Six Types of Marketing Demand Generation

In our Analytics for Marketers Slack Group yesterday, one of our members was asking who should own Google Analytics, the web manager or the demand generation manager. That raised the interesting question, what exactly does a demand generation manager do? What is a demand generation manager?

For that matter, what is demand generation? To answer the original question, we need to dig deep into what demand generation is.

What is Demand Generation?

The overly simplistic definition of demand generation is… well, generating demand. But what does that mean? How do we unpack that so it’s useful?

Let’s define demand as the incitement of awareness, consideration, evaluation, and purchase of a company’s products and services – a familiar definition, as that’s also what we call the buyer’s journey. Within that, there are six broad categories of demand:

6 categories of demand

The categories are:

  1. Recurrent demand. This is the identification of demand from existing customers. As marketers, we often completely forget that customer loyalty and repeat purchase is part of our job because we’re so focused on acquisition, but recurrent demand is vital for sustaining our marketing long-term.
  2. Branded demand. This is the identification of demand specifically for your named products and services. If you’re searching for Christopher Penn or Trust Insights, you’re fulfilling branded demand.
  3. Competitive demand. From our perspective as marketers, competitors can create demand for our category, and people looking for our competitors are still looking for a need we can also fulfill. Someone looking for, say, Accenture or Deloitte Consulting would be exhibiting competitive demand. While Trust Insights is by no means a peer competitor, that doesn’t diminish the fact that someone looking for a bigger competitor is someone we might also be able to help.
  4. Unbranded demand. This is the identification of demand for the problem we solve, but our audience hasn’t narrowed down the list of companies that provide a solution yet. Customers are still probably in the education phase of the journey, where they’re trying to understand the problem itself.
  5. Adjacent demand. Tom Webster identified this as demand that’s next to the demand we fulfill. What’s the precursor for our unbranded demand? For example, if you sold gasoline, vehicle sales would be adjacent demand – if car sales go down, gasoline sales will likely eventually go down as well. What dependencies exist for our demand, and how can we identify them and intercept customers before they’re even aware of the unbranded demand we fulfill?
  6. Created demand. This is net new demand we create as marketers for something that simply doesn’t exist. For example, Hubspot took Seth Godin’s idea of permission-based marketing from 1999 and transmuted it into inbound marketing. Over the span of 10 years and an investment of millions of dollars, Hubspot created inbound marketing and the demand for it. Tesla took the idea of the electric car, but created the status symbol electric car, and now the brand is synonymous with the status symbol electric car. Any time the brand is the category name, you see created demand – when we ask for a Kleenex or we Google for something, that’s created demand.

With this perspective on what constitutes demand, we’re now better able to answer the question of what does a demand generation manager do.

What Does a Marketing Demand Generation Manager Do?

A demand generation manager uses the strategies, tactics, and techniques of digital marketing to identify or create demand in one or more of the six categories of demand.

Which means, in turn, the question that we started with, the use of Google Analytics and who should own it, is going to be spread across multiple different roles. If we think about each of the 6 categories of demand, is there a role for Google Analytics (or any tool) in those?

  • Recurrent demand. Google Analytics is one of the best tools for identifying and measuring recurrent demand by looking at things like logged-in users, returning users, etc.
  • Branded demand. Absolutely there’s a role here, because branded demand often ends up on your website.
  • Competitive demand. By itself, no, but integrated with Google Search Console and social media, yes, Google Analytics would be helpful as a data collection and analysis point.
  • Unbranded demand. Unbranded demand that arrives as search traffic is definitely measured in Google Analytics.
  • Adjacent demand. If you’re executing content marketing well, you would pick up adjacent traffic with content about the adjacent problem to the problem you solve. Going back to the car and gas example, as a gas provider, you might blog about the most fuel efficient cars – and then you’d measure that traffic with Google Analytics.
  • Created demand. If you’re creating something net new, then you’re likely sending that traffic to your website, so Google Analytics would be something you’d use to measure created demand.

Here’s the thing: virtually every marketing technology tool that is customer-facing has some role in each of the six categories of demand. It’s straightforward to think about how you might use email, or Facebook, or direct mail, or Slack, for one or more roles in each of the types of demand.

Which means that if you’re building a marketing organization that has demand generation as a key role, and you’ve got your MarTech stack siloed by roles, you’re handicapping yourself from the beginning. What we see with a role and function like demand generation is that our MarTech stack should function like a matrix – every role will likely need some access to one or more tools in the stack, regardless of where in the customer journey that role sits.

When you lay out your marketing organization, think matrix instead of funnel, where roles and tools – people and technology – have full access to each other. Rigorous processes will help that from becoming an unmanageable tangle, but the bottom line is that people need comprehensive access to MarTech tools if you want to fully unlock the value and power of your marketing, especially when it comes to demand generation.


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