Now is the Time to Get Real About Creating Demand
B2B marketers faced with shifting buyer behaviors need to pivot their focus on strategies that generate and capture demand. With only 5% of buyers in-market for a product or solution at any given time, marketers need to find ways to not only capture the attention of that audience but also build trust and awareness among the 95% of potential buyers that aren’t ready to buy today.
As the economy continues to ebb and flow, marketers need to maintain a more persistent market presence to grow pipeline and revenue. While demand capture is critical for sales, creating demand is necessary for long-term growth and success. Now, more than ever, marketers need to balance capturing demand with creating it.
Demand Creation vs. Demand Capture
Before diving into the difference between demand creation and demand capture, let’s first look at the milestones buyers must hit before they are considered in-market.
Before buyers enter the funnel and their buying journey, they need to:
- Recognize they have a business problem
- Know that they need to solve the problem now vs. doing nothing
- Understand the value of solving the problem now vs. doing nothing
Since most of the buying journey is self-navigated and marketers don’t have the power to speak to every buyer directly to pitch a solution or make them realize they have a problem, they must acknowledge these concerns with effective demand-creation campaigns and content. Talking to buyers through problem-awareness content creates brand affinity and positions a brand as a voice of knowledge and a source they can trust when they’re ready to seek a solution.
Put simply, demand creation is “getting people to consider a solution,” and demand capture is “getting people to choose you as their solution.”
Marketers should use a demand capture strategy onward when buyers know that they have a problem and look for a solution with the intent to buy. Focus messaging around product differentiation, features, and the value proposition. Demand capture can be considered in the buying journey’s mid to lower funnel.
It’s important to understand that demand creation and demand capture are two sides of the demand generation coin. B2B marketers need campaigns that move both in-market and out-of-market buyers through the funnel. Relying solely on capturing demand is like constantly drawing water from an emptying well without waiting for the rain to replenish it. Marketers who don’t invest in creating demand won’t have any demand to capture. That’s why the best strategies balance demand creation and demand capture.
Building a Demand Creation Strategy
When building your demand creation strategies, focus on educating buyers rather than selling them you’re a solution. For example, a SaaS provider should not target sleeping buyers that aren’t in-market with product specifics; instead, focus on the milestones outlined above that buyers must hit before they are considered in-market to map how to educate them:
- Educate them on a problem
- Tell them how important it is to solve that problem now vs. doing nothing
- Show them how to solve the problem
Understanding Your Buyers and Not Directly Marketing to Them
Marketing content for demand creation campaigns should not read like marketing content. Instead, it should get buyers to consider their need for a solution, without telling them outright to choose a specific solution.
Leverage intent data and search terms to understand what in-market buyers seek and to reveal specific points that they are looking for. Then, work backward from these points to understand how they get to that search term and what problems their organizations might be experiencing. For a search term like “enterprise accounting software,” here are a few examples of what that those problems could be:
- We’re struggling with system crashing and problems backing up our data.
- We want to go paperless with our financial statements and bookings.
- We’re wasting valuable time with backlogs and not enough people.
By building content surrounding these points, the messaging should act like breadcrumbs to lead out-of-market buyers to that specific search term and change their awareness level to find a solution to a problem, successfully moving them through the buying journey.
As an added level of intelligence, historical engagement data also uncovers what previous buyers searched for and what content they engaged with. Use these insights to pressure test existing content and update it for the best effect according to buyer needs.
Informing Your Buyers on Multiple Channels
Multi-channel ABM helps marketers be where buyers are and surrounds them with consistent content and messaging in more than one place to build brand awareness and keep it top-of-mind. A multi-channel approach also helps brands build relationships with target accounts to feel more connected and trust that the solution is right for them when they’re in-market and ready to buy.
Experts agree that buyers do not want to be bombarded with a brand all over the place when they are looking into a problem. To prevent this, marketers should remove demand creation content from their product page domain and distribute content on multiple channels and formats like social media, small videos, blog posts, and podcasts. Additionally, buyers are notoriously busy and will only spend time on content they care about, so keep messaging straight to the point and in places they spend their time.
Measuring the Effects Your Demand Creation Efforts
Understanding how accounts interact and engage with content is crucial for measuring demand creation.
Track metrics such as website visits, page views, time spent, content downloads, webinar attendance, and social media interactions specific to the target accounts. Analyze the data to identify patterns and trends that indicate increasing or decreasing engagement as well as what topics and messages are resonating the most.
Measure the conversion rate of target accounts from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next. For example, track how many accounts move from initial awareness to consideration and conversion. Account movement and conversion measured through marketing automation tools, customer relationship management (CRM) systems or other analytics platforms help marketers understand the progression of these accounts through the sales funnel and identify areas of optimization.
Lastly, conduct surveys and collect feedback from the targeted accounts to gauge their perception of marketing efforts. For example, assess their level of satisfaction, brand perception, and likelihood to recommend a product or service. This qualitative data can provide valuable insights into the success of demand-creation initiatives.
Measuring demand creation is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and analysis. Combining quantitative and qualitative metrics makes it easier to understand the effectiveness of demand-generation strategies and optimize them to meet specific goals.
Get Real About Demand Creation with a Balanced Approach
Both demand creation and demand capture are vital for successful demand generation. While demand capture may seem more immediate and enticing, solely relying on it can lead to missed opportunities. By neglecting demand creation, marketers risk exhausting their resources on a limited pool of in-market buyers and missing potential accounts who are either unaware of their problems or are actively seeking solutions. A balanced approach encompassing both demand creation and capture strategies is essential to progress both out-of-market and in-market buyers through the marketing funnel and fuel pipeline growth and revenue.