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Marketing Strategy
min read
March 28, 2024

Demand Generation vs Demand Capture

Keelyn Hart
Content Writer at Letterdrop


  • Demand generation focuses on creating awareness and interest in solutions, targeting prospects actively looking for products.
  • Demand capture involves converting created demand into paying customers by persuading prospects to choose your solution over competitors.
  • Invest in demand generation when there's little existing demand or when business is plateauing.
  • Invest in demand capture when there's high interest in your category and you want to be a consideration.
  • Measure demand generation through leading indicators like website visits, and measure demand capture through metrics like accounts in orbit and content-sourced deals.

A lot of marketers aren't clear on whether they should be targeting demand generation versus demand capture with their campaigns, which can mean all the difference when it comes to bringing in qualified opportunities.

Having a clearer understanding of the two sides of demand can help drive more qualified inbound.

Companies should be doing both — but where you invest first depends on current market dynamics.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation (also known as demand creation) is any marketing effort made to generate awareness and interest in the problems that a company is able to solve with their offerings.

It targets the 2-5% of prospects that are actively looking for solutions.

People always turn to the brand or product they're most familiar with first when they enter the market to buy. You want 100% recall on your product or category when this time comes.

How to Generate Demand

It stands to reason that most of the tools and tactics you'd use to generate demand are primarily top-of-funnel and focused on generating awareness of your offerings.

Here are some ways to generate demand:

1. Display Ads

Display ads are often part of PPC campaigns and can appear across channels and across devices.

Display ads are meant to be targeted according to the user's previous online interactions, displayed interests, and purchases.

Here's an example of a display ad from LinkedIn.

A LinkedIn display ad
A LinkedIn display ad

2. Social Media Posts

B2B companies should be leveraging social media platforms like LinkedIn as primary acquisition channels.

Employees (especially those on GTM teams) should consistently share relevant and valuable posts with their networks to educate prospects and eventually become trusted sources of information. This makes prospects more aware of you and much more likely to be receptive to a sales pitch down the line.

This works at Letterdrop — hear it from our BDR, Ryan Patel:

"My LinkedIn presence has played a huge role in me beating my [sales] quota. Our ICP sees me as a peer because I'm putting out helpful content on a daily basis." — Ryan Patel, Founding BDR at Letterdrop

Sharing relevant content on social media can generate demand
Sharing relevant content on social media can generate demand

3. Webinars

Webinars are a great way to provide unique value to a live audience, hopefully comprising of your ICP.

The more webinars you host or attend, the more people will hear of you. Plus, you can repurpose clips all over your distribution channels.

Generating demand through webinars | Slack
Generating demand through webinars | Slack

4. Company Podcasts

Both hosting and featuring on podcasts is another way to keep top of mind — plus, you get to recycle and repurpose that unique material for as long as you want.

It's another way to get unique subject matter expert quotes, too.

Generating demand with frequent podcast features
Generating demand with frequent podcast features

5. Top-Of-Funnel Blog Posts

TOFU blog posts are an excellent way to stay top of mind.

We wrote a guide on ideas for your first 20 blog posts, which could help you get some clarity on what to write.

A top-of-funnel blog post from HubSpot
A top-of-funnel blog post from HubSpot

When Should You Invest in Demand Generation?

While we would always encourage companies to invest in demand gen efforts, there a couple of compelling situations in which demand gen is necessary:

  1. When a company doesn't belong in an existing category, or there isn't sufficient demand to be captured. You can't sell anything if people don't see a necessity for your offering
  2. When business has started to plateau. If you're facing a lull in demand, it's time to focus on creating new demand
  3. When demand capture becomes overly competitive. There are bigger companies out there with more money to invest in demand capture — you need to create demand by emphasizing how truly unique you are compared to others

How to Measure Demand Generation

You can measure the effects of your demand gen efforts by tracking leading indicators relating to website visits. This includes:

  • Monitoring monthly impressions
  • Monitoring monthly site visits
  • Monitoring monthly engagement on social media accounts

You can use a free tool like Google Search Console to do this.

What is Demand Capture?

Demand capture efforts focus on converting created demand into active paying customers — this involves persuading these in-market prospects to choose your solution over those of competitors.

