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What’s the difference between Demand Creation and Demand Generation?

September 2018

Demand Creation and Demand Generation are two terms thrown about by marketers in client meetings. They represent two sides of the same coin but have very different approaches and benefits.

What is the difference between the Demand Creation and Demand Generation?
1. Demand Creation presents a solution that consumers didn’t know they needed—often it’s a new product, service, or business category.

2. By contrast, Demand Generation presents a solution to a known problem a consumer is likely experiencing and actively trying to solve.

Demand Creation

Demand Creation is the artificial creation of demand for a new product or service in a  This can be a complicated affair and can be quite costly. Apple, of course, does this better than anyone else. They got us to demand iPods, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches are part of our daily lives and personal culture. And we (gladly or begrudgingly) pay a premium for products that would have seemed ludicrous a decade ago.

Apple is not the only company to excel at demand generation, nor were they the first. A quote mistakenly attributed* to Henry Ford says, “If I’d asked the people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse,” embodies the Demand Creation principle.

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” —Steve Jobs

He said focus groups were useless. Indeed, the iPod tested poorly but was a runaway success.  This doesn’t mean you should try to replicate Apple. Apple is unique. They create new product categories all the time—or reinvent existing ones so well that few remember the original. They also have a huge team of the best product designers on the planet. Apple—like Dyson—are content with throwing away 90% of their designs.

Demand Generation

Demand Generation presents a solution to a known problem a consumer is likely researching. In this case, you are presenting an existing solution to an often common problem. It may be a product or service, or a download.

Inbound marketing is a great example of Demand Generation. Most inbound marketing starts with the identification of a problem. Next, keyword and topical research is performed to see how people with that issue are searching for it.

Smart marketers and advertisers look at search patterns as well as every possible touchpoint the consumer may have. Having identified the touchpoints on the customer journey, they create content in anticipation of need.

In other words, when you need it, the solution should be easy for you to find.

A great example of this is Hubspot—a nearly ubiquitous, inbound marketing platform. Hubspot gets demand generation. Hubspot’s ideal clients are companies with long purchase cycles. Those customers may need to research their product for six months to a year before purchase talks even begin. They have a clever solution to this problem using scripts.

Hubspot’s content approach is to write automation scripts. These scripts send potential customers a series of content pieces triggered by on-site events. For example, “Customer downloaded our whitepaper—send followup email linking to the new blog post”. The content includes blogs, emails, newsletters, whitepapers, and social media.

It’s admittedly a lot of work—and we know; we do it every day—but it’s worth it when you land educated clients who are truly on board and trust your product.

*While looking for the exact quote, I found out there is no credible proof Ford ever made that statement—nor did he say or write anything like it. SOURCE.

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