What’s the difference between creating demand in marketing and establishing it? The answer may not be as clear-cut as you think.
Capturing demand and creating demand are actually two sides of the same coin. You can’t create demand out of thin air. All you can do is capitalize on existing demands—whether people are aware of those demands or not.
In this episode we talk through meeting demand versus establishing demand, how to evangelize your product, and why the best markets are the ones people don’t even know exist.
- Don’t rely solely on SEO
- Establish what demand means
- Solve problems people don’t know they have
- Evangelize your product
- Reach a new audience
- Create demand with SEO
- Use the surround sound strategy
- Determine your hierarchy of needs
- Find answers for pain points
- Simplify your approach
- Follow David Ly Khim on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Follow Alex Birkett on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Follow Allie Decker on LinkedIn or Twitter
Listen to the podcast
4:05 – Don’t rely solely on SEO
Allie said that while SEO is a great resource for customers who are intentionally looking for your product, it can’t reach the customers that don’t know they need your product.
“When it comes to content for any brand, and I think about the company I’m with now, there’s a large segment of potential customers that don’t even know that our company offers what they do that I’m trying to sell. So when it comes to the way we break down our content strategy, we have to service, obviously the segment of the customer base that knows we exist. And we just have to tell them we have this, this is why you should want it, et cetera. Which is where most SEO content plays is meeting people where they are. They’re searching for a problem, we’re going to meet them where they are, and deliver a solution. That’s really simplifying, obviously, what content marketing does, but there’s a large segment of people out there that are potentially our customers, but they don’t even know that we provide this solution and SEO isn’t the best way to get in front of them because they don’t know what they don’t know. So I think both can exist. And depending on your role on a content team or a marketing team, you might be tackling one or the other because the process I think is pretty different.”
5:12 – Establish what demand means
Alex said you don’t have to create a pain point to establish demand, you just have to find a pain point that already exists.
“There’s multiple layers of how we could establish what demand means. If we trace it back, there’s a pain point that a customer is going to have. And I’m using an example in my brain of Snowplow Analytics. And they were one of the first open-source analytics platforms out there. But the pain point was still there. They didn’t have to create the pain point of wanting to track your visitors and your product users. So I think there is a little bit on, that part of demand is inelastic. I think that is not something you can create. What you can start to create is that voice of customer, what words people use to describe it, forming in their mind a mental picture of a new category that is open source analytics. It’s apart from say Google analytics. And then it’s the awareness of your product and your specific part in that market.”
7:08 – Solve problems people don’t know they have
Allie said it’s getting harder to tell people what they need. You have to find a problem they don’t know they have and solve for it.
“There’s really only a set number of things that we genuinely need, solutions that we need to have solved. Obviously that has evolved over time as we’ve gotten more stuff, more technology, more money, whatever. But when you think about trying to tell somebody that they should care about something, it’s getting harder and harder nowadays. I think the example that comes to mind is plant-based milk. We didn’t really have any demand for oatmeal or soy milk or any of that shit. I think some people knew there was a problem with maybe how they processed dairy or caloric intake or whatever. But it was a whole new message of ‘This exists, and you should want it. And here’s why.’ But I mean, besides that, nowadays I can’t really think about anything. Maybe I’m drawing a blank, but like I said, I think the margin is getting smaller in terms of, here’s a brand new category, here’s a brand new thing that’s solving this problem that you didn’t even know you had. I think nowadays it’s almost creating issues to then be solved.”
9:53 – Evangelize your product
Alex said if you want your product to have long-term reach and success, you have to evangelize your product.
“They tap into an existing desire, which is maybe to lose weight, maybe to have better focus. But then there’s an evangelist or somebody who goes in and digs at those pain points, and they create a solution typically like Bulletproof coffee. But I think the effect that they create is longer lasting and wider than their specific product, because you could argue that Dave Asprey in doing so created a whole new niche of products. Perfect Keto. That’s a whole brand that’s been created in that space. And maybe I’m ignorant on this, and maybe this stuff existed before that, but there had to be somebody who acted as that evangelist who told everybody, ‘Yeah. Here’s your problem. Here is a potential solution.’ And then evangelize that.”
12:17 – Reach a new audience
Allie said establishing demand with an audience who has a true need isn’t hard. What’s more difficult is establishing demand with an audience that doesn’t necessarily need your product.
