Digital demand generation

Chances are you are a “digital immigrant,” one who was not born bathed in bits, who played video games as a toddler, or learned keyboarding in third grade.


This means you have a steeper learning curve than “digital natives,” those for whom all this social media “stuff” isn’t stuff at all. It’s just part of everyday life, how they live, work, play, access information and make decisions. Indeed there is a whole generation of digital natives who command where, when and how they find information. They are in control and that is why they are called the “demand generation.”


They comprise our customers, our prospects, our employees, our constituents and advocates. A key to understanding social media is understanding how to reach, and more importantly, engage with the demand generation.


Here are some tips:


  1. Acknowledge that the sales process is no longer linear.


The Internet has jumped squarely in between you and your customer – and interrupted what used to be a good opportunity for you to control the conversation.


Now consumers visit blogs to get information and recommendations on what to buy. The average consumer uses more than ten sources to make a buying decision today, and 70% of Americans look at product reviews.


What was once linear may be turned upside down, twisted sideways and backwards. Consumers may see a product in the store, but then go out into cyberspace to investigate it, only to go back into the store to buy.


  1. Content is king.


As a writer by trade – and a digital immigrant – knowing this makes me very happy. It also makes me work hard to relate to my target audience with personal, direct, relevant conversations that matter to them.


Customers who engage with brands online spend 20-40% more on that brand’s products/services. Know your target. Understand their perspective. Quench their thirst for the knowledge they seek. A long time ago author and speaker Bert Decker impressed me with his edict, “You’ve got to be believed to be heard.” Break through that frontal cortex and your message just may get through.


  1. You do have to be everywhere – and on the go.


This seems antithesis to target marketing, but what it means is, you can’t think that because you have your website and a Facebook page, you’re good to go. Chances are your target customers aren’t sitting still. It’s likely – no statistically shown – that 78% of consumers shop across multiple channels.


This means the Internet – your site if your SEO is up to date, social media, twitter, Vine, blogs, email deliveries from you/your competitors and their phones. And here’s the deal with phones: 31% of consumers research products on their phones before buying in-store. 40% research products from their phones before buying online. Is your site mobile optimized/responsive so that it feeds the information to fit the user’s screen?


The good news about all this – for those willing to keep swimming in the deep end – is that there is demand – a marketer’s dream. We can meet that demand with products people need and want – and by getting in – and staying in the conversation with relevance, content, personalization and engagement.


(Special thanks to inspiration and sourcing for this article from Bob Thacker, former CMO of OfficeMax.)