Catalyzing Demand


Lead Generation vs Demand Creation

Lead generation is something sales teams do. Creating demand is the domain of marketing teams. The line is fuzzy to be sure, except for one distinct difference. Sales, is oriented towards selling something, so leads are individuals who have formally entered the buying cycle.

We have all been taught that the straight line is the most direct pathway to a result. So therefore it makes sense doesn't it that the straight line between a seller and a buyer is identifying the "buying" individual, then enticing them to become aware of, evaluate, and then ultimately select the product, solution or service being sold.

This "direct-line marketing" rationale typically forms the basis for most lead generation initiatives. But...

  • Making no connection until an individual has entered the buying process is typically too late.
  • Evaluation and selection criteria are typically determined well before the buying process begins. Most businesses, as well as individuals, first determine "how" they are going to satisfy their need, before they decide "what specific solution" they will adopt.
  • The decision maker during the buying process is typically not the same as those with the need to be satisfied. As a result, any real (versus promoted) advantages and differences in the potential solution value will become significantly diminished.

So, instead of a "direct-line" what occurs is a costly "look-try-assess" iterative cycle driven by artificial criteria.

Demand creation occurs well before the buying cycle begins. In fact, effective demand creation sets the stage for evaluation and selection. It focuses on the customer stage prior to the initiation of the buying cycle - where the customer is investigating different ways to satisfy their need.

A consumer example -

Let's consider the individual who needs to listen to their personalized music on a continuous basis.

There are a variety of ways to achieve this - a portable CD walkman, an MP3 player, an XM radio.

Depending on the specific motivations of this individual, one approach may be optimal.

  • Where the prime motivator is lowest cost, the portable CD walkman will be the best.
  • To satisfy the need to be "cool", an MP3 will undoubtedly be the way to go
  • To fulfill a high convenience driver, where the music is just there, an XM approach would be optimum.

These considerations occur before the individual looks for specific brands. The seller that does the best job identifying and even influencing the motivation, then linking their solution to this motivation, will be the most successful capturing the sale. The link to the need motivator is the catalyst.

Increase your leads... link to customer motivators of demand

  1. Understand the need motivators for the ultimate customer - not just the decision maker in the buying process.
  2. Design marketing programs to establish seller's expertise and credibility in addressing the need motivation - highlight the different options for satisfying the specific need.
  3. When customer calls, visits, or writes, highlight the seller's capabilities for completely satisfying the need (which typically goes beyond the sales transaction).