Demand Generation is the combination of traditional outbound marketing, inbound traffic capture, growth hacking, SEO, and so on.

The Hierarchy of Effects

Demand generation is fundamentally a study of psychology: the mental processes potential customers go through as they become aware of a company, their offerings, and eventually the actions they hopefully take to purchase products.

Successful demand creation should lead directly to increased revenue. There is a mental sequence people usually go through:
  1. Unaware of your company, product, etc
  2. Gain awareness of your existence
  3. Knowledge
  4. Liking your product
  5. Preference for your offering
  6. Conviction
  7. Purchase

The reason to be aware of these stages is that a successful demand generation strategy will move potential customers down this sequence and prime them to move farther forward down the chain in the future.

Three Aspects of Demand Generation

These 7 steps can be broken down into 3 overall aspects: Awareness, Consideration, and then Action. Each aspect should prime the customer for future steps, for instance, as part of awareness you could let the customer know you have an easy 1-step checkout, thus helping prime a final purchase.

Message Consistency is Critical

A critical aspect of demand generation, especially over time, is consistency. Like most things, people won’t remember something with only a single exposure. When people are introduced to your brand for the first time, they may take only passing notice. If each exposure to your brand provides a different and especially a conflicting message, it’s unlikely they will make a connection or association and your efforts may be wasted.

It’s important to also consider the context of your message. The surrounding context in which they discover or rediscover your brand will become associated with the brand itself. The more coherent the surrounding context and your brand message, the more likely that it will be understood and reinforced.

Using Tools Properly.

A common mistake for companies (especially small ones) is to attempt to use only one tool for all aspects of demand generation. For instance, small firms might use just content marketing or just PR to drive demand. This is due to three forces: lack of awareness of more effective approaches, lack of energy/resources for more sophisticated approaches, or an organization that simply isn’t able to scale easily to meet demand anyway.

Whatever tools a company uses, it’s important to understand that even using the same tool, such as social media or content marketing, the use of that tool should be different across the different stages.

For instance, content marketing for awareness might be a set of articles meant to be funny or weird in order to go viral. These pieces of content may not drive sales directly, but would be a perfect opportunity to drop tracking cookies on user’s computers for future re-marketing campaigns. Then the next article could be pushed to those users helping drive liking and then consideration.

Next Steps

Take a look at what you are doing for marketing and think about where each thing you do fits in the 7 step chain. If you aren’t sure where each item fits (and it can fit more than one, but probably not all of them at once) then that’s worthy of review. Also consider that the chain is complete: do you have tools working at all 7 levels to drive demand? Do you have a way fo tracking how far people get down the chain?

Answering these questions will improve your demand generation efforts and help you grow your business.