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Beyond the Buzzwords: The B2B Demand Generation Playbook for 2024

In this guide, you'll uncover 10 highly effective customer acquisition strategies to fuel sustainable business growth. We cover content marketing, social media, email, paid advertising, referrals, SEO, market research, lead nurturing, customer retention, and more. You'll also learn how CallPage can instantly elevate your website's customer acquisition capabilities.

Mike Arnold
28.06.2024

 

Tired of throwing marketing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks? 

Frustrated with lackluster lead generation and a pipeline that's more of a trickle? 

Yeah, aren't we all? 

With the rise of AI, hundreds if not thousands of apps, services, social media platforms, and related tools, trending strategies, and tons of marketing influencers and podcasts telling you this and that, marketing in the B2B world has been a crazy ride throughout 2024.

And as such, generating demand for your business has become more challenging and more competitive than ever before.

Of course, buzzwords like "inbound," "ABM," and "funnel optimization" get tossed around like confetti, but what do they really mean for your business? More importantly, how can you actually use them to drive growth?

Look, let's take a breather from the endless feed content, ditch the fluff, and get down to brass tacks. Let's get on the same page and catch up with the industry so you know what to do next for your business.

This isn't your average, theory-laden marketing blog post or guide. Think of it more like a coffee chat with a friend who just happens to be a demand generation marketing expert (that's me!). We'll cut through the noise, break down the essentials, and give you a practical, no-nonsense playbook for B2B demand generation success in 2024, covering everything from understanding your ideal customer to leveraging the latest tech tools and measuring your ROI.

By the time you finish reading, you'll have a clear roadmap to attract, engage, and convert high-quality leads that actually turn into paying customers. 

Ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Let's dive in.

What is B2B Demand Generation in 2024?

B2B demand generation is a marketing process or strategy that specifically focuses on and targets qualified leads and helps to convert them. This is done through:

Educating the lead on the product or service and what it has to offer. Addressing potential pain points or reservations (value, price point, onboarding, etc.) Providing solutions, overcoming obstacles, and essentially converting.

The goal is to essentially build your business and sales team's reputation by generating and nurturing leads, selling the solution and value you offer, and building trust in your niche and industry, all while driving awareness and interest.

We like to think of it as a bit of an engine for your entire sales funnel.

It's Not Just About Leads (Although Those Are Important)

Okay, everything sounds pretty cut and dry for now, but let's dive a little deeper. We talk a lot about leads, and in the past, a demand gen strategy was certainly equated with simply generating leads. 

But understanding the distinction between demand generation vs. lead generation is crucial for a more effective strategy.

But let's be real; not all leads are created equal. A contact form filled out doesn't automatically translate to a sale. In 2024, demand generation is about more than just quantity; it's about quality.

It's about creating genuine interest and desire for your product or service. It's about nurturing relationships with potential customers throughout their buying journey. 

And it's about building a loyal customer base that will stick with you for the long haul.

The Full-Funnel Approach

Description of 6 stages of full-funnel marketing: 1. Awareness 2.Interest 3.Consideration 4.Intent 5.Evaluation 6.Purchase

To achieve your B2B marketing goals, we need to think beyond the traditional lead generation funnel. Instead, we need to adopt a full-funnel approach that encompasses every stage of the buyer's journey:

  • Awareness: Introducing your brand and solutions to potential customers.
  • Interest: Piquing their curiosity and encouraging them to learn more.
  • Consideration: Helping them evaluate your offerings against the competition.
  • Intent: Identifying when they're ready to make a purchase.
  • Evaluation: Supporting them as they weigh their options.
  • Purchase: Guiding them through the buying process and closing the deal.

 

This is what a full demand gen strategy looks like. 

However, this isn't just a marketing exercise or a simple play-by-play. The best-executed strategies are the ones that tightly align with your overall revenue targets and growth objectives. Implementing a Full-Funnel Marketing strategy ensures that every touchpoint is optimized to move prospects through the buyer's journey seamlessly and effectively. Automated sales funnels play a crucial role here by automating interactions and follow-ups, ensuring no lead slips through the cracks.

Before you launch any demand generation campaign, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • What are our company's most pressing priorities right now?
  • Which products or services do we need to focus on?
  • What are our target revenue numbers?
  • How can demand generation help us achieve these goals?

 

When your demand generation efforts align with your broader business objectives, you'll ensure that every campaign you run is laser-focused on delivering real, measurable results. You'll be able to address any bottleneck, overcome any challenge, and ensure your teams are on the same page and your budget is met as closely as possible.

TLDR: Your strategy, demand generation or otherwise, must always align with goals, and you should never start investing without clarity on both.

How do you do this? 

Well, let's start at the top.

How to Build a Solid Foundation for Your B2B Demand Generation Strategy

Imagine trying to build a house on quicksand – it's obviously not going to end well. 

The same principle applies to demand generation. Before you start throwing around tactics and strategies, you must build a solid foundation based on a deep understanding of your target audience and their needs.

Know Your Buyer Personas Inside and Out

Knowing your ideal buyers isn't just about demographics (though those are important, too). You need to dig deeper and understand the psychographics, pain points, challenges, and aspirations of your ideal customers.

And quite often, the personas you find are far different than the ones you envisioned when starting out. We like to think of your buyer personas as characters in a story. 

  • What are their goals?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What are their biggest frustrations with the current solutions on the market?

 

Once you know your buyer personas inside and out, you can tailor your messaging and content to speak directly to their needs and desires. This is the key to creating content that resonates and drives engagement and, therefore, the key to a successful demand generation strategy.

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Not all customers are created equal. Some are more valuable to your business than others. If the Pareto Principle is anything to go by, 80% of your revenue will come from just 20% of your customers. Hence the famous 80/20 rule.

So, when creating demand and targeting that 20%, you must make some Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) cases.

An ICP is a detailed description of the type of company that would be the perfect fit for your product or service and is ideal for creating demand. It takes into account factors like:

  • Industry: Which industries are most likely to benefit from your solution?
  • Company size: Are you targeting small businesses, mid-market companies, or enterprise organizations?
  • Geographic location: Are there specific regions or countries where your solution is in high demand?
  • Budget: What is the typical budget of your ideal customers for solutions like yours?
  • Decision-makers: Who are the key decision-makers in the buying process?

 

By clearly defining your ICP, you can focus your demand generation efforts on the most promising prospects and avoid wasting time and resources on leads that are unlikely to convert.

Let Data Be Your Guide

These days, we're swimming in data, and while this can feel like a bit of a buzzword in itself, data is worth more than gold. Literally. Data is considered the planet's most valuable resource, more so than oil.

Don't let it go to waste. 

Here's a snapshot of what it can offer:

  • Data-driven companies are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain them, and 19 times more likely to be profitable - McKinsey.
  • Big data users see, on average, 8% increases in profit AND 10% reductions in costs - BARC.
  • Businesses worldwide spend over $180 billion on big data analysis to help grow their business. That's $40 billion more than the US spends annually on Education and Social Services.

 

The list goes on, but the takeaway is that you should use data and analytics to gain insights into your target audience's behavior, preferences, and pain points.

Track website traffic, social media engagement, email open and click-through rates, and any other relevant demand generation metrics. Analyze this data to identify patterns and trends that can inform your demand gen strategy.

For example, if you notice that a particular blog post generates a lot of traffic, you can create more content on similar topics. Or, if you see that a specific type of email subject line is getting higher open rates, you can use that format for future campaigns.

Remember, demand generation inbound marketing isn't a one-and-done activity.

Demand generation is an ongoing process of learning, adapting, and optimizing. By continuously analyzing your demand gen data and making data-driven decisions, you can ensure your demand generation efforts are always on point and deliver the results you need to achieve your business goals.

How to Align Buyer Personas with Business Goals

Once you have this info in mind, it's quite simple to align your personas to your business goals.

Ask yourself:

  • What are our top priorities this quarter/year? Revenue growth? Market expansion? New product launch?
  • Which products/services need a demand boost?
  • What's our target revenue number?
  • How can demand generation specifically contribute to hitting these targets?

 

By aligning your efforts with these goals, you ensure every campaign, every piece of content, and every lead generated is laser-focused on what truly matters to your business's bottom line.

