What is demand generation? Typical answer is.. it’s complicated. Well, with every complex system of methods comes a painfully lame metaphor to simplify the understanding of its overall purpose. When it comes to Demand Generation, quite frankly, if I bare subject to one more practitioner’s cookie-cutter “funnel” analogy, I will have no choice but to funnel Huy Fong Sriracha sauce in or around their eye sockets.

That being said, here’s a funnel to gander your hot chili/distilled vinegar covered eyes at!

what is demand generation

Yep, that, in all its glory, is the proverbial journey of a stranger to customer and each step in between, which has effectively been tattoo’d to the hopes and dreams of each member of the digital marketing community.

This cone-shaped, lacklusterful prop lives in the center of every digital driven business development approach. For the most part, it defines what we (should) spend our lives doing in Demand Gen; however, be that as it may, many still have difficulty truly following the basic concept. This is because, for those who are unfamiliar with the community, a Demand Gener is like kind of like a Bruce Jenner, but typically even more confused.

What often tends to prove even more irksome than simply understanding the notion of Demand Generation is explaining the new-age approach to an average commoner – i.e. what is all about, what exactly you do, and why you’re better than them (lulz).

Grandma may never understand exactly what your life’s work entails, but perhaps this Tinderfied analