strategy that's well-documented and kept up to date. Other, older forms of finding and tracking leads never offered this.
Demand generation makes companies collect all of their efforts, marketing, and sales, into one central marketing scheme. This kind of organization allows you to gain the best return on your investment (ROI).
Finally, as companies work to connect with a world that has increasingly more options and much less reason to stay with any particular company, demand generation provides companies with the tools they need to remain relevant. It offers clarity into many different areas of business that reach far beyond more simple regeneration strategies. It follows devoted and not-so-devoted customers through their decision to purchase or to not purchase and shows more clearly why they may have made the choices they did.
And it’s the lead generation strategy of the future.
Originally published on January 29th, 2020, last updated on June 16th, 2022.