A guide to creating a successful demand generation campaign

Woman creates a successful demand generation campaign on her laptop

Successful business-to-business (B2B) marketing requires a deep understanding of your audience. B2B is a competitive space, but knowing your audience’s needs can give you a leg up. With demand generation campaigns, you learn about the problems that keep your customers up at night and offer solutions.

While demand generation can certainly produce results for your business, it requires a strategic approach. Your company may want to start a campaign, but perhaps you aren’t sure how to get started.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to know to start your first demand generation campaign. Learn what demand generation is, how it differs from lead generation, and six steps you can take to bring more customers into your marketing funnel with demand generation.

This post will discuss:

What is demand generation?

Demand generation is a marketing strategy that combines product education and storytelling. It touches on an audience’s pain points and shows how your company’s products or services directly solve those challenges.
There are five stages of demand generation:

  1. Setting goals for how many opportunities you want to source
  2. Developing buyer personas for targeting
  3. Creating content tailored to each stage of the persona’s journey
  4. Distributing content via the right channels
  5. Measuring your success

Companies that invest in demand generation use a combination of social media, content marketing, SEO, advertising, and account-based marketing to generate more demand from their target audience.

Demand generation gains the attention of your audience with content tailored to its specific needs, shared at the right place and time. The ultimate goal of demand generation is to convert demand into opportunities that you can nurture and bring through your sales pipeline.

Demand generation vs. lead generation

Demand generation is often lumped together with lead generation, but they’re two different strategies. With lead generation, your target audience is already aware of their pain point and they’re actively seeking a solution. The goal of lead generation is to capture a lead’s information and continue nurturing the relationship.

With demand generation, you’re reaching audiences that don’t know your product or service solves their pain points. Sometimes they might not even be aware that they have a problem yet. This adds the challenge of making people aware of their problem, positioning your brand as a solution, and persuading them to choose you over every other option on the market.

Demand generation is a marketing strategy that combines product education and storytelling. It touches on an audience’s pain points and shows how your company’s products or services directly solve those pain points.

How to create a demand generation campaign

Many marketers are familiar with lead generation but aren’t sure how to start a demand generation campaign. If you’re new to demand generation, follow this framework to build an effective campaign that connects you with more opportunities.

1. Initial research

First, you need a thorough understanding of your target audience’s pain points. Conduct in-depth research to:

2. Define your solution

Now that you know your audience, the next step is to clearly define your product or service as a solution. This is where you start brainstorming a few talking points that communicate the need for your product or service. There are many ways to go about this, and we’ll share a few options. The purpose of defining your solution is to align the customer’s expectations with what you have to offer.

Instead of focusing on your solution’s features, emphasize how your solution solves your audience’s biggest pain points. But don’t make yourself the hero of the story — rather, show how your solutions make the prospect’s life easier. Placing emphasis on your audience instead of your brand will keep the messaging focused on the benefits you offer, which will increase conversions.

3. Decide on the specifics

At this point, you have a big-picture idea of your demand generation campaign. Next, refine your campaign by:

Once you determine the specifics of the campaign, plug them into your marketing automation software. Assign tasks, create a content plan, and add important dates to your calendar to simplify campaign execution.

4. Create quality content

Since the goal of demand generation is to highlight a prospect’s pain points and educate them about your solutions, your content needs to be informational. The goal is to educate your audience about the problem they’re facing while subtly positioning your brand as the ideal solution.

Follow these tips to create the right types of content for your demand generation campaign.

Consider offering free reports or case studies

Quantitative data and professional reports are one of the best ways to prove your solution’s legitimacy, especially to a B2B audience. Offer heavily researched, statistic-laden content free of charge to deliver value, educate prospects on an issue, and demonstrate how your brand is the best option.

his might create a longer decision cycle because the leads need to read the report and share it with their teams. But the wait is worth it — these in-depth reports will help you find qualified leads that are the most interested in your solutions. Instead of chasing after customers who don’t have a problem you’re trying to solve, pursue leads that demonstrate the most interest in your reports.

Create your own blog and try guest blogging

Blogging is one of the most popular content channels for demand generation. Not only does it allow you to build trust by creating content consistently, but it also establishes your business as an authority on the problem you’re solving. Paired with email marketing, blogging is a great way to schedule regular touchpoints with your target audience.

Blogging on your own website is great, but writing guest posts on other blogs can extend your reach as well. If your main challenge is awareness, writing content on other authoritative sites will position your company as a thought leader. Of course, this hinges on the quality of the site where you’re guest posting. Pitch to major companies, news outlets, or websites in your industry to build credibility faster.

Utilize social media channels

Social media content is a must-have for any digital marketing campaign. As long as you promote yourself on the right social channels, you’ll have more opportunities to increase awareness — especially if you create share-worthy content for your followers.

Social media also allows for two-way conversations and gives you more opportunities to engage with your followers.

Demand generation brings more customers to your funnel by creating interest in what you’re offering.

5. Track, test, and adjust

After creating your content, it’s time to track its progress. This is where your metrics and KPIs come into play. Monitor your metrics on a regular basis to see how your audience is engaging with your content.

If you find areas that are underperforming, check your analytics to find the root cause. You might need to run an A/B test to see which changes will improve your metrics the most. Content formatting, images, buttons, and landing page layouts can have an impact on your conversion rates. If you still aren’t sure why your content is underperforming, install heat maps to identify points of friction.

6. Review the campaign

Once your demand generation campaign comes to an end, hold a post-mortem meeting with the team. It’s always a best practice to look back on a campaign, both in terms of your performance metrics and qualitative assessments, to review what you did well and what you need to improve.

Note which approaches you want to apply in future campaigns and identify opportunities for improvement. Review these notes before scheduling your next demand generation campaign so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes in the future.

Use software to help you run your demand generation campaign

Generating demand for your company’s product or solution will bring more customers into your marketing and sales funnels. But driving demand is far from easy. Not only do you need the right strategy in place, but you also need the best tools in your corner to manage everything at scale.

When you’re ready to get started, evaluate whether your current software can create and manage an effective demand generation campaign. Adobe Marketo Engage boosts engagement and growth through the power of marketing automation. Marketo Engage gives marketers a complete toolkit to deliver winning demand generation automation, from acquisition to advocacy.

Watch the Adobe Marketo Engage overview video or take an interactive tour now.