Demand Generation vs. Demand Capture: Goals, KPIs, Tactics

Demand generation and demand capture are distinct but equally valuable approaches to marketing. Each has its methodologies, goals, and key performance indicators (KPIs) and requires different tactical approaches. 

Demand generation is geared towards building awareness and interest among a broad audience. KPIs for demand generation range across metrics like: website traffic, social media engagement, email sign-ups, and brand reach. 

Demand capture, on the other hand, is about converting existing demand into sales or inquiries. It principally targets audiences that are already actively seeking products, services, or solutions that your company can supply. KPIs for demand capture are evaluated in terms of conversion rates, click-through rates, sales inquiry volume changes, and return on investment (ROI). 

demand-generationImage Credit: suprunovich

This article will explain demand generation vs demand capture in terms of goals, KPIs, and tactics.

What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is a comprehensive marketing strategy focused on creating and nurturing interest in a company's products or services. Its primary goal is to generate awareness, capture the attention of (new and old) potential customers, and stimulate their interest in what you offer. Demand-generation activities are carried out through a diverse range of marketing tactics. Some of these are: audience engagement, multi-channel approaches, lead generation, and measurement and optimization.

Demand generation is primarily focused on immediate sales. Nevertheless, an effective strategy will continue building long-term relationships with potential customers, informing and updating them about the company's value proposition. The aim, of course, is to guide them toward becoming long-term and repeat customers. This holistic approach considers the entire customer journey from contact to retirement and can make a strong contribution to sustained business growth.

What Is Demand Capture?

Demand capture is an entirely different piece of a balanced marketing strategy. It focuses on capturing the interest and immediate purchasing intent of individuals or businesses who are already actively seeking your type of product or service. Unlike demand generation, demand capture targets an audience that is already active and aware in the market and who has indicated their readiness to purchase.

A proper demand capture strategy will find potential customers who are already looking to buy and will guide them toward you. They’re already motivated, so you must focus  on your business. 

Demand Generation vs. Demand Capture: Goals

The goals of these two strategies are largely distinct from one another, but there is some overlap. In demand generation, the foremost goal is to expand market awareness of your company's products or services among a broad target audience. These efforts seek to inform and persuade those who may not have been actively looking for your products. The strategy aims to stimulate interest and curiosity in potential customers by offering high-grade and digestible information that educates them. If done properly, it will position your company as a trusted resource and advisor. Demand generation focuses on building and strengthening the brand's reputation, authority, and recognition in the market. You can pick up long-term benefits from this strategy even if you don’t see short-term results. Success can thus be hard to quantify in a data-driven analysis. 

Demand generation aims to reach a wide range of potential customers, whether they’re currently interested in your offerings or not. An expanded audience is the central pillar of a long-term growth strategy and can again be hard to quantify in terms of ROI and shorter-term assessment methods. While not the primary goal of the strategy, demand generation results in lead generation, and those leads require nurturing if they are to create a pipeline of potential customers for future conversion.

On the other hand, the principal goal of the demand capture approach to marketing is to grab onto individuals or businesses who are actively looking to buy. It focuses on converting highly motivated prospects into customers or clients quickly and efficiently. The transition is most effective when handled by a single point of contact or a high-quality CIM (client information management) system. Demand capture seeks to capitalize on existing demand and generate revenue from low-friction prospects who are at or close to the point of making a purchase decision. Since these prospects are already looking to buy, the sales cycle is short. This method seeks to optimize ROI by efficiently converting warm leads into short- to medium-term revenue. 

While demand generation and demand capture serve different purposes and operate in different stages of the sales cycle, they complement each other in a holistic marketing strategy.

Demand Generation vs. Demand Capture: KPIs

Demand generation and demand capture strategies have distinct KPIs that align with their respective goals and approaches to client engagement. Demand generation benefits from a close eye on the number of visitors to your website. That gives you an idea of the awareness and interest and then allows you to evaluate your site and advertising effectiveness. Social media metrics such as: likes, shares, comments, and follower growth reflect engagement with your content and brand. These allow a very responsive assessment of your strategy’s performance. If you build a subscriber list, you’ll also demonstrate growing interest and gain leads. Tracking the consumption of blog posts, videos or downloads indicates the effectiveness of educational content. Content consumption indicators are among the strongest guides to the quality of your engagement. Viewer/reader impressions and other indicators give you direct evidence of your strategy’s effects and, in turn, help you optimize your efforts quickly. The number of leads (and their relative quality) is a key indicator of demand generation success. While not the primary focus, by tracking the conversion of leads to customers, you’ll get insight into the effectiveness of your lead nurturing efforts.

