What is Demand Generation in B2B marketing?

Demand Generation is a mix of organic and paid marketing tactics to create awareness in the marketplace, capture buyers’ attention, provide them with relevant information and create demand for your product.

The goal is to build trust, increase brand recognition and position your brand as the authority in the industry. This makes it a long-term strategy across all stages of the buyer journey.

Demand Generation connects your company with individuals and companies that may not even know you exist.

What is the difference between lead gen and demand gen?

Demand generation is the process by which people become interested in what you have to sell (create demand). Lead generation is the task of turning that interest into names and contact information (leads) that you or your sales team can follow up on. It is often driven by the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

Demand Generation takes prospects all the way from the moment they become aware that they have a problem that you can solve. Through increasing trust in your brand, to definitive interest in what your solutions can do for them.

It may involve the:

  • Highlighting features of your product and why they matter
  • Sharing articles that demonstrate your industry expertise for thought leadership
  • distributing free resources and tools that show how useful your products or services are

Lead generation translates this interest into something tangible and actionable. Therefore, the most obvious difference between a demand generation campaign and a lead generation campaign is whether or not the campaign asks for contact information.

What’s demand capturing?

Demand Capturing tries to get people who are actively looking for your product or service to contact your company by using demand generation efforts. For example, they may use a Google search for this purpose to eventually request a demo or schedule a call.

Why should a B2B company implement a Demand Generation strategy?

The B2B buying cycle is longer than ever. In fact, the average B2B buying cycle is six to 12 months long. That makes driving growth a challenge.

Demand Generation creates demand where it didn’t exist, which can lead to exponential growth. It also helps you expand into new markets, increase order size and reduce cost per acquisition.

Advantages of Demand Generation

These are the results and benefits you can expect from demand generation marketing campaigns:

  • the work of the sales team becomes easier
  • Less waste, more quality throughout the funnel
  • Improve conversion rates in the funnel
  • The sales cycle becomes shorter
  • Marketing and sales work better together

Examples of Demand Generation tactics

The best thing about a Demand Generation strategy is that you can be as flexible as you want. Here are some examples of tactics you can employ:

  • Content marketing to build a brand seen as a ‘thought leader’
  • Social media
  • B2B Podcasts and Webinars
  • Content co-creation
  • Online Advertising Campaigns via e.g. LinkedIn
  • E-mail Marketing
  • Free resources (guides, trainings, calculators)

The steps of Demand Generation

Step 1: Creating awareness

This is the top of the funnel, or awareness stage. Customers have a problem, but don’t know what the solution is, and have certainly never heard of your brand.

This stage focuses on building demand awareness, primarily through education, rather than touting your solution.

Known best practices for Demand Generation include creating content such as webinars, industry news, checklists, email courses and in-depth guides for beginners.

In this phase of the B2B funnel for Demand Generation, you focus on establishing your brand as an industry leader that delivers value by solving your target audience’s biggest problems.

Step 2: Demand creation

Now that people know your brand exists – and that you know about it – it’s time to turn on the charm. Your prospects have a problem, but you want to be the one to solve it.

At this point, your prospects want to get to know your company better. Who you are, what your values are and how you can solve their concrete problems. Actually, the goal at this stage is to make their life (or work!) as easy as possible.

This is the time when your educational content can get a little deeper. Longer white papers, guide with information that is not (anymore) for beginners, email courses and even webinar series with advanced tactics.

Step 3: Capturing demand

Common ways to “capture” demand include signing up for demos and free trials. These prospects hopefully convert into paying customers. Other means of demand capture include: retargeting, a product-related free training and conducting product-related webinars.

Rise of Dark Social and Demand Generation

Another reason to use demand generation is the rise of dark social. Dark social are community platforms where people help each other out of sight of marketers such as, e.g., Slack, Discord, Facebook groups, LinkedIn posts and groups.

Increasingly, this is the starting point of the customer journey. For example, when someone in a closed Facebook or Slack group asks peers for a suggestion for a LinkedIn analytics tool. YouTube is another good example of this: the supply of B2B videos is huge and also prominent in Google search results.

How do you measure the impact of demand generation and what are KPIs?

So reporting marketing qualified leads (MQLs) no longer makes much sense. Sales is not waiting for this and the “leads” are certainly not waiting for a phone call or DM from a salesperson. So what KPIs do you report?

If you use demand generation well, you will see that your brand becomes better known. You can use Google Search Console to track the number of searches on your brand name.

In addition, you will get more “hand-raisers”: people who will contact your company on their own accord. If you have sales ask them how they found you or have them answer this question via a form, you will get more insight into which demand generation tactic works best to attract these hand-raisers.

Pipeline velocity is a great way to measure the impact of demand generation. You can calculate this quarterly with your sales colleagues based on this formula:

Pipeline Velocity = (opportunities x average annual contract value x win ratio %) / (Sales cycle duration / period in days).

Example: (50 opportunities x €75,000 x 30%) / (90 days / 90 days) = €1,125,000 per quarter.

Other metrics are: numbers of followers, subscribers, mentions and podcasts you are invited to.


Before Demand Generation can be successful, you need to know your target audience well. Map out your ideal customer profile (ICP) and find out what problems they have. Then make the bridge to your solution and figure out what content and communication tools will support it.

Realize your Demand Generation campaigns based on a good understanding of your customer, distribute the content where they want to see it and then make it easy to close the deal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *