These strategies drive inbound and outbound campaigns and work together to hyper-target buyers, create more brand impressions and nurture leads orbiting the new customer journey.
But to truly understand the significance and impact of the new demand generation, it’s worth revisiting the old. Historically, organizations generated awareness about their products or services through marketing channels like TV, radio, direct mail and public relations. They advertised in trade magazines, established a presence at trade shows and, essentially, tried to reach as many people as possible. Marketing was a best-guess practice. In the mid-2000s, the internet sparked the creation of new marketing channels, but strategy was slow to adapt. Email marketing, for example, still focused on reaching as many people as possible. Marketers used massive contact lists to distribute blanket advertisements and, at best, they garnered a tiny percentage of leads.
The internet was the first major push toward a new buyer’s journey. Information was suddenly abundant and free, and buyers quickly began using it to research products and services, as well as share their experiences. To help connect buyers with the best possible information, Google created a search engine that ranked website and page content based on relevance to the keywords and terms buyers used to search. This gave way to search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), which helped marketers earn prime website placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) by creating valuable, relevant content.
At the same time, social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram popped up, providing an opportunity for free social marketing. If an organization was active on these channels, it could connect with its target audiences organically to generate brand awareness.
But when spammers began filling SERPs with irrelevant content and using black-hat SEO to manipulate search engines, the marketplace became over-saturated, and the prospect of organically reaching audiences quickly drowned in the flood. Eventually, Google punished these practices, and brands using SEO correctly were able to bubble back up to the top. But during that time, paid advertising and display ads became the key to rising above the chaos.