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demand generation (demand gen)

Demand generation (demand gen) is an umbrella term for customer acquisition initiatives that are designed to drive awareness and interest about a company’s product or service in order to attract qualified leads. The term demand generation is frequently used in business to business (B2B) and business to government (B2G) account-based marketing (ABM) initiatives.

Demand generation requires a well-defined and systematic process that allows marketing and sales teams to work together to guide prospective customers through the sales cycle. In B2B and B2G marketing, there is a growing need for sales and marketing teams to engage all levels of a buying team instead of focusing demand gen efforts solely on senior, C-level titles as was done in the past. Today, the average purchase decision involves at least a half-dozen decision-makers and influencers across the account. A key part of demand generation, especially in IT procurement, is to understand the source and activity history of a particular lead, as well as that of other contacts on his or her buying team.

Unlike lead generation initiatives in the past, which simply focused on getting random prospective customers to submit information that sales team members could follow up on, demand generation initiatives have a systematic process that involves lead scoring. Marketers and sales teams work together to develop a communication plan that will nurture qualified leads, generate additional qualified leads and improve conversion rates.

Popular demand gen tools for reaching sales qualified and marketing qualified leads online include:

Contextual advertising – targets advertising to what a user has searched for or viewed online in an effort to tie ads the user sees to demonstrated interests.

Direct email marketing – uses purchase intent data to determine which message will meet the needs of a particular contact.

Infographics - presents information in a graphic format that is designed to make the data easily understandable at a glance.

Native advertising – integrates marketing content with a website or service in such a way that it is not distinct from the rest of the material in terms of its content, format, style or placement. 

Social media marketing - creates content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. 

Webinars – creates educational, informative or instructional presentations that are made available online, usually as either video or audio with slides. 

This was last updated in January 2017

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