You market your company’s services to new audiences in an effort to woo their business, but how good of a job are you doing at developing relationships with your potential prospects? There’s an interesting school of thought about long-range promotional tactics companies are putting to good use called “demand generation,” and it’s way more than just a catchy term.
It’s a deeper and more comprehensive marketing strategy than typical programs designed to bring new leads into your sales team. Instead, demand generation is all about building relationships with key prospects and cultivating those relationships for the long term.
Clearing the Confusion
Intake marketing and demand generation frequently get confused for being the same thing. They’re related, but they’re distinctly different topics. Intake marketing is the process of creating content to bring new business leads into your company, and it’s typically the first stage of demand generation. It’s also the most familiar of the two, because we see it every day across things like commercials, websites, advertisements, etc.
Demand generation begins with these intakes and continues further by narrowing your focus down to the key individuals or demographics that are most likely to connect with your brand’s message. Next, using data and collaboration with your sales team, efforts are made to engage those targets with your brand and keep them engaged over the long term.
The Long Game
How do you connect with and engage sales prospects? Through personalization, of course, and the continued use of personalized interactions across multiple points of contact over time. This isn’t the type of marketing that comes to a conclusion at the end of a particular campaign. It’s more about keeping your brand’s message on your prospects’ minds by connecting with them in ways that’ll be meaningful to the audience.
Demand generation takes into account a prospect’s interaction with your company and works to quantify how you should tailor your next interaction with them. As a point of comparison, many companies treat every person that visits their website as a possible lead and follows up with them after using a uniform response. That might work well for high-volume cold-contact models, but it’s not forming a real rapport with these individuals.
Instead, marketing teams should be collaborating with sales teams to build points of contact that foster interaction between prospects and your brand. These are called touchpoints, and demand generation makes use of the ways in which these interactions are initiated across multiple forms.
Getting to Know Each Other
Determining what types of materials are likely to produce the highest possible level of engagement with your audience begins with getting to know them and how they view your company. The goal is to interact with them and learn more about how you can connect your products or services to their needs.
Learning more about your prospects boils down to simply keeping the conversation going with them. There’s lots of ways this can be accomplished:
- Plan and host business events to get that valued one-on-one time with clients. Even better, you could invite them into an active role in such an event, be that as a panelist or guest speaker for example.
- Respond to inquires or participate in conversation topics over social media with your clients. Interact with them! They’ll remember it.
- Keep a blog or your website stocked with fresh content. This one really can’t be understated. You need to solidify your company’s position as the go-to resource for whatever products or services you offer, and one of the best ways you can achieve this is with memorable, meaningful content. Educate your audience. You’re the expert.
- Publishing your expertise via other mediums (publications, online, news contributions, etc.) is a great way to build brand awareness and connect with members of your audience that are following those mediums. This will help you reach your audiences where they are, rather than trying to draw them elsewhere.
- Reports based on research gathered through your interactions with your industry or clients are great ways to build validity among your prospects. They’re also likely to get noted by media outlets, providing additional visibility. Your data can also easily be adapted into infographics for easy social media sharing.
- Follow up thoroughly after each interaction with your company. After a sale, perhaps distribute a survey. Ask them how things are going with both their company and yours.
It’s important to remember though, this is a long-term effort that’s going to involve clear information sharing between your marketing and sales teams for best results. It’s got to be adaptable for different prospects with different needs, and it’s going to have to be a consistent effort. In a sense, you’re building a perception that your company is the definitive source for your area of expertise, and you’re working to keep that perception alive by repeatedly connecting with your clients in ways they value.