The case for ‘demand capture’ in a ‘demand generation’ world

gold2A couple of years ago I got hooked on the “Gold Rush” television series. If you aren’t familiar with it, imagine several amateur gold hunters venturing into the Klondike to strike it rich (you can learn more here).  As with any good story, and after four full seasons of gold mining, there are some clear winners and losers (at least as far as finding gold is concerned).

The difference between the winners and losers? The losers, though entertaining to watch, are constantly abandoning one mine to find and hit the mother lode in another. They haven’t hit it yet, but it is sure fun to watch them try! The winners, on the other hand, have systematically created their process for finding gold in the ground and extracting as much as they possibly can. And we are not talking about extracting million dollar nuggets. We are talking primarily about small gold flakes and gold dust. Stuff you wouldn’t even see in a shovel full of the dirt that is carrying it.

So what does that have to do with you trying to generate more leads and customers for your business? If you want to be a winner, you have to do the same damn thing. You need to be good at generating demand and even better at capturing it. The thing about generating demand is that if you don’t capture and capitalize on it, someone else will.

The de facto way to capture demand today is on your website–the very place where you will find the demand that has been generated. At least that part is convenient. What isn’t convenient is that, like the gold in the dirt, this demand is hidden amongst all the other people visiting your site and must be separated. Having good web content that caters to different types of visitors is the most common and effective way to do this. Job hunters go left, prospective customers go right. But then what? How do you capture that demand?

For e commerce sites, the check-out and purchase is a clear measure that demand has indeed been captured and converted. But what about all those people that are putting things in shopping carts, very nearly checking out and then abandoning?

For Lead Generation based initiatives, the act of submitting the form is considered to be when the demand was captured. Here you have two problems. The first is that the vast majority of prospective buyers won’t fill out your form. The second is that those that do are usually lost in a longer list of unqualified people and usually ignored by the sales team. Just ask any sales person who gets to call on those “leads” and they will likely tell you that you can’t call your dirt gold just because it found its way into the sluice box.

You can reduce those problems in a couple of ways and see a dramatic increase  in your results. First, utilize dynamic content where your website adjusts based on who the visitor is and what their unique needs are. Second, don’t rely solely on content that is having a monologue with your visitors and web forms that force all leads to look the same. Insert human expertise that can have an actual dialogue with each prospective buyer and truly understand and facilitate their needs while fully capturing the opportunity. They don’t need to be product experts or seasoned sales professionals. They need to be able to align with the demand that was generated and provide real value. This could be scheduling a demo. It could be facilitating a custom plan for them. It could be as simple as emailing a case study over to them. Anything that gives the prospective buyer value and gives you the ability to capture more of the demand.

With actual context and confidence in the opportunity, your sales teams will be begging for more instead of ignoring them. Our clients have consistently seen results on their campaigns quadruple by employing these tools and techniques. Playing marketing-musical-chairs and feeling that the mother lode will be hit with your next campaign will always be more exciting than the above. But aside from the excitement, there are still winners and losers.