How Demand Gen Marketers Can Build Loved and Trusted Brands

December 6, 2023
Lindsay McGuire
Lindsay McGuire
Associate Director of Content and Campaigns at Goldcast

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When you think of demand generation, you may not automatically think of brand building. In fact, you may think it is quite the opposite. Although demand generation is all about targeting buyers who are not in-market, it’s not often directly correlated to brand-driven tactics.

Yet our latest episode of Donut & Demand, the show built for demand generation marketers, toppled this thought on its heads. The live event featured two powerhouse marketers who know the secret recipe to demand gen success: It's all about combining the right attribution and reporting with creativity and audience-centricity.

Donuts & Demand - show for demand generation marketers - Zsuzsanna Blau quote

Zsuzsanna Blau, Global Head of Digital Demand at Nokia and Sarah McConnell, VP of Demand Generation at Qualified joined us to dive deep into how demand generation marketers can build loved and trusted brands.

Read on to discover their best tips on how demand gen marketers can build loved and trusted brands through smart marketing tactics.

📺 Rather watch than read? Check out the full Donuts & Demand episode on-demand now!

But first! How do you define demand generation?

When you dive into the definition of demand generation, it reveals a bit of light on how demand gen is correlated to building a loved and trusted brand. First, here’s what our speakers had to say when asked, “How do you define demand generation?”

How Sarah McConnell of Qualified Defines Demand Generation

TL;DR: Although demand generation is all about creating pipeline, you can’t accomplish that without building awareness. That’s why you’ve got to do the brand work alongside your demand gen plays.

How Zsuzsanna Blau of Nokia Defines Demand Generation

TL;DR: Think demand gen is all about drumming up sales? Wrong! That’s only a part of the puzzle. The biggest pieces involve educating the market and building awareness.

4 Ways Demand Gen Marketers Can Build Loved and Trusted Brands

So we’ve heard how our speakers define demand generation and how it correlates to building brand. Yet how do you actually use demand generation to build a loved and trusted brand? LEt’s dive into four of their best takeaways from the episode to learn more!

Want even more clips? Check out all the best demand generation tips, tricks, pointers, and hot takes by checking out our YouTube playlist The Very Best of Donuts & Demand: Top Clips from the Show for Demand Generation Marketers.

1. Ungate Your Content, Then Ungate Some More

Zsuzsanna came out of the gate strong in the episode by explaining the first step to creating a loved and trusted brand: Ungate your content!

“The most underrated marketing strategy would be to be genuinely nice and care about your audiences and literally show up consistently with free ungated content,” explained Zsuzsanna. She went on the share why providing ungated content matters, and how type of content to create:

Many demand generation marketers might fall into the pitfall of wanting to gate content to drum up leads and have a clear way to prove ROI. Yet this can actually backfire and make people turn away from your brand. It’s a poor experience, especially in the days where it is expected to have easy access to the content you want, when you want it.

2. Don’t Just Follow the Crowd

One way to quickly alienate your audience and potential buyers is by shifting your messaging, strategies, and plays according to “trends” versus research and data.

To build a loved and trusted brand, you must provide a consistent message to the market, and understand how to best communicate and deliver that message to your ideal customer. Sometimes this means ignoring whatever the most recent marketing trend or hot tactic might be.

“If you've done something and this playbook is working for you and your organization is still doing well with it, just because you've seen four or five people on LinkedIn or you're at a conference and they're saying it's the wrong way to do it. Take it with a grain of salt,” shared Sarah.

She went on to share more about how following the crowd and trends can hurt your brand and demand gen marketing over time:

At the end of the day, building a loved and trusted brand is all about knowing your audience and understanding what works. That doesn’t mean you can’t test new trends and tactics over time, but don’t sway too far from the tried and true—because it works for a reason.

3. Do Your Research

Speaking of knowing your audience, Zsuzsanna is a huge advocate of spending 100 hours researching your audience and customer before creating any content at all.

“Before you start creating a hundred pieces meant to influence your audience's behavior, make sure that you do a hundred hours of market or audience research as well,” she stated.

One mistake she often sees demand generation marketers make is pumping out massive amounts of content without completing any audience research first. This can have a huge impact on your brand, because if you don’t know what your audience wants, how can you be sure you’re delivering the right content, at the right time, through the right channels?

She goes on to share:

Doing this research won’t only build your brand’s credibility and trust over time, but it will also play a role in influencing your audience’s behavior, which is really the end goal of any demand gen campaign!

💡 Speaking of content…explore how to create better content strategies alongside your events by watching our Sip & Share episode A Tour of Tequilas and Content Strategies.

4. Use Internal SMEs to Test Messaging

Not sure if your messaging is resonating with your ideal audience? Sarah suggests finding the right subject matter experts within your org to help test messaging.

“I think in demand gen, we forget that there is always someone internal to our organization who's a subject matter expert and that we should lean on them more, not just our customers,” she stated.

Chatting with customers takes a lot more time, effort, and planning than simply tapping into your internal SMEs. That’s not to say it’s not worth it; testing messaging with customers should always be a high priority. But if you’re not weaving SMEs into your content planning, strategy, and production, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for better understanding your audience. Sarah explains:

And what happens when you better understand the wants, needs, and desires of your audience? You guessed it: You build a loved and trusted brand. You’ve got to walk the walk and talk the talk, and that starts with knowing what will best help your audience.

Ready to Build a Loved and Trusted Brand?

This is only a small window into all the great points Sarah and Zsuzsanna made during the episode. If you want more, be sure to catch the full episode on demand now! You can catch it right now—ungated, of course!—over on YouTube.

If you enjoyed this dive into how demand generation marketers can build a loved and trusted brand, be sure to register for our next episode of Donuts & Demand! We’re hosting the absolute best demand generation marketers the second Tuesday of every month to get a sprinkling of demand generation tips served with a whole lot of fun AND live Q&A! Not to mention, there’s always prizes involved. See you there!

Donuts & Demand the show for demand generation marketers

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