7 Key Demand Generation Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Okay, so you have a foundation of who your ideal buyers are, what they want, and how to best orientate your business to give them what they want, all while aligning these with your business goals.

Alright, now that we've laid a solid foundation, it's time to talk about the fun stuff: the actual demand generation strategies and tactics you can use to generate demand for your B2B business. 

Think of this as your toolkit – a collection of powerful demand generation tools to attract, engage, and convert your ideal customers.

Content Marketing: The Cornerstone of Demand Generation

If demand generation were a house, content marketing would be in every room. 

It's the process of creating and sharing valuable, relevant content that attracts and engages your target audience. 

But here's the thing: it's not just about churning out blog posts or social media updates. It's about creating a content strategy that speaks to your buyer personas and addresses their pain points.

Every single piece of content you post, no matter how small, needs to have a purpose.

Think about the questions your customers are asking, the challenges they're facing, and the information they need to make informed decisions. Then, create content that answers those questions, solves those challenges, and provides that information.

This could include:

  • Blog posts: In-depth articles that explore industry trends, offer expert insights, or provide practical tips.
  • Whitepapers and ebooks: Long-form content that dives deep into specific topics and provides valuable research and analysis.
  • Case studies: Real-world examples of how your product or service has helped other businesses achieve their goals.
  • Infographics: Visually appealing content that presents complex information in an easy-to-understand format.
  • Videos: Engaging video content that educates, entertains, or inspires.

 

The key is to create content that's not only informative but also engaging and shareable. This will help you attract more visitors to your website, build your brand reputation, and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

SEO and SEM: Your Digital Compass

Now that you've created great content, you need to ensure that people can actually find it. That's where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) come into play.

And yes, chances are you've been working on SEO for years, but the trends and requirements change all the time, and you need to adapt to keep up and stay on top.

For example, have you updated your methods based on the Google Helpful Content update last year and their continued tackling against AI content from March 2024? What about the Google Leak information, if you're that way inclined?

Remember;

SEO is all about optimizing your website and content so that it ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This means using relevant keywords, creating high-quality backlinks, and ensuring your website is fast and mobile-friendly. 

Think of it as the long game – it takes time and effort to see results, but the payoff can be huge in terms of organic traffic and leads.

SEM, on the other hand, is about using paid advertising to get your website and content in front of potential customers. This includes Google Ads, Bing Ads, and social media advertising. It's a faster way to generate leads but can also be more expensive. 

The key is to find the right balance between SEO and SEM for your business.

READ ALSO: Maximizing Facebook Ads Performance: Your Friendly Guide to Integrating with CallPage

Social Media Marketing: Your Virtual Networking Event

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with potential customers, building relationships, and generating leads. But it's not just about posting random updates or sharing cat memes. 

You need to be strategic about which platforms you use, what kind of content you share, and how you engage with your audience.

Think of social media as a virtual networking event. You wouldn't just walk up to someone and start pitching your product, would you? You'd start by introducing yourself, building rapport, and finding common ground. 

The same principle applies to social media.

Focus on creating and sharing content that is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Engage in conversations, answer questions, and offer helpful insights. By building genuine relationships with your followers, you can turn them into loyal customers and brand advocates.

Email Marketing: Nurture Leads and Build Relationships

Don't underestimate the power of email! It's still one of the most effective channels for lead nurturing and building relationships with potential customers. But it's not just about blasting out generic email blasts. 

To make email marketing work for you, you need to:

  • Segment your lists: Divide your email list into smaller, more targeted groups based on factors like industry, job title, interests, or stage in the buyer's journey. This allows you to send more personalized and relevant emails.
  • Craft compelling subject lines: Your subject line is the first thing people see, so make it catchy and intriguing enough to entice them to open your email.
  • Provide value: Don't just pitch your product or service in every email. Offer valuable insights, tips, and resources that your audience will appreciate.
  • Personalize your emails: Use merge tags to insert the recipient's name and other relevant details. This makes your emails feel more personal and less like a mass marketing message.
  • Track and analyze your results: Pay attention to your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This will help you identify what's working and what's not so you can optimize your email campaigns for better results.

Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Personalized Precision

ABM is a strategic approach that targets specific, high-value accounts with personalized marketing and sales efforts. It's like a sniper rifle compared to the shotgun approach of traditional marketing. 

