Mind Readings: Demand Interception Versus Demand Generation

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Mind Readings: Demand Interception Versus Demand Generation

In this episode, let’s talk about the difference between demand generation and demand interception – and why it matters.

Mind Readings: Demand Interception Versus Demand Generation

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Christopher Penn 0:15

In today’s episode, let’s talk about demand interception.

So we have this concept in marketing called demand generation.

And it’s pretty straightforward what it is right? You’re trying to create demand for your product or service you’re trying to essentially stimulate interest in and an eagerness to buy your product or service, particularly where it doesn’t exist yet, hence, you’re generating demand.

The challenge with demand generation is that it is a lengthy and expensive process.

And here’s why.

There are really four phases of demand.

Right? Dan Kennedy came up with this in back in the 70s, I think, when he was talking a lot about direct marketing, its problem impact, general solution specific solution, and we like to jokingly called pigs what’s the problem is, is the customer even aware that there’s a problem? If they are aware of the problem? Do they understand the impact of the problem? If they don’t do anything about it? Right? What’s the general solution to the problem? And then what’s the specific solution and the specific solution is hopefully our products and services.

So let’s say you’re hungry, right? You understand this problem, at least you understand the impact of the problem.

If you don’t eat, your blood sugar drops, and all sorts of things, you generally know that eating will solve that problem.

That’s a general solution.

And then the specific solution is, what am I going to eat? Am I going to go to a fast food restaurant, sit down restaurant, cook something at home, and so on and so forth? Pretty straightforward.

The reason why demand generation is so challenging is because you have to walk somebody through up to all four stages to create demand, right? If we’re assuming that demand doesn’t exist, you have to convince somebody they have a problem, you have to convince them that that problem is important enough to do something about it, particularly if there are limited funds available.

And they have to choose between solving a problem they didn’t know they had versus the other things that are on their plate, you have to convince them that a solution to the problem exists.

And then you have to convince them that you are that specific solution that they’re looking for.

So what’s demand interception? Well, demand interception is essentially looking at each of those four stages and saying where is their capacity for us to play a role and essentially, intercept demand, as opposed to trying to create it from nothing.

So we see this in disciplines like SEO, very frequently.

Your specific solution maps pretty well to what’s called branded organic search.

Someone is searching for you by name, right? They know there’s a problem.

They know what the impact of the problem is.

They know this is a general solution.

And this they’ve already settled on you as a specific solution.

They are searching for you by name.

Somebody looking for marketing analytics help is googling for Trust Insights by name, right.

That’s the easiest level of demand to intercept.


Frankly, if you don’t intercept it, your marketing is gone.

A lot of problems.

Taking a step back from there, the general solution that somebody might be looking for be, you know, analytics consulting firm, right, that we call that unbranded search and SEO.

How do you intercept unbranded search? Well, in an SEO, you create content, and then hopefully that content ranks well enough for those terms that you lead people to you.

And then as they understand the general solution, then you are the natural specific solution.

taking another step back from there, what’s the problem and the impact? Well, this is what we would call adjacent search.


So if you are searching for analytics consulting firm, before you did that, you had to understand that you had a problem with your analytics, right? So you were googling for things like, you know, Google Analytics sessions versus pageviews.

Or why is my Google Analytics wrong or something along those lines? And that unbranded that different flavor of unbranded search is earliest stages of demand when someone’s trying to figure out what the problem is, and what the impact of it is someone googling for what is Google Analytics would be a great example of this.

And so, demand interception means that instead of trying to create demand for problem that someone may or may not have, if we know the stages that somebody goes through In the quest to solve their problem, we can then look at our efforts and say, how well are we intercepting demand for each of these stages? Right? How good is our branded organic search? How good is the social media? This

Christopher Penn 5:15

would map to people who were having conversations directly with you? Right? How good is our direct engagement? How? How often our customers sliding into our DMS as a silly example, right? That’s would be an example of that from social media, you have a specific solution, someone’s reaching out saying, hey, I need help with this.

The general solution would again, be somebody going and following, you know, five or six different companies, you and your competitors, or asking on a social network, hey, does anybody know anyone who you could recommend for X, whatever x is, whatever your your services.

Before that you have people talking about the problem itself in your LinkedIn groups, or on Slack or in discord and things like that.

The, in those cases, you’re looking for people asking questions about the problem itself, like, hey, has anybody ever noticed that it’s, you know, my sessions or my pageviews in Google Analytics aren’t even remotely close to each other? What’s going on with that? That would be a case where somebody has identified a problem, and they might even be trying to figure out the impact of it.

So how do you do demand interception? Well, as you can see, as we talk about different channels, like search, or social media, or email marketing, if you map out the interactions you have with people, you can figure out where your marketing fits in each of those stages, the problem impact general solution specific solution.

And you then look at the amount of results you’re getting from your marketing and each of those channels.

For example, how much business does brand organic search drive? How much direct response from your emails, does that drive? How much business do you get out of your DMS in on social media channels.

When you do that, you get a very clear picture of what your demand interception capabilities are.

And you also learn where you’ve got some shortfalls where you’ve got things that are not working as well as they should.

And that gives you the hint you need as to where you need to bolster your capabilities, right? If nobody is ever asking about trying to understand the problem, maybe you might have a product marketing problem, right, you might have a problem that, in the sense of you’ve created a solution for a problem nobody has right and you have a product market fit problem.

The easiest way to get a handle on your demand interception capabilities and to steward people through the process of creating demand is through communities.

Right? If you, for example, if you join my free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, and you can see it’s a Slack group with about 2400 people in there.

What that does is it allows us to see the different stages of demand.

Somebody’s asking, Hey, can anybody tell me if you’ve succeeded that you’re doing a newsletter referral problem? Program? That’s an example of someone where they understand the problem, they need to grow the newsletter list, but they don’t have a general solution yet, right? There’s trying to figure out, Is there a general solution? Or is there a specific solution somebody’s done.

Other times, you know, when we publish our content in our Slack group, we can see people reacting with it.

And that’s very specific solution stage of demand interception.

So, community is one of the shortcuts that you can use if you build your community in advance, to do demand interception to to help people solve their problems, understand their problems and impact, then help them understand the different solution sets.

And ideally, if it’s your community, and it’s a solution that you provide, you would be able to provide that in a very trustworthy way to your audience.

But regardless of it, if you have to choose between a demand generation program where you’re trying to create an audience out of whole cloth that wants your business versus intercepting demand that’s already there, I would suggest that the low hanging fruit is that demand interception working backwards from specific solution to general solution

Christopher Penn 9:35

to impact analysis to problem awareness.

And if you can do all four stages, you will find that you can get as much of the market as as is available.

And only after that you then go and start creating demand for trying to approach people who don’t even think they have a problem and trying to do to create that problem whereas the exception to this is In cases where you are not permitted to recommend the solution, right, so there are certain industries, for example, the marijuana industry and pharmaceuticals in general, where you can’t run ads for your, your, your product, right.

And a lot of cases, you have to do what is called problem marketing problem state marketing or disease state marketing, where instead of trying to hawk your solution, you’re trying to identify the audience that has the problem and provide them more information about the problem in the hopes that they will then seek you out for the solutions.

So somebody is saying I need you know, better sleep or more relaxation, and you happen to market cannabis.

That would be an example of demand of disease, state awareness where you you’re marketing and leaning into the problem that you solve, because you can’t talk about the solution at all.

So that’s today’s mind reading.

Hope you found it helpful.

Let me know in the comments one way or the other, and I’ll talk to you soon take care.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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