Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

How Content Marketing, Lead Gen, and Demand Gen Work Together

It seems that everywhere I go these days — client meetings, prospect meetings, networking groups — there is talk, but also confusion, about demand generation, lead generation, and content marketing and how they fit together. To be fair, it’s easy to be confused, because many folks are using each of these terms a bit differently (a quick Google search even bears this out) and, well, marketers sure do love jargon. But it’s important to get this stuff straight. Research shows that 80 percent of B2B marketers rate “generating quality leads” as the technique with the highest profit potential. But how do you generate those leads? Content marketing? Lead generation? Demand generation? Or some combination of those three?

So, I thought it might make some sense to try to clear that up a bit. You can take it as one man’s opinion, but I offer the following rundown of how I view each of these approaches and where they fit together.

Content marketing

Let’s start with content marketing. Easily the most frequently addressed topic on this blog and until just a few years ago, probably the most misunderstood of the three, content marketing’s recent step into the spotlight has led to a better definition of what it is and what it isn’t. Our good friend Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

High-quality content should be a part of EVERY piece of marketing that you do, so that makes content marketing, by nature, a part of demand generation and lead generation. In short, good luck trying to generate demand or leads without high-quality content.

Lead generation

“You can’t have a prospect if you don’t know their name.” While that seems like an obvious statement, I like to use it when speaking with groups about how content marketing can be effective, because for most B2B marketers, the “…ultimately drive profitable customer action…” portion of the content marketing definition above requires that you know who your prospect or customer is. In order to do that, you need that person to first raise his or her hand — even if only a little bit. Lead generation can be very effective, but typically requires a prospect to know they have a defined problem, seek out a solution, and step forward as an interested party when your product or service is presented. That’s when you get them to fill out a form so you can learn a bit more about them.

In classic lead generation, it’s at this point that sales usually takes over, following up with those leads — whether they are ready to talk to a salesperson or not— until they ultimately become buyers (or shut you out). Obviously, this plan can have some flaws.

At its core, lead generation is a database-building activity, capturing prospect information and connecting that prospect with sales. As such, it is heavily reliant on keeping your content and information behind things like lead capture forms. And that’s OK if your prospects already know they have a problem and look to you to help solve it.

Demand generation

Here’s where things get tricky in terms of definitions. Some will have you believe that demand generation is new, or only started when companies started licensing marketing automation software, or that you absolutely must have marketing automation in place to DO demand generation. And there are various disagreements on the definition of demand generation, how far through the buying funnel demand generation programs go, and what the exact roles of the different players may be.

So, let’s try to make this easy. I’m going to outline how successful companies address the components of demand gen, and put the whole thing in the broad bucket of a comprehensive approach. We can fight about the words later if we need to (although I’ll warn you that I’m unlikely to change my opinion).

Simply put, demand generation is all about influencing a market. It’s about creating an interest in and a market for your products or services through marketing, with the goal to make buyers more likely to buy them. Because of this, marketing programs focused on demand generation tend to have much more content “freely available” rather than locked up behind gated forms. It’s critical to influence and shape the market while they are in the research, evaluation, and opinion forming stages, before trying to convert them to a “lead.”

Demand generation is often most prevalent when your prospects don’t know they have a problem (yet), the problem isn’t important enough to merit attention (did you wake up thinking that today is the day to switch your CRM software?), or you are creating an entirely new market or entering into an undefined one.

In cases like these, you need to make the market aware that it has a problem (oh no, my CRM and all of my customer data runs on servers in a hot phone closet and that’s a bad thing?) and there are solutions to the problem. Because your buyer’s problem may be multifaceted, the more they know, the more they will become engaged in the market and industry. They then become solutions oriented, and will look to your company to provide that solution (assuming you are providing information and answers with your content). Then they fill out some type of form so we get to know something about them… and now it sounds like the lead generation step above.

Phew, that was a lot, but in my eyes we still aren’t done with our demand generation program.

Comprehensive demand generation programs also tend to treat “leads” differently than lead generation. Rather than kicking any lead over to sales, with a comprehensive demand generation program, the less qualified leads are nurtured by marketing via lead nurturing until an agreed upon time, state, or lead score on which marketing and sales have aligned. These lead nurturing programs and touch points can be varied and multifaceted, but ultimately the key is that sales and marketing are on the same page with what the programs are and when the leads are qualified and handed off. From there, leads that don’t convert are often kicked back to marketing, and in what I would view as a truly comprehensive program, those that do become customers are also put into marketing programs to create demand for renewal, upsell, cross sell, and referrals. So the way we approach demand generation is really more “full-funnel” and includes lead generation as sitting inside one step of a demand generation program.

How the three work together

At this point, it may seem overly simple, but content marketing is a key piece of both lead generation and demand generation programs. Just like Rod Stewart said Every Picture Tells a Story, every piece of content should have a purpose. Before jumping into content creation, your planning process should involve identifying your objectives and outlining the content you will use to achieve those objectives. Companies that focus on demand generation will ultimately be measured by leads and closed-won opportunities, but need very different volumes and types of content to get there compared to those focused on lead generation.

Want more information on how content marketing, demand generation, and lead generation work together? Attend our upcoming free webinar with our partner, Pardot, on Thursday, June 18 at 2pm EDT. Register today.

The post How Content Marketing, Lead Gen, and Demand Gen Work Together appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Will Davis

Right Source Marketing helps organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

Latest Stories
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.