5 Tips for Newbies to Become Pros at Demand Marketing
I have been immersed in the world of marketing for nearly 15 years. In that time, I have seen trends come and go, technologies burn bright and then fade away, and experts rise to prominence and fall off the radar. What has stayed consistent, though, are the motivations behind marketing: to build brands, enhance visibility, and grow profits. But although the goals have stayed the same, they have never been harder to accomplish -- in the vast sea of content being published every day, it’s challenging to create content that stands out as memorable and useful.
Enter Demand Marketing.
Although Demand Marketing might be a new term, there is nothing all that ‘new’ about it. Rather, it is the pulling together (finally) of tried-and-true methods of acquiring customers and gaining influence into a cohesive strategy, updated to fit the incredible technical resources modern marketers have at their disposal. Let’s explore.
What is Demand Marketing?
Simply put, Demand Marketing looks like this:
Content Marketing + PR + Social Media = Demand Marketing
What Demand Marketing does have in common with other types of marketing is its purpose: to grow your business and, ultimately, your bottom line. But what sets a Demand Marketer apart from their peers is that they go about marketing in a thoughtful, strategic way with an eye on the long-term. Demand Marketers favor sustainability over making a one-time splash and will focus on developing a strong foundation of assets like your brand, loyal customers, a pipeline of highly-qualified leads, an active community, and influence.
The difference between Demand Marketing and ‘trendy’ marketing is the difference between having influence and ‘going viral’; between want for a product and true need; between sound bites and stories. It’s about bigger, deeper concepts of trust, desire, and connections built on a shared ‘why’.
The basis of Demand Marketing -- regardless of who you are and what you sell -- is compelling, thought leadership-driven content and third party validation through storytelling, customer advocacy and influence. What will change, though, from business to business are the tactics that you use based on what fits with your overall strategy, from email marketing to experiential marketing.
And it all starts with well-defined goals...
Tip #1: Know Your Goals and Motivations
Spoiler: “I want to be in TechCrunch because TechCrunch (duh)” is not a valid goal or motivation. Sorry.
The first step in defining goals for a Demand Marketing strategy is actually to take a step back (a big step back) and get clear on your business’ ‘why’. Why did you start this company? Why did you choose to build this specific product? Why is it important? This is the starting point from which all your strategy flows: it allows you to create a compelling story; it is the foundation for relationships based on a shared ‘why’; it is what sets you apart as a thought leader.
This broader motivation can help inform your more specific motivations for marketing, which will be the foundation for your goals. In the case of Demand Marketing, you will need to define goals for each of the three core elements: content marketing, PR, and social media. Each of these goals should be measurable and should be justified by a connection to your overall strategy.
Tip #2: Don’t Do Everything, Do What Makes Sense
Within each of three main activities of Demand Marketing there are hundreds of different tactics that you can use. Having a firm grasp on your goals is crucial if you want to avoid what I like to call “shiny object syndrome”, where you get distracted by activities that don’t meaningfully move your business forward.
may will have to adjust your playbook over time, start by choosing a handful of channels and tools that you think will support your goals. For example, if you are in a niche industry (ex: medical tech), you might choose to pursue coverage in industry journals, as opposed to tech blogs. If you work in a highly visual industry, you may choose to invest in Instagram and Pinterest as your social media channels, before expanding. Make a commitment to review your chosen tactics after a few months and adjust course if you aren’t seeing results.
Tip #3: Promote With Purpose
Ask yourself “why am I promoting this?” If your answer is simply “because I want more people to know about my product and buy it”, you are missing the point of Demand Marketing. Demand Marketing is about building relationships:
- Content marketing is about building trust by producing quality, useful content for your audience
- Successful PR comes from building rapport with members of the media and key influencers
- Social media is a tool for engaging in conversations with your community
Your promotion efforts should directly connect to the basic definition of Demand Marketing: thought leadership-driven content and third party validation through storytelling, customer advocacy, and influence.
Tip #4: Use the Content Special Sauce
The recipe for the secret sauce is simple: one part ‘interesting’ and one part ‘valuable.’
The first step towards creating content that will capture your audience’s attention and meet their needs is to get to know what they are looking for. This means understanding your customers at the most fundamental level, namely their behaviours, habits, preferences, and needs. A great way to do this is to conduct a quick survey of your existing subscribers and followers (perhaps incentivizing them to provide feedback by offering a free download or a discount code) to gauge what they would like to see more and less of.
The second step towards creating compelling content that stands out from the competition is to figure out what that competition is doing. Conduct an in-house survey of other blogs and competing companies that publish content in your space. Determine what type of content they are creating (articles, white papers, ebooks, etc.), what topics they cover, and, most importantly, what topics they aren’t covering that your audience is looking for (see step one!).
Tip #5: A.B.M.A.S.O. - Always Be Measuring Against Strategic Objectives
Ok, maybe our acronym game needs a bit of work, but you get the idea. One of the beautiful things about Demand Marketing is that it blends old-school business values -- like a focus on relationship-building -- with modern, technology-facilitated agility. If an element of your marketing strategy isn’t providing an acceptable ROI, it’s time to make a change before you spend another cent on it. The only way you’ll know that it isn’t moving the needle forward is if you are constantly measuring your efforts against specific goals and strategic objectives.
Before You Go, We Have Something For You...
Now that we have sufficiently piqued your interest in Demand Marketing, we have a little free gift to help continue your education: The Definitive Guide to Demand Marketing. In this guide, we break down all the steps -- large and small -- to creating your Demand Marketing strategy and give you the 10 Commandments of Demand Marketing.
Download your copy and tweet us @Onboardly to let us know what you think!