If you’re not generating demand

During my job search (soon to be over, I hope) I’ve discovered this term that I find interesting – “demand generation.” I’ve been asked repeatedly about my experience with demand generation. Some people now have this in their title. This term wasn’t one I’d come across before as a formal bit of marketing terminology, and it was interesting to me. So I went to the almighty Wikipedia:

Demand generation is the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services.

That didn’t really get me anywhere, and the subsequent article didn’t really, either. So I went to Hubspot:

…demand generation captures the umbrella of marketing programs that get customers excited about your company’s product and services. Demand generation programs can help your organization reach new markets, promote new product features, build consumer buzz, generate PR, and re-engage existing customers.

Still not getting anything like an epiphany from that one, either. The MarTech Zone, while it went deeper, didn’t satisfy me, either. Here’s why: Demand generation isn’t anything that marketers haven’t been doing for a long time. It’s  a new gloss on an old shoe. While marketing has become increasingly complex and has spawned many specialties, demand generation simply doesn’t meet the criteria for a new specialty.

I know, as a marketer, positioning is a critical activity. It’s hard not to turn the positioning lens on our own profession, and try to make it sexy, especially for those of us in B2B marketing. We’re rarely celebrated in the marketing world, because we’re not generally seen by the mass consumer. I get it. But let’s not take an already complex role and make it more difficult to understand by repackaging it into a specialty without meaning. Take pride in being a marketer, and leave it at that.

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