At this stage in their buyer journey, prospects are actively asking their friends for referrals, comparing alternatives to your competitors, and searching for reviews. You need to get in front of them.

How to Capture Demand

You want to focus on bottom-of-funnel tactics and keywords to capture the demand you've created in your category.

Here are some examples of ways to capture demand:

1. Customer Testimonials and Reviews

Prospects will actively be searching for customer reviews and testimonials on sites like G2 and Capterra. People want to hear about experiences with your product from real users before they make a decision.

  • Chat to your existing customers and ask if they'd be willing to leave online reviews — you could incentivize them with discounts or special offers
  • Conduct your own interviews with customers, whether for your regular customer success catch-ups, for your podcast, or for case studies and clip those videos to put testimonials up online

Customer reviews help prospects make buying decisions
Customer reviews help prospects make buying decisions

2. Referral Programs

Similar to asking customers to leave reviews, setting up a referral program incentivizes fellow businesses, partners, and yes, customers, to refer your product to their networks and circles.

Even Google implemented a referral program for their G-Suite, incentivizing new users with cash prizes for every time they made a referral.

Google used a referral program to promote their apps for work and capture demand
Google used a referral program to promote their apps for work and capture demand

3. BOFU SEO Blog Posts

It's important that you target the right keywords for demand capture — we wrote a guide on your BOFU keyword research checklist, but the TL;DR is, focus on:

1. Competitor Keywords — This can help you capture prospects actively looking into competitors. Include variations like "Competitor A vs Competitor B (vs you)" to position yourself as an alternative.

2. Category Keywords — Use keywords like "Best [your category] software" to attract prospects actively searching for tools in your niche. Include variations such as "Best [your category] software in [latest year]."

3. Integration Keywords — Target keywords indicating integration with common tools in your industry, such as "[Your category] [app] integration," to meet prospects' needs for seamless integration.

4. "How to" Keywords Where You Do Better: Capture users with specific needs by targeting "How to" keywords, showcasing how your offering is unique. For example, "How to share snippets from Zoom calls" for a tool like tl;dv.

5. Playbooks: Offer strategic guidance aligned with your software's capabilities, intercepting searchers with relevant content like "ABM playbook for 2024."

And don't just source these keywords from keyword research tools — they offer estimations with regards to search volume and interest. Rather, talk to your customers and use sales calls to target relevant keywords.

Targeting a competitor comparison keyword to capture demand
Targeting a competitor comparison keyword to capture demand

4. Targeted Ads and Search Ads

Investing in search ads and retargeting campaigns can help you target these in-market buyers and drive them to convert.

An example of a search ad for demand capture
An example of a search ad for demand capture

When Should You Invest in Demand Capture?

You want to invest in demand capture when there's great interest in the existing category you're in and you want to be a consideration.

As mentioned above, demand capture can get very competitive when you're facing larger incumbents, so you need to emphasize how you're a better alternative to those incumbents when you're creating demand.

How to Measure Demand Capture

There are several KPIs that you can track to measure demand capture — and no, MQLs shouldn't be one of them. We believe that the modern ABM strategy has far more revenue-focused metrics.

With that in mind, we measure the following metrics:

  1. Accounts in orbit — If an account in your ICP is actively engaged with your content on site, social media, your YouTube channel, et cetera, that's a marketing win. The prospect is now primed to buy and more receptive to a pitch — sales can close the deal.
  2. Content-sourced deals — Inbound demos and signups that happen after consuming content across any channel at any time in the past.
  3. Content-accelerated deals — A deal in an active sales cycle that consumed content across any channel before closing.
  4. Content-influenced revenue — Closed/Won revenue that consumed content in any form before buying 

We use our own software to measure the exact amount of revenue each piece of content generates, as well as to learn who exactly is engaging with our content.

Here's a demonstration.

Target Both Demand Gen and Demand Capture for Content-Influenced Pipeline

Both demand gen and demand capture are important facets to invest in — the one you invest in first depends on the current state of the market and your product positioning within it.

We can help you trace all your content efforts to revenue. Know exactly how much business your demand capture efforts are driving.

Know how much $ your demand capture generates

Take the guesswork out of content attribution today

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