ABM requires close collaboration between sales and marketing teams to identify and target key accounts, create personalized campaigns, and track results.

If you're selling to large enterprise organizations, ABM can make a difference. By tailoring your messaging and content to the specific needs and pain points of each account, you can significantly increase your chances of closing deals and generating revenue.

Webinars and Events: Face-to-Face (or Screen-to-Screen) Engagement

Webinars and events are a great way to educate your audience, showcase your expertise, and generate leads. They provide an opportunity to interact with potential customers in real time, answer their questions, and build relationships.

Whether hosting a virtual webinar or an in-person event, the key is to provide valuable content that your target audience will find interesting and informative. Make sure your speakers are knowledgeable and engaging, and leave plenty of time for Q&A.

Public Relations and Influencer Marketing: Building Credibility and Buzz

PR and influencer marketing can help you build credibility, increase brand awareness, and generate leads. By getting your company or product featured in relevant media outlets or partnering with influential figures in your industry, you can reach a wider audience and gain valuable exposure.

Remember, demand generation is a multi-faceted beast. Don't be afraid to experiment with different strategies and tactics to see what works best for your business. The most important thing is to create valuable, relevant content and experiences that resonate with your target audience and drive them to take action.

The Role of Technology on B2B Demand Generation

We can't not talk about these strategies and not talk about tech. 

Tech isn't just a nice-to-have; but rather a must for any successful demand generation strategy

Let's take two businesses that are identical in their product, value, marketing, and outreach, but one uses tech to create demand, automate, speed things up, and optimize. Of course they'llthey're far exceed and out-grow the other who's still doing everything manually.

However, we don't recommend just onboarding every single tool possible and now dumping everything you've got into ChatGPT. It's all about getting the right tools in the right place. That's what matters.

Get this right, and you'll see real positive change. If you get it wrong, you'll be wasting time, money, and other resources, affecting your bottom line in more ways than one.

Marketing Automation: Your Personal Marketing Assistant

Marketing automation is here to stay, and it's better than ever with what it offers. While talk of this is everywhere, the TLDR is that it speeds up the process of carrying out tedious tasks, allowing you to invest your time and energy in other, more important areas of your business.

When it comes to demand generation, the tasks it can help you with include:

  • Nurture leads: Automatically send targeted emails and messages to leads based on their behavior and interests.
  • Score leads: Assign scores to leads based on their engagement level using scoring rules, helping you identify the hottest prospects.
  • Personalize campaigns: Deliver tailored content and offers based on individual preferences and demographics.
  • Lead automation: Streamline repetitive tasks and processes, ensuring no lead falls through the cracks and improving efficiency.
  • Track results: Monitor the performance of your campaigns in real-time, so you can make adjustments as needed.

 

There are a ton of marketing automation platforms out there, so do your research and find one that fits your needs and budget. Some popular options include HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, and ActiveCampaign.

CRM Integration: Connecting the Dots

Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the heart of your sales and marketing operations. It's where you store all your customer data, track interactions, and manage leads. 

Integrating your CRM with your marketing automation platform is crucial for a seamless flow of information between marketing and sales team.

This integration allows you to:

  • Track leads from click to close: See the entire customer journey, from the moment they first interact with your brand to the moment they become a paying customer.
  • Share data between teams: Ensure that both your sales and marketing team have access to the most up-to-date information on leads and customers.
  • Personalize outreach: Use CRM data to create hyper-targeted advertising marketing campaigns that resonate with individual prospects.

 

AI and Machine Learning: The Future is Now

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer futuristic concepts – they're here, and they're transforming the way we do demand generation. 

Here are a few ways you can leverage AI and ML to your advantage:

  • Predictive lead scoring: Use AI to predict which leads will most likely convert into customers.
  • Chatbots: Deploy AI-powered chatbots on your website to engage visitors, answer questions, and qualify leads.
  • Personalized content recommendations: Use ML algorithms to recommend relevant content to website visitors based on their interests and behavior.
  • Ad targeting: Optimize your ad campaigns with AI-powered targeting to reach the right people at the right time.
  • Content creation: While we don't recommend just generating a blog post and posting it online, using AI can help speed up the writing process with outlining, brainstorming, and drafting. However, get an expert to edit the post for the best results.

