Despite marketing’s reputation as an imprecise field (or ‘magic’ as some people charitably call it), hard numbers are inescapable. As we explain in our Five Unskippable Steps for Effective Marketing, it’s critical that you set solid, quantifiable goals to achieve with your marketing efforts. That of course means measuring your results to see if you’ve met those goals.
However, this can prove difficult when it comes to demand generation. Demand generation (as opposed to lead generation) is all about reaching people who don’t know they have a problem your products or services solve. If we think about this in terms of a marketing funnel, it’s creating an awareness of an issue and positioning your brand as the solution for your primary goal, with education around what your brand actually does as a secondary goal. While metrics for demand generation are a little more difficult to quantify than say, lead generation, it’s not impossible.
Here are just some of the ways you can measure the success of your demand generation strategies.
Engagement Metrics: How are people interacting with your demand generation activities?
In our guide to different demand gen tactics, content marketing stands out as one of the best methods of generating demand. Through blog articles, podcast appearances, or other content, you can reach new people to raise awareness of issues you happen to solve. Metrics like page views, where people navigate to the page from, or whether anyone is sharing or commenting on your content are all great ways to get both qualitative and quantitative information about the success of your content. The types of metrics you can check are:
- Shares or tags on a social post can help you measure of how much readers value your content. But watch out, getting ‘ratioed’ for a bad take is not a positive outcome despite high engagement.
- Comments on your content will give you a qualitative idea of how people are responding to your content: e.g. whether they like it, don’t like it, agree, or disagree.
- Length of visit, user acquisition, and bounce rate (in Google Analytics) also demonstrate how valuable and/or engaging users might find your content.
Creating engaging, educational content is helpful in two ways. Firstly, it will generate demand for those reading it, but its popularity can also help build domain authority. The more authority your website has, the higher it will rank in search engines. This will lead curious potential customers who are searching for solutions you offer (but may have no awareness of your brand) to your website before your competitor’s. A great tool to use is Ahrefs, which allows you to track your page rankings and domain authority.
Remember: Remain Curious About Your Customers’ Journeys
The marketing funnel is a very useful model for understanding the general stages a customer goes through. In reality, we know the actual process is not quite so linear. Different customers go through the funnel in different orders, often repeating or backtracking stages. And no stage lasts the same amount of time for everyone. In Google Analytics, ‘conversion paths’ give us better perspective on this journey. The full instructions about how to do so can be found here. Importantly, you can view the number of touchpoints needed to bring people to a specific page, which is helpful for measuring campaign success. If your customers need fewer touchpoints before becoming leads, then you know how effective your demand generation tactics are.
Don’t Ignore Qualitative Information
We all love business apps that generate reports for us. But we’ve almost forgotten that there are other ways to gather information. When it comes to turning assumptions about your customers’ journeys into facts, why not just ask?
There are few B2B purchase processes that don’t involve personal contact, so simply make it part of business as usual. There’s nothing better than qualitative, in-person conversations to find out where and how customers first found out about your brand, and what made them interested in purchasing. But you also need to understand how they first came to realise they had a problem. Remember, a key part of understanding demand generation is recognising that awareness of a problem and awareness of your brand are separate parts of the customer journey. Both are important to know!
While this information can be found out casually during sales conversations (as long as the process of recording and reporting the information is formalized) there are other methods such as surveys, or more formal post-engagement meetings. These are particularly important if you’re investing in offline demand generation tactics.