When B2B marketers talk about solutions to reduce demand generation friction, it can sometimes sound like a distant utopian future. In reality, smooth demand-driven marketing is already among us.

Since 2007, multiple studies have shown that we recall bad memories more easily and in greater detail than good ones, for perhaps evolutionary reasons. Negative emotions like fear, sadness, or annoyance trigger increased activity in a part of the brain linked to memories. Therefore, it’s no surprise that users will remember negative, friction-filled experiences with businesses.

Yet the ease and value of a frictionless demand generation journey can be felt behind the scenes by marketers, and even public-facing by customers themselves. This is all the more important when considering how many people B2B communications needs to reach smoothly and effectively to gain and retain customers.

Recently Turtl’s Head of Demand, Kate Terry, led a conversation around why the future of demand gen is already here, and how to build and scale your demand processes. Read on for the key points, or watch the on-demand link to B2B Marketing Expo’s Digital Expert Topic Series if you prefer listening to reading.

Demand Gen, friction, and what it all means for B2B marketing

Without demand generation, your marketing could be reaching the right people but at the wrong time. Generating interest in your company, product, or service grows your audience and builds excitement. These engaged audience members go on to become those high-quality leads that your sales teams adore.

So deciding whether or not you need demand gen is a no-brainer. We all do. And the less friction involved, the better.

As anybody who has come up with a demand generation strategy will tell you though, theorizing the strategy and then putting it into practice are two very different beasts. One thing that is guaranteed is that there will be more sticking points than you expected. These sticking points are appropriately referred to as ‘friction’.

Think of friction as anything that interrupts your buyer and slows down their journey toward converting. Anything from poor user experience, to competition for buyer attention, and any number of issues between.

Infographic titled What Causes Friction In The Buyer Journey?

So we know what friction is and why to avoid it, but what can marketers do?

Demand generation needs to be a 2-way conversation

One-way broadcasting is for TV news presenters and late-night radio DJs. It’s as analog and static as you can get.

The digital age’s most valuable feature is that we can now listen as much as we talk. As such, the best digital marketers are very aware of this and listen closely to their audience.

Those that have managed to generate clear channels of communication know that buyer expectations are changing. Thanks to evolving technologies and shifts in B2C experiences, two-way dialogues are becoming the norm.

This concept means more than just holding an actual conversation with your audience. It can also involve more inventive ways of building understanding, like any of the following:

  • Delivering high-quality, stand-out content. In a world where the average consumer is being bombarded with upwards of 5,000 marketing messages every day, just creating content isn’t enough to get you noticed
  • Leading with value and transparency. Any salesperson will tell you that selling is a trust exercise, so don’t squander buyer trust by hiding important information
  • Creating opportunities for interaction. Communications that hold attention perform better across the board. Interaction is a sure-fire way to get your audience’s attention
  • Deeply understanding interests and needs. You can’t know too much about your target audience, supplement what you know from speaking to your audience with broader market research and in-depth data analysis
  • Willingness to sacrifice MQLs. Each business will have its own definition of an MQL, but there is a compelling argument to be made for striving for quality over quantity

Two business people discuss something in this stock image

Welcome to the great gate debate

This is one of those arguments that seems as if it’ll roll on and on forever – are gates on your content a force for good, or a form of self-sabotage?

Both sides of the argument have compelling points to make. Even anti-gaters cannot justify the loss of traffic that gating results in.

Yet a survey carried out by LinkedIn showed that 81% of B2B buyers bounce when they hit an upfront gate. And a startling number of that remaining 19% all seem to share access to the “noname@nomail.com” email address.

Meanwhile, pro-gaters argue that gating content leads to more sales by giving access to more data on prospective customers. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that LinkedIn’s poll is overly pessimistic in its analysis of user behavior.

Turtl’s own research, collected via our Modern Demand Marketing Guide, suggests that readers are much more open to sharing their details. This is provided they feel the content they are seeing is worthwhile. A modest 40% of respondents indicated that if hooked enough, they would divulge their contact information. And 25% on top of that, opted for the frivolous ‘Fill it in, why not!’ option.

The great gate debate, to win gates need to evolve infographic and survey

Approaching the argument from a friction removal standpoint would suggest that making gates history would be the preferred option. But this ignores a number of practicalities. That’s why we think that gates don’t need to go, but they also can’t stay either – at least not as they are.

Gates need to evolve, to feel less obstructive and more valuable. When a gate is value-led, it offers more value to customers on top of what they are already getting. As such, we use an opt-in approach at Turtl where our audience receives value, and then are offered even more if they go through a gate. It’s one of the most effective ways to see gates deliver precious data and feel purposeful to readers.

There are many other offers besides this that a crafty demand gen marketer could try. For instance, integrating polls and other engagement-boosting widgets into content allows for more novel ways of measuring intent signals. It’s so useful, our Turtl developers have done some coding to make adding widgets into a digital document only take a few clicks.

Our users seem to really appreciate the tool, with the Turtl Doc analytics page allowing publishers to track exactly how engaged readers are with each page of their content. That insight then informs what sort of follow-up a reader receives, and how a business might classify each potential lead.
Click to read Modern Demand Marketing for your company | Turtl Guide


A frictionless demand gen ecosystem

Everybody’s demand eco-system will look very different when analyzed under a microscope. From a very broad perspective, there are two ‘must-have’ parts: demand creation and demand capture.

These two parts of the ecosystem might be managed by different teams, depending on the nature of your marketing strategy. The key to minimizing demand generation friction is for everybody, regardless of team, to be aligned in the same direction with a shared goal.

Demand creation can involve producing marketing collateral or developing targeted campaigns to generate brand awareness and foster product understanding. Whether it is an ad campaign, blog post, or press release, the focus is to educate the market and turn your target demographic from an unaware audience to an engaged one.

A group photo where everyone is looking at their phones

So what about going from a follower to a customer? Well, demand capture uses tactics designed to track people who are in-market and directly educate them about your product or solution. Numbers-focused marketers alongside sales development teams will often use things like conversion rate optimization and product marketing materials to move prospects into the buying cycle.

As customers go through your demand content eco-system, what they see will be different from what they have seen before. Ideally, things are more conversion-focused and personalized to individual interests. But customers shouldn’t even be aware they have passed from one part of the ecosystem into another.

The Turtl Takeaway: Let them choose their own adventure

The future of building and scaling frictionless demand is already here. The way to do it well is to enable customers to choose their experiences. Let them build a journey that is valuable and relevant to them.

We have entered an era where companies use technology to make processes smoother. Generating leads, qualifying them, and converting them into customers faster, more efficiently, and with greater predictability than ever before is no exception.

The challenge is that many companies aren’t taking advantage of that technology. Are you wasting team time and resources still operating with a traditional workflow model that forces marketers to manually build out a sales funnel one step at a time?

There’s another, better way to generate and measure demand for your product or service — one that lets you create an integrated and automated process for converting leads into customers through content. Say hello to Turtl.

Turtl is a content software platform that assists in the creation, personalization, distribution, and analysis of exceptional digital documents. The reader insights enable lead generation through lead scoring, nurturing, conversion, and audience management.

Let content teams focus on optimizing existing resources rather than spending time or budget on pumping out materials that cannot be adequately measured or tracked. And enable sales teams to focus on closing deals rather than spending hours finding new leads or managing existing ones.

If you would like to give Turtl a try for your demand generation strategy, get in touch with our team.

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