“It’s not too hard to establish demand with the first segment of your audience. Like for the milk situation, the lactose intolerant people. They’re like, ‘Oh shit, this is awesome. Of course I want to try this.’ What’s interesting is the adoption of folks that don’t necessarily need it. That must be really an interesting part of their marketing strategy. And that to me is wholeheartedly changing people’s minds, solving problems that weren’t really problems to begin with or becoming a brand new part of someone’s lifestyle when they don’t really need it. I think that that’s the two-parter of establishing demand. It’s obviously establishing demand with people who are problem aware. Maybe they don’t know the solution exists, but they at least have a problem that can be solved, losing weight, down to those basic needs. But then there’s the people that don’t really have a problem. What’s their motivation? What’s that discovery process like? And how do you get in front of that with content? It’s not going to be Google, because those people aren’t even searching for things that would then help them find your content. So that’s where I think when it trickles down to content marketing it becomes really interesting.”
17:11 – Create demand with SEO
Alex said SEO does more than capture demand. It can create demand as well by capturing pain points surreptitiously.
“I know we’re probably all associating SEO in our heads with capturing demand, but I don’t think it’s necessarily that. I think you can create demand with SEO as well. I look at SEO as a distribution channel and also research. It’s pain points captured surreptitiously without the user knowing that you’re capturing it. Somebody typing in CRM software is them saying they want CRM software, and they’re using that language to tell you that. So I think finding the pain point, you can do that through customer research or trial and error. I don’t know how drift came up with conversational marketing, but I think those things exist and SEO can be a data point for that. And you can still adjust the article and talk about what you’re talking about in a different way. Whereas you capture, I guess, the search traffic, the demand that’s there for that word, but you can still create demand within that piece for something new. And I think that’s where you can blend some SEO and thought leadership.”
24:24 – Use the surround sound strategy
David said the surround sound strategy is an effective way to make sure your potential customers are made aware of your product.
“All of that together is like surround sound, which is building links and getting listed on all those listicles. With content acceleration it’s getting a bunch of content out at once and getting that audience to start seeing your message over and over and over multiple times within a short period of time, versus like maybe occasionally finding your content when you search Google. So it’s pretty interesting what you’re talking about there where if you’re trying to establish demand they shouldn’t just see you once every couple of months, they should start seeing you multiple times, and that’s where content acceleration, producing a lot of content, distributing it on all the channels where your target audience is, running your paid marketing in conjunction with doing a surround sound playbook. Then you’re just going to start blasting the market and they’re going to be like, who the hell is this company that keeps showing up all of a sudden.”
26:21 – Determine your hierarchy of needs
Allie said businesses have a hierarchy of needs just like individuals do. But to establish that hierarchy of needs in your business, you have to fit them to your team.
“The same way individuals have the hierarchy of needs, businesses do, too. So every new concept or new tool, somehow you have to fit it into a predetermined set of needs or titles or whatever you want to call it. But yeah, I mean, I’ve been trying to employ tactics I’ve learned from you in my job today. And it’s not really my thing, but it’s somewhat SEO. And then there’s some PR people involved. And it’s nothing official yet, but I went through the same thought process of where does this fit in? And I think it does depend on how individual teams are structured, but it’s really exciting. I feel like we’re going through the process on our own of establishing demand and finding the fit for that.”
31:10 – Find answers for pain points
David said capturing demand and creating demand are two sides of the same coin. The difference is in whether your audience knows they have a pain point or not.
“Capturing demand versus creating demand is—is misnomer the right word or false dichotomy? I think it’s all just capturing demand. It’s just one is about educating the market about a new solution, but there’s an existing pain point, versus a solution that they might already be familiar with. But it all comes down to knowing your persona. What’s the pain point you’re solving for? It is very unlikely that you’ve uncovered a brand new pain point in humanity. So you’re solving for something and they know that they either have it and don’t know it, or they know they have it and they know it. And it’s just, how are you getting people to know about your new solution? And there’s going to be tangential demand for related products that I already know about that you can then insert yourself into the conversation. But in no case should you be focused on just purely quote, creating demand or doing the unmeasurable things. There’s always going to be a way to measure it.”
36:25 – Simplify your approach
Alex said success comes from stripping away the excess frameworks and just focusing on the simplest system.
“Do you think a lot of success is kind of like via negativa? It’s stripping away all of these superfluous added-on frameworks and things and just going to the simplest line. That’s something that I struggle with all the time with prioritizing things is, what am I over-complicating? Because I tend to look for the shiny, crazy, technical, complex solutions, because that’s the way my brain, I get interested in those things. But I’m like, what easy thing am I missing by looking over off in this direction? And there’s often really easy things that we can do to accomplish what we want to accomplish. We were doing that with sales. We were trying to build this robust, crazy ABM content system. And we’re like, what if we just do the simple thing?”