Businesses all over the world strive to convert brand awareness into customer conversions and profits, but marketing and customer service efforts are only as effective as the principles that are driving them. Demand generation is the strategy that helps B2B and B2C companies create reliable brand interest that translates directly to high quality leads.
Gordon Ferris, Director of Growth Marketing at Marin Software, shares significant insight to help us understand the principles that will define the success of demand generation strategies in 2023 and beyond. With more than a decade of experience in search, social media, and ecommerce marketing, Gordon generously explains the key tenets of demand generation that every marketer must understand to succeed in both B2B and B2C companies.
The Core Tenets of Demand Generation
Understand Your Brand
Most brands believe they know what they stand for in a general sense but this does not always translate into effective messaging. A major reason for this disconnect is not knowing how the brand is perceived within the minds of internal and external stakeholders. Each brand makes a promise to their customers and these promises must be ratified through consistent, concrete behaviors. Businesses that successfully communicate their marketing messages consistently have seen a 33% rise in overall revenue.
Gordon shares that businesses must “understand the power of their product and what makes their brand unique because this is what people will respond to. This needs to be actively pushed through across marketing activities and channels.”
Understand Your Customer
Once a business defines the promise it makes to its customers, it needs to understand how those promises relate to each customer segment’s needs. Marketing can be viewed as one-way communication from a brand to its customers, but successful demand generation requires more than that. Businesses should actively collaborate and engage with customers to collect customer insights to better define and meet their needs. This can also help businesses create brand advocates that further amplify a business’ message through organic communication.
Even if businesses want to listen to their customers, it can be challenging to define what they’re looking for. Gordon explains how businesses can break down a customer’s needs into two distinct categories. “Businesses need to identify a customer’s rational and emotional needs. Rational needs relate to the functional needs and attributes they want from your product. This can be quality, variety, efficiency, saving time, reducing cost and effort, and more. Emotional needs, on the other hand, relate to how your customers want to feel when interacting with your product. This could be a customer feeling confident or enjoying exclusivity through the ownership or use of your product.”
Understand Your Product Positioning
In an ideal world, the relationship between a brand and its customer would be enough to translate effective communication into active demand. However, brands don’t exist in a vacuum. Competing services, products, and brands present constant challenges. This has led to almost three quarters of people actively avoiding advertising with the use of ad blockers or other tools. To avoid overwhelming the customer, businesses must position themselves as a partner customers can trust.
Gordon adds that “positioning can only be done appropriately when businesses know their brand and all its components. They also need to understand the competitors they share space with. Marketers should ask questions such as what are some of the brands in your direct category? What brands fall just outside the category, but have an overlap or affinity with your customers? Analyze competitor brand positioning; how do they want to be perceived by their customers?”
How to Generate Demand Effectively in 2023 and Beyond
According to Gordon, “Once you do those first three steps of understanding your brand, your customers, and your positioning, then you get into tactics and the tactics become easier.”
The principles listed above should apply across all demand generation activity. They can help businesses be more proactive in learning about their customers, themselves, and their competitors.
Remain Authentic to Your Customers
Authenticity has been cited by 88% of customers as an important factor in determining whether they like and will support a brand. Even if marketing messages have a proven track record of success with a customer base, if the brand that is sharing those messages doesn't believe it, it will not resonate with customers. Businesses should identify and amplify the messages that lie in the overlap of the brand’s beliefs and the customer’s needs.
Learn to Make the Most of First-Party Data in a Cookieless World
Businesses have been trying to phase out the use of third-party cookies as major browsers and search engines ditch the information-gathering method in favor of first-party data. However, a staggering 83% of marketers still rely on third-party cookies to learn about their customers. Businesses must learn to extract actionable insights from the information they already have or are able to gather.
Gordon explains that “once someone is on your site, you need to make the most of that engagement. Allow your customers to find what they’re looking for, but at the same time, by the way they click or navigate your site, find what’s important to them.”
Make it as Easy as Possible for Your Customers to Buy into Your Messaging
Marketers can sometimes overlook the needs of the average customer when designing messages that seem eloquent to their own eyes. While there is value in including flair in a brand’s marketing, it should always be accessible and easily understood by the business’ most important customers – and the message must connect to the priorities of the intended audience.
Businesses should actively “create bite-sized paths that are addressing specific value propositions or questions that your customers might have for your product or the industry you’re in,” shares Gordon.
With MarinOne, businesses can gather information about how well each message is resonating with their customers, learn what their customers are actually interested in, and how their competitors are faring with different marketing tactics and messages.
To learn more about how MarinOne can help you reach your audiences more effectively, request a free demo of our solution now.