Demand-driven marketing: how to use demand generation to attract sales-qualified leads

Demand-driven marketing. It’s somewhat of a buzzword in the marketing industry at the moment, but what is it and how can you use it to attract sales-qualified leads? We’ll be diving into this today, exploring how demand-driven marketing works, how the outcome is different from MQLs and the steps to take to make an impact with your next marketing campaign. 

What is demand-driven marketing? 

Demand-driving marketing centres on content as the key proponent of its power. Using content throughout the different phases of the customer journey to not only create demand but capture it too. Rather than basing a content strategy on vanity metrics such as page views or time on page, demand-driven marketing focuses on capitalising on real sales opportunities. 

Crucial to demand-driven marketing is the intertwining of marketing and sales. In standard marketing strategies, content sits firmly in the marketing camp. However, DDM content is planned in line with the different stages of the sales funnel: TOFU (top of the funnel), MOFU (middle of the funnel) & BOFU (bottom of the funnel). For each stage, content designed to generate wide interest and product content that captures those interested are combined. This brilliant combo makes for a steadfast way of generating SQLs, which arguably are much more useful than MQLs. 

Tell me more about SQLs and MQLs 

OK, so we know we’ve just blurted MQL & SQL out – let’s backtrack a bit. A Marketing Qualified Lead (AKA, MQL) is what you’d usually expect as the outcome of a content strategy. It’s a customer which has shown an interest in your marketing efforts and therefore passes the ‘they care enough test’. At this stage they have not entered the sales funnel formally, they are sitting right at the top it. 

A Sales Qualified Lead, however, represents a customer somewhat further down the funnel. One that’s more invested, trusting and is likely in more of a mindset to be sold to. These are gold dust for sales – customers ready and waiting to be converted.

The combination of high-quality interest-based content that gets the ‘buy-in’ from a customer interspersed with product-based content to capture results in a much higher quality lead. One which can be guided throughout the sales process with the repetition of the demand-capture model. 

DDM not only improves the quality of leads and helps to convert them, but also presents a more sustainable and holistic approach to marketing. Looking at long-term relationship building, giving the customer value and improving their loyalty to your brand. It not only serves as a way to generate leads but to build your authority in your chosen field too. 

Creating a demand-driven lifecycle 

The first stage in any good marketing strategy is planning. Documenting your strategy and how it intersects with your sales funnel is crucial to know what content to create, which channels to choose and the tools you’ll need to make it happen. 

Start by asking yourself the following questions. The answers should provide you with the basis to plan out your strategy: 

  • What are your goals for this strategy – how many SQLs are you looking to capture? 
  • Who is your target market? Create a clear user profile for them. 
  • What does your sales funnel look like – map out all of the stages and the customer mindset at each. 
  • What are your target market’s pain points? Understand the key questions they might have at different stages of your funnel and the problems your product or service solves for them. 
  • How will your audience overcome its pain points? Map out how content may play into this; the topics, formats and content. 
  • Which channels will you use to attract your target market? Think about where they are online. 
  • How are you going to measure your success? Consider your KPIs and tracking needed to facilitate this. 
  • What’s your grand plan? Now you understand all of the above, how are you going to get the job done? Plan out your key stakeholders, tasks and deadlines. 

Choosing the content formats for your demand-driven strategy 

There’s a range of different ways you can format content. Ultimately it comes down to three things: 

1) Where does your target market live online? 

2) What stage in the funnel you’re using it for 

3) Whether it’s to attract or capture 

Here are some of the content formats we’d recommend considering and why they would be a good choice for your strategy: 

  • SEO-driven content: this is the foundation of a DDM strategy. The key lies in targeting long-tail keywords that are relevant to your solution. Your content should always have your customer’s priorities in mind, driving awareness with valuable and insightful content which speaks to their pain points. This is a long game rather than providing short-term results but will benefit you in building an engaged and trusting customer relationship. 
  • Email marketing: a way to drive interest in the MOFU and BOFU stages. This is where you can continue to drive interest while niching down with audience segmentation. This is a pretty personal form of marketing as it speaks directly to your user so ease off the overly salesy content. Instead, deliver value and calls to action which feel natural to the customer at their stage of the sales funnel.  
  • Paid amplification: finally we have paid content. Whilst we’ve already said, this is a long game, there is room to speed up the process of generating demand with some strategic paid media. Just be sure to use the platforms which resonate with your target market and refrain from letting it overtake the natural organic strategy. It should just be a supplement rather than the main driving force.

Now you’ve heard the full story on demand-driven marketing, we hope you’re primed to go out and capture SQLs like there’s no tomorrow! But, if you’re looking for some support in the marketing department, we’re here to help. Get in touch with our team today. 


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