For demand capture, the primary focus is on conversion metrics, including click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and cost per acquisition (CPA). The number of immediate sales or inquiries generated through demand capture efforts will tell you very quickly how effective your strategy moves have been. You should be able to calculate the ROI of each campaign or channel to assess their efficiency. Meanwhile, sales velocity is illuminated by monitoring what percentage of leads become customers and how quickly they do so. Evaluating the number of clicks on and revisits to paid ads indicates their effectiveness in capturing demand from interested prospects. The performance of optimized landing pages in terms of conversions and bounce rates can be very informative as to the strength of your strategy and the quality of your user experience. The customer acquisition cost (CAC) measures the average price of acquisition of a live prospect or customer through demand capture efforts, which is critical for ROI assessment.

Although the KPIs for the two approaches differ, they complement each other. Demand generation lays some of the foundations that are critical for demand capture by creating awareness and interest. 

Demand Generation vs. Demand Capture: Tactics

Demand generation and demand capture require specific tactics to achieve their respective goals. Content marketing can be ideal for demand generation. Create and publish informative and engaging content like blog posts, videos, webinars, white papers, and e-books to educate and attract a broad but information-hungry audience. Social media marketing, meanwhile, uses sector-appropriate social platforms to share content, engage with the audience, seek feedback, and build brand awareness. SEO improves website content, allowing it to rank higher in search engine results, and attract more organic traffic.

Email marketing through regular newsletters, updates, and educational content can also build a subscriber base and nurture leads. Bear in mind local restrictions on spam and the right to be removed from mailing lists so you don’t get labeled as a spam source. Online advertising through PPC and display ads or promoted content can reach a wider audience and enhance brand visibility. Influencer marketing can also be effective — collaborate with appropriate and carefully vetted industry influencers to take advantage of their reach and credibility. Public relations (PR) can generate media coverage and mentions that increase brand exposure.

Demand capture strategies are often more focused. Set up PPC advertising and bid on relevant keywords that will draw the eye of users who are searching for your company’s products. Retarget users who have previously visited your website to repeatedly remind them of your offerings and encourage them to interact. Email marketing can also be effective through the use of targeted lists, sending personalized and timely offers to segmented targets or prospects who have shown interest. Dedicated, high-converting landing pages will capture leads and prompt more immediate actions. Time-sensitive promotions or discounts to incentivize immediate purchases or inquiries can also induce FOMO (fear of missing out). Call-to-action (CTA) optimization is a powerful strategy; place prominent and persuasive CTAs in your ads and landing pages. Targeting local keywords and optimizing for Google My Business can capture demand from specific geographic regions. 

A highly developed understanding of demand generation and demand capture will help your business plan its tactics and meet marketing objectives. 

Demand Generation vs. Demand Capture: Platforms

Modern demand generation and demand capture strategies generally rely on multiple marketing platforms. Content management system (CMS) platforms such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla are demand generation aids. They are essential for creating and publishing informative content that captivates, educates, and engages a broad audience. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram provide broad channels for sharing content, engaging with users, and building brand impact. Paid advertisers often have access to high-powered analytical tools. Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are the targets of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that improve your organic traffic and visibility. Professional SEO services that keep pace with the ebb and flow of the algorithms can have significant effects in this area. Email marketing software tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot help you build targeted email campaigns, distribute newsletters, and nurture leads. Content distribution networks (CDNs) like Outbrain or Taboola efficiently promote content to a wider audience through native advertising. Influencer platforms like AspireIQ or Upfluence help you identify and collaborate with influencers for content promotion.

For demand capture, search engine advertising platforms such as Google Ads and Bing Ads enable you to bid on keywords. This will tightly target your ads toward those users who are already searching for specific products or services. Retargeting/remarketing networks such as AdRoll, Google Display Network, and Facebook Pixel will show your ads to users who have already visited your website. This encourages them to return and convert or at least maintain awareness. Email marketing platforms like SendGrid or Campaign Monitor send personalized offers and reminders to segmented lists of prospects who have demonstrated interest. Landing page builder platforms like Unbounce, Instapage, or HubSpot's Landing Page Builder are essential for creating efficient and high-converting landing pages to capture immediate leads. Local SEO and Google My Business help optimize for local keywords and enhance visibility in local search results, particularly map-based searches.

Both strategies benefit from tools like Google Analytics and marketing automation platforms like Marketo or HubSpot to assess performance, optimize campaigns, and enhance your ROI. 

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