Bringing all this together, it's clear that by embracing tech, you gain a competitive edge, improve your efficiency, and deliver a more personalized and engaging experience for your customers, all of which can put you above and beyond your competition and help push your business forward.

READ ALSO: 14 Marketing Automation Examples

The Fine Art of Measuring and Optimizing

We've covered a lot in the playbook above, but the unfortunate truth is that it can sometimes be not enough. You might have got something wrong, missed a bit of data, defined a persona poorly, or simply barked up the wrong tree.

Everything may be in place. You've got your strategies in place, your tech stack humming along, and your content flowing. Maybe it's all working, but it's not quite enough. 

Or maybe you're just looking to get more mileage out of your marketing efforts, and you think you're capable of smashing your goals beyond what you thought was possible, but you're not sure how to kick things up a notch.

So, now what?

Well, now it's time to put on your detective hat and start measuring and optimizing your demand-generation efforts. It's all about making the most of what your data has to offer.

After all, what gets measured gets managed, right?

KPIs: Your Demand Generation Dashboard

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the dashboard of your demand generation machine. 

They tell you how fast you're going, how much fuel you're burning, and whether you're on track to reach your destination. But just like a car dashboard, not all gauges are created equal. Some are more important than others.

Here are some of the most important KPIs to track for B2B demand generation:

  • Website traffic: How many people are visiting your website? Where are they coming from?
  • Leads generated: How many leads are you generating from your various marketing channels?
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): How many of those leads are qualified and ready to be passed on to sales?
  • Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): How many of those MQLs are actually interested in buying?
  • Conversion rates: What percentage of your leads are converting into customers?
  • Sales metrics: How are your sales teams performing? Are they meeting their quotas and closing deals effectively?
  • Pipeline value: How much potential revenue is sitting in your sales pipeline?
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer?
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Are your demand generation efforts generating a positive return?

 

By tracking these KPIs developed by your existing customers, you can gain valuable insights into your campaigns' effectiveness, identify improvement areas, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your demand generation strategy.

READ ALSO: Sales Pipeline vs Sales Funnel - What's The Difference?

A/B Testing and Experimentation: The Scientific Method of Marketing Strategy

A/B testing (or split testing) is a simple yet powerful way to optimize your marketing campaigns. The basic idea of A/B Tests is to create two campaign versions (e.g., two different email subject lines, two different landing pages) and send each version to a different group of people. 

Then, you track the results to see which version performs better.

Think of it as the scientific method of marketing. By testing different variables, you can identify what resonates best with your audience and make incremental improvements over time.

Closed-Loop Reporting: Connecting Marketing to Revenue

Closed-loop reporting is the process of tracking leads from the moment they first interact with your brand to the moment they become a paying customer. It involves integrating your CRM system with your marketing automation platform to track every touchpoint and interaction along the way.

This allows you to see the direct impact of your demand generation marketing efforts on revenue generation. It also helps you identify which marketing channels and campaigns generate leads and drive sales most effectively. 

Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget and resources.

Remember, demand generation is an iterative process. 

There's always room for improvement. By continuously measuring, testing, and optimizing your efforts, you can stay ahead of the curve, adapt to changing market conditions, overcome any problems or bottlenecks quickly and efficiently, and achieve sustainable growth for your business.

Conclusion

There you have it, your no-nonsense playbook for B2B demand generation success in 2024. 

We've covered a lot of ground, from defining what demand generation really means to exploring the latest strategies, demand generation tactics, and tech tools that can help you achieve your goals.

Remember, demand generation isn't just about generating leads – it's about building a sustainable engine for growth. It's about understanding your customers, creating valuable content, leveraging the right technologies, and continuously measuring and optimizing your efforts.

It's not always easy, but with the right approach and a bit of elbow grease, you can create a demand-generation machine that delivers accurate results for your business.

Ready to supercharge your demand generation B2B efforts?

Don't let those valuable leads slip through the cracks. 

Discover how CallPage can help you capture, track, and convert more leads with our innovative call-tracking and analytics platform. Everything we spoke about today can be made easy when you use CallPage.

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