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B2B Demand Generation: Building awareness for your products & services

You have two options when you first start to detangle the key differences between lead generation and demand generation. You can start reading dense marketing theory to deepen your understanding, or learn different tactics for your demand gen arsenal. We’re the type of people who think ‘learn by doing’ works best, so we have collected some of the best demand generation tactics you can use for your B2B marketing.  

Before we get started, be sure to read this refresher on the key differences between demand generation and lead generation.

Demand generation marketing tactics 

Content marketing 

Creating content (like blog articles) can convert curious browsers into leads. But your content’s value shouldn’t rest solely in its ability to drive conversions. Rather, blog posts written by your team can provide even greater lifetime value for your brand. You can demonstrate authority within your industry or that you’re up to date on current concerns and trends in your market.  

The benefit of blog content is that it can be relatively low cost, if you have the right talent in-house. You can also easily edit and update, benefit from the ‘SEO juice’ it adds to your website, and share it across social media and via email newsletters.

There are other types of content that can perform similarly to blog articles. They can in fact be even more useful in terms of driving engagement and demonstrating expertise, but their production requires more resources and time. They include: 

  • Educational/instructive videos 
  • White paper  
  • Case studies 

Rather than thinking of content types as an either/or decision, you can plan your content calendar with a mix of all. This will not only offer variety to your audience, but also give you a better sense of what your audience actually wants to see by tracking your content’s performance. 

Free tool creation  

Creating content is one way to create awareness of your brand, but while we can hope that a blog or video sparks engagement, this type of content generally prompts passive interaction from your audience. Another option is creating a free tool related to your offering.  

If you were using a free tool as an incentive for lead generation, you would gate it so users are required to submit their email address to access it. However, as the goals of demand generation are different, you would not gate your tool. If popular enough to be shared, curious users want to find out more about your brand. Think of the free tools from Yoast to check SEO title lengths or the free MailChimp tier—only a certain percentage of users will ever convert to Premium Users, but your goal isn’t necessarily to get people to convert. It’s to get more and more people familiar with your brand.  

Nevertheless, given the resources involved in creating a tool, it can be a tough sell. If you can’t thread the needle of ‘easy-to-make yet very useful’, consider repurposing tools (or parts of tools) you already have. 

Event marketing 

Event marketing can function similarly to content marketing in terms of how it builds your brand’s authority. Simply being at a high-profile event can make you seem more trustworthy and established. But that’s not all event marketing is good for. Whether in-person or online, your participation at an event puts your brand in front of a lot of new eyes. Given that the key to demand generation is creating awareness and interest, this is exactly what you want.  

Event marketing is not simply showing up. You should put care and resources into your presentation, booth and/or take-home materials. Even if demand generation is a major goal, lead generation will occur as well. Have a plan in place for those who do want to engage with you (LinkedIn QR codes handy, etc) and also plan an email funnel to be in contact new connections as well. 

Take note of factors that will influence the types of events that will be most beneficial to you. Many industries have traditionally relied heavily on in-person trade shows, but the pandemic has required that everyone adapt their events to a virtual space. Even if online events have fewer attendees, that doesn’t mean they’re inherently less valuable. Record the event, and you can use your session for content marketing purposes. And, because conversations around an event often take place online, you’ll also benefit from the online cross-promotion of other sessions leaders and attendees.  

Partnership content & influencer marketing 

How do you raise awareness and interest in your brand once you’ve exhausted your network? You use someone else’s. This can be through paid/in-kind partnerships (such as influencer marketing) wherein a relevant person with a significant audience talks about your offering.  

You can also write guest posts, speak at another company’s events, appear on podcasts, or get involved in professional networks to put your brand name out there. If your time is in short supply but funds are not, you can also sponsor events to put your brand name out there. Generally, sponsorship is tiered by price and exposure level—the cost of putting your logo larger than everyone else’s and in more places will cost more than a quick thank you before a live session.  

Is demand generation worth it? 

Demand generation metrics and KPIs can be hard to quantify. Its goals—awareness and interest—are harder (though not impossible) to measure. It can be difficult for smaller teams to justify demand generation tactics that require resources to produce without those hard metrics, but they do still prove useful. As shown above, demand generation can in fact be a secondary or tertiary benefit to other activities you’re already undertaking. It just takes a slight shift in perspective to figure out how to maximize their utility for demand generation.  

Need help with your demand generation strategy? Talk to our team! Our full-service StoryBrand agency, located in Vancouver, BC, can help with a range of services that strengthen your brand.