I recently wrote about the importance of understanding demand generation from your prospects' perspective. The journey between noticing you and believing your services could improve or transform their business takes time. People will move at their own pace and take as long as they need to go through it.
This also means that, when you move from a traditional "lead generation" approach to a customer-centric demand generation model, you will need to adjust your time expectations.
What most people understand as lead generation means simply collecting the contact information of potential clients, and trying to move them as quickly as possible to a one-on-one conversation.
This is typically done either by direct outreach (cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn outreach, or even physical sends) or by paid advertising (asking for email addresses in exchange for a content magnet, and adding people to a drip campaign). I've already shared my reservations with this approach before.
Demand generation, on the other hand, consists of moving buyers on their buying journey on scale, how they want and when they want it. It is a much better experience for your prospects, and also produces more sustainable growth for your consulting business.
Marketing is, and will always be, a competition for people’s attention. It is costly to get it - you pay for it with your time (direct outreach) or money (advertising). But this also means that the most effective and sustainable way to market is making people voluntarily choose to give you their attention.
If you have a garden, you want trees that keep producing fruits year after year. Spending time and money to plant new ones every season is nonsense.
How do you win the marketing competition with this approach? In the short-term, by being relevant and worthy of their interest. In the long-term, by earning their trust and mindshare.
You will still need to pay for attention, but only until you can command it. And this takes time.
That's why I always set expectations from the start: "We're taking the long road. It may take 4 to 6 months for you to start seeing concrete results from your marketing initiatives. If you need results in 1 week, it's better to go work with somebody else."
Questions for you: Are you taking the long road? Six months from now, what you will you wish you had spent time on today?