What is demand generation? 6 definitions from industry leaders

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What is demand generation? Or, more accurately, what is the prevailing definition of demand generation? To find the answer, we took to Google, searching through the first 10 results when we searched “demand generation definition” and relevant results from the first page of “demand generation.”

We’ve recorded the definition of any reputable brand that appears on that first page. We excluded a handful of pages, like Wikipedia’s definition, because they were duplicate of other original content.

First, we show the definitions from these successful SEO-manipulators. Then we compiled all these definitions into one master definition of demand generation.

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Hubspot writes a very long definition of demand generation. That’s likely what causes them to rank high on this keyword. Here is the short(er) summary of HubSpot’s long definition of demand generation:

  • Gets customers excited about your company’s product and services
  • Helps you reach new markets
  • Promotes new product features
  • Builds customer buzz
  • Generates PR
  • Re-engages customers
  • Is a touch point through the customer journey
  • Builds and nurtures key prospects and customer relationships long term

HubSpot’s demand generation definition encompasses the entirety of the funnel. It is also inclusive of both leads and buyers alike.

It thinks of demand generation as part of a cycle that keeps customers engaged even after they purchase your offering.

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Smart Insights uses a shorter definition. Some of the key points in this definition are that demand marketing:

  • Uses marketing to drive awareness and interest in a brand/product
  • Is commonly used in the B2B, B2G, or longer B2C cycles
  • Successfully links marketing and sales
  • Builds awareness about your brand
  • Creates and positions your brand in the market

Smart Insights focuses on creating interest and maintaining it during a longer cycle than most B2C customer journeys. It focuses on the building the market while placing your brand in it.

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Wordstream’s definition is short and sweet. They also use this clear graphic from Neil Patel to show off the entirety of what demand generation is.

These are the highlights of Wordstream’s definition of demand generation:

  • Is the generation of demand for a business’ products or services
  • This a gradual, multipiece strategy
  • Can be implemented by the entire marketing department

They show off this graphic because it encompasses the massive process that is demand generation. It’s basically the complete sales marketing and sales cycle.

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New Breed’s definition of demand marketing is brief but has a lot of details to give us a good idea of what demand generation is all about. According to them, demand generation:

  • Generates demand for your product or service
  • Is an entire program that spans the entire funnel once initial demand is identified
  • Addresses non-visible touch points before a lead enters your funnel all the way to customer retention

This definition of demand generation addresses that demand can start above the funnel and will continue beyond the purchase.

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Integrate’s definition is reasonably long. There’s a decent amount to unpack from its definition of demand generation. Demand generation:

  • Creates the need or want for your offering
  • Creates this want doesn’t guarantee sale
  • Has barriers that keep interest from becoming sale
  • Is key to full-funnel education
  • Supports the entire marketing and sales cycle
  • Helps ensure loyal customer relationships
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Hootsuite defines demand generation while placing it side-by-side with lead generation. We can gather a couple of insights from this definition. According to Hootsuite, demand generation is:

  • A marketing operation that creates demand for and interest in your product
  • Not about collecting data or pushing the final purchase

Now that we’ve heard from a variety of industry leaders about demand generation, let’s compile a single, master definition from them.

What is demand generation then, according to all of these definitions?

Demand generation is a marketing strategy that creates interest in, excitement about, awareness about, or demand for your product, service, or brand. It starts above the funnel and continues to keep customers engaged after purchase. Demand generation educates and nurtures leads by creating targeted educational content. This process starts before you identify individual leads and continues all the way to the end of the marketing pipeline and through the transition to sales.

Written by

HIPB2B is a demand gen solution provider, utilizing content, email, and marketing automation to drive outcomes for marketing and technology clients

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