Even if you’re not a marketer, demand generation and thought leadership are two terms that absolutely need to be in your locker.
Unfortunately, they’re also two terms that are vastly overused and abused. And I’d like to put a stop to that.
So, consider this blog post your short, simple, no-BS guide to two of the most important marketing tactics in 2019.
What is demand generation?
This really is a case of ‘it does what it says on the tin’.
Demand generation is exactly that – the process of generating demand for a product or service, and it’s done so via all sorts of different channels these days.
Modern marketers employ several methods to generate demand. For instance, when it comes to content marketing (swap that for ‘inbound marketing’, if you wish), the process starts by generating awareness of the brand by giving away brilliant, helpful content.
From there, that attention is retained and increased by feeding additional, increasingly helpful content geared specifically towards that person. Eventually, it’ll lead to gated content, where the fully-engaged audience member has to hand over something (usually their email address) in order to obtain something even cooler from you.
The world is then your oyster; you’ve generated demand and can further nurture that relationship until they hit the ‘buy’ button.
What is thought leadership?
This is the process of positioning yourself or your brand (ideally, both) as an expert in a particular field or niche.
It can be done a variety of ways, from blogging to podcasts, video content and on-stage appearances at networking events.
As a thought leader, you’re willing to provide free advice and insight about a specific topic. This builds trust and admiration that, one day, might just turn into lots of sales for your business (although it’s a slow-burn process).
Why you need both
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming one of the above can exist without the other, but that simply isn’t true these days.
Without thought leadership, you can’t create demand, because cold, hard sales tactics rarely work these days.
Equally, if you don’t focus on demand generation, that thought leadership will result in nothing more than a relentless stream of free stuff given away for… nothing.
3 ways to balance demand generation and thought leadership
So, now we know why you need both, here’s how to ensure you spend adequate time on demand generation and thought leadership.
1. Write and publish regular blogs
You have no excuse for avoiding the vital task of adding regularly to your company blog.
Every week, schedule at least one thought leadership post and make sure it’s original, genuinely useful and made up of at least 500 words.
You can do this in-house if you have the time, or hire the talents of an external copywriter (you won’t have to spend a fortune – promise).
This is the corner stone of your demand generation and thought leadership strategy – don’t overlook it.
2. Come up with a brilliant piece of gated content
What does your audience really want?
You have a piece of knowledge, advice or strategy that can help them answer a burning question. Only, it’s so valuable, it’s not a good idea to simply give it away.
This idea can form the basis of your gated content. It could be an eBook, whitepaper, blog post or short video, but whatever it is, stick it behind a sign-up form on your website.
If people download this and willingly give you their email address to do so, you’ve already created demand from thought leadership. Give yourself a pat on the back.
The word ‘nurture’ might be so overused in marketing that it’s reached irritating status, but its importance can’t be underestimated.
For demand generation and thought leadership to exist comfortably within the same marketing strategy, the people who begin to engage with your audience need to be nurtured.
Think about it – they don’t know you, and you don’t know them; it’ll take time for this relationship to blossom.
So, starting from those free blogs and premium gated content, continue to build a layer of trust with the potential client by sending them regular content updates, questionnaires and temptations to visit landing pages on your site.
This is a huge topic, and one we’ll cover in more detail at some stage, but we hope we’ve given you an insight into why your business needs both thought leadership and a focus on demand generation.
Which one are you spending the least time on?