Five Demand Generation Strategies for 2021
A new year is here, and that means it’s time to nail down your demand generation strategy.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends 2020 Annual Report, only 52% of respondents felt their organization provided customers with optimal experiences across their engagement journey.
That means there’s a whole lot of opportunity being left on table — especially when it comes to demand generation.
Let’s take a look at demand generation, and what key trends you should be focusing on when building your demand generation strategy for 2021.
What’s Demand Generation?
Demand generation is what happens before lead generation. The goal is to warm up the audience of potential buyers. Its function is to create awareness and demand for your products and services. You want people to get to know your company, while also establishing trust and confidence in your expertise.
In its simplest form, demand generation is content marketing for a specific purpose (create interest) and includes:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media posts
- Press releases
Content shared for the purpose of demand generation should always be no strings attached — free to the audience, and not requiring anything, like an email address, in return.
Demand Generation Strategies for 2021
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the best laid plans can be upended in a heartbeat. The needs of potential customers are rapidly evolving, so the only way to have a strategy that works is to know exactly what your potential customers really want and need right now.
Here are five strategies to consider when building your demand generation strategy for the coming year.
#1. Take a Stand
There’s an old saying from Mr. Rogers about how when things are scary, people should “look for the helpers”. Ask yourself — how is your company a helper?
After the highly unpredictable year of 2020, people are becoming more socially conscious than ever — and they want the businesses they choose to patronize to hold the same social values as they do.
According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update, Coronavirus quickly began to show signs of eroding trust between consumers and businesses. People are looking for companies to show their integrity and ability to respond to the needs of their customers.
Consumers want to know what your company stands for. How are you being a helper to the community at large? How do your company values align with the potential customers you want to target?
Here in 2021, companies need to answer these questions, and create demand generation content that reflects and shares that messaging.
#2. Amplify with Podcasting
With so many people working from home and spending less time out and about, they’re looking for new distractions.
While podcasting has been on the rise for years, 2020 saw the most podcast listeners ever, at over 105 million active monthly users — more than double the listeners in 2015.
What is it about podcasts that has them continually becoming more and more popular?
When it comes to marketing budgets, podcasts offer strong ROI. They’re generally a lower cost to produce than video, and it takes less steps (and time) to create the finished content.
As far as demand generation goes, podcasts give your brand an actual voice, and a more intimate and engaging way to connect with a broader audience. From the consumer side, they offer a completely no-commitment way to get to know your company.
Podcasts can also increase your site traffic, although generally that shouldn’t be the primary focus when deciding to create one.
#3. Leverage Multichannel Marketing
Potential buyers want both accessibility and visibility from the companies they do business with, so a multichannel demand generation strategy is a must.
Gone are the days of relying on your website to do all the work. Technology is evolving, and consumers are always exploring new channels, so using a multichannel marketing strategy will make purchasing as easy as possible for your customers.
If you want strong demand generation, in person, online, and social media platforms should all be part of your strategy — in addition to any other place your target customers may be found.
People interacting with your brand will expect consistency from their customer experience, regardless of where the interaction occurs. A multichannel strategy ensures you’re caring for each customer touchpoint and that each piece of the strategy works together.
One of the biggest upsides of multichannel marketing is that it gives you the opportunity to reach a broader audience. Each channel you include in your strategy represents valuable data, which gives you a more comprehensive view into the customer journey.
The more data you can gather about who your audience is and what they’re looking for, the better you can meet their needs.
#4. Give Away the Good Stuff
When you look at the demand generation content you’re providing to potential customers, are you holding back?
Often companies are tempted to hold on to their “best” content until they feel they’ve hooked a prospect, but in 2021, with consumers having more options than ever, you can’t afford to be precious about what you share.
You don’t need to give away trade secrets or proprietary information, but you DO need to consider the value of what you’re providing. Can they get the exact same thing you’re offering from someone else? What makes your spin on a topic different from your competitors?
The goal of demand generation is to start warming up those potential customers, but if they aren’t seeing anything compelling in what you’re offering for free, they may skip your company altogether.
By giving away valuable content, you’re building trust and rapport, which makes them more likely to return to your website or social media.
#5. Invest in Your Tools and Content Creation
Even the best demand generation strategy isn’t guaranteed to be successful if you don’t have the right skills and people to execute it.
Content creation requires not just writing skills, but also an understanding of how each piece of content supports overall goals. You need writers who understand everything from search engine optimization to when to use different forms of content. If you don’t have someone internally, outsourcing content is a common practice for many companies.
When it comes to the tools and platforms you use, there are at least a few that are considered standard for companies. If you want your demand generation to be effective, you should at least have:
- An email marketing platform.
- A website or landing page to send people to connect with you and to make your content available.
- At least one social media account so you can share content and news about your company.
Making Your Demand Generation a Success for 2021
To be successful with your demand generation in 2021, there’s one thing your company will need above anything else — flexibility.
Even the best demand generation strategy may have to change as the year unfolds, focusing on a few key areas to improve your results as opposed to trying to do everything at once will allow you room to shift as needed.
Is your company looking to create a demand generation strategy that addresses the specific needs of your business?
Accelaris can help you improve results with a demand generation strategy designed to help your company thrive in a digital world.
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With over 20 years of experience, Michelle Evans knows marketing. In 2012, after a successful 16-year career in global marketing strategy at Microsoft, she launched her consultancy, which eventually evolved into Accelaris.
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