Semantics: Demand Gen vs. Customer Marketing

Demand Gen vs Customer Marketing

In my last post I talked about the difference between Lead Generation and Demand Generation, and the fact that there is a difference. But what about customer marketing?

If lead gen is the process of generating new leads, and demand gen is the process of getting those leads to demand your products/services and ultimately buy (become a customer), then is customer marketing the third step? I say no…not really.

While it is important that you apply demand generation methodologies to nurture and convert the leads you generate, who says demand generation is exclusively a process for leads? You can (and should) apply demand gen techniques to your customers (we call that ‘cross sell/upsell’). After all, aren’t your customers some of your best potential buyers? You might even consider them low hanging fruit…yet somehow so many marketers wait for the fruit to fall off the tree instead of grabbing it when it’s ripe or, ever worse, they pick it too early. *sigh*

Now, I am not suggesting that you just swoop up your customer list and plop it into your latest and greatest demand gen campaign and call it a day. That would be easy, I’ll admit, but it won’t be nearly as effective (resist the urge….seriously). Think quality over quantity. You need to speak to your customers differently. Acknowledge them as the fantastic customers that they are and leverage your existing relationship to show how you can continue to help them.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, there’s another layer to customer marketing that goes above and beyond good demand gen, and that is good customer satisfaction. I can tell you as a customer myself that when I get marketing messages from a company I’m not feeling the love for, I get cranky. I expect you to know that I’m not happy with you right now and that trying to sell me your newest widget is just going to piss me off more. As a marketer you might say ‘that’s not fair, I can’t control whether the customer is happy or not,” and to that I say two things:

  1. Stop making excuses. True, many elements of the customer experience are out of your hands, but some things are within your grasp of control and so you should be doing everything in your power to improve that experience. Don’t just chalk it up for what it is and add to the bad experience by doing your own thing in a vacuum.
  2. If you can’t change/influence reality, then you need to at least be aware of it. With all the technology out there today, you should be able to find a way to identify the happy customers from the not happy ones. Someone at your company knows who is happy and who isn’t – find out who those people are and find a systematic way to harness that information to inform on your marketing activities. It can be as simple as a field in your CRM that captures the NPS, or other satisfaction score, and passes that data to your marketing automation system.

I’m not under any delusion that tracking customer satisfaction is easy…it’s not. But it is important, and if you’re going to be marketing to your customers, you HAVE to figure it out. OncNutshelle you do, you will open yourself up to a rich pool of opportunities.

In a nutshell:

  • Demand gen applies to both leads and customers
  • Don’t market to your customers in the same way you market to leads
  • Only satisfied customers will accept being marketed to (and by the way make great advocates, which SiriusDecisions says will drive demand gen)
  • Satisfied customers can be your best ‘leads’ for new sales opportunities
  • There’s no excuse for bad customer marketing
  • There should be technology & processes in place to keep customer-touching groups in sync and customer data accessible so it can be leveraged appropriately

One thought on “Semantics: Demand Gen vs. Customer Marketing

  1. Great article Leslie!

    In a perfect world Sales would align Marketing and communicate more on the account relationships. I believe it is the job of the Account Manager not only to know what is going on with the accounts they manage, but to communicate it back to their company. We as sales people fail in this area all the time. Causing our customers to become as you put it, “cranky.”

    In eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, Ardath Albee states that, “Trusted relationships are the prerequisite for complex purchasing decisions.” I personally believe in the 3 T’s for any relationship (business or personal). Time, Talking, and Trust. To have a great relationship you have to spend time and have open 2 way dialogue. I say 2 way dialogue, because if you are doing all of the talking you are not listening to the wants, needs and desires of the other party. To further this thought, consider if you spend copious amounts of time with only your new clients. You are you are neglecting the already established relationships and eroding the trust you worked so hard to build when you were romancing the prospect to become a customer. No trust no $ale.

    Rapport leads to like…
    Like leads to trust…
    Trust leads to a profitable relationship.



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