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April 2018

Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation

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Most of sales and marketing personnel’s professional lives revolve around lead generation and demand generation. Often used interchangeably these two approaches of information exchange are co-dependent but not the same.

Demand generation v Lead generation happens to be our most confusing of jargons because due to the lack of definitions, we are nebulous about their roles.

Here is a simple difference which is at the core of these two functions:

The chief function of demand generation is to create market awareness and brand recall/association. In this, content is freely given out without having to fill forms with personal details like phone, email, job title etc. Different content is to be created and spread for various levels of the buyers’ journey to successfully associate the brand with an idea and as a first step of penetrating newer markets.

Lead generation on the other hand moves further from the ‘awareness’ phase to the ‘interest phase’. Here any content disbursed in the market comes with strings attached (read: info like email, phone, job, interest etc). Any viable potential customer shall wilfully part with their information for content which is valuable and not freely available in the market. This campaign is highly dependent on successive quality, no one shall share their data or might even block companies from contacting them again.

Lead generation and Demand generation are based on easily digestible, knowledge parting content which connects with its audience instantly.

In the funnel ‘AIDA’ viz awareness, interest, desire, acquisition; Lead generation (interest) should always be following Demand generation (awareness). Any reversal in this strategy causes a less than favourable RoI situation for your marketing campaigns.

Challenges of Marketers

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Marketing – the function which founds the cornerstone of an effective outreach of an organisation, happens to be one of the most burdened, poorly funded, top heavy, pressured department of a company. Generally led by highly qualified individuals whose brilliance rarely trickles down to the ‘on-ground’ staff; the reasons for which are manifold – incoherent messaging, undefined roles, idealogical silos, unclear roles and their expected outcomes.

Often compared and confused with sales – marketing receives less than half the training, focus and defined boundaries of sales department. Sales people are nurtured, trained to perform very specific roles and are given adequate exposure to hone their skills before being put on the grinding stone, so to speak. Marketers barely move a level above from the bare minimum training and knowledge transfer.

Lacking staff & budget: Marketing teams are a compilation of every available skill set rather than all desirable ones. Teams or put together, made of people with basic knowledge of their domains who are then expected to ‘learn-on-the-fly’. Money and talent are big hurdles, and a well thought out execution of initial planning can go a long way to improve on this teething trouble.

Poor implementation of ideas: After every ‘brain-storming’ session – one which leaves all involved grinning with a sense of importance and focus, the execution of such plans is sadly but often the worst aspect of the entire exercise. Poor feedback, follow-up, campaign design and implementation are hurdles which break the axle of this heavy vehicle. Individual roles and KRAs if fixed are a step in the right direction to achieve better results.

Lack of insight: Although not openly accepted, lack of insight and clarity of their target market creates major challenges for marketing teams. Incoherent messaging, lacklustre response, depleting market mindshare are all resultant of this very basic problem. A properly designed ‘Go To Market’ strategy is essential rather vital for framing a working pattern – one which achieves desired results. Finding the RPC and buying centre sweet-spots can vastly alter the RoI of marketing efforts.

Keeping up with Marketing Trends: This system is never perfected but one of the most sought after ventures within any organisation. No organisation, not even your behemoths, can be on top of all aspects, avenues, methods of market outreach. It is imperative for a good marketing mix to indulge as many various channels as it can accommodate, but focus should be clear on an essential few keeping your target market(s) in view. Some markets are more susceptible to information shared socially, visually or via a 1v1 conversation. This distinction is vital to generate a cycle of interested parties interested in more knowledge share with your sales team. Barking up the wrong tree can be exhausting but unnecessary.

Proving ROI: How do we quantify effort? for techies, HR personnel and even sales people it is pretty tangible and evident in one form of black and white or the other. But the sheer size of marketing activity makes it impossible to judge, with mathematical precision, the impact of campaigns. Volume, Quality, Timing, Geography, Demography, Cadence and many other factors determine the value of a marketers effort. And so many free variables are a daunting task for a skilled mathematician, so how will the pitiful marketing executive feel in face of this commotion. It takes persistence and more importantly profound patience with continuous guidance and course correction to come out with positives from the vicissitudes of the market. Only long-term well funded marketing plans reap results, otherwise reference sales is your go to answer. 5 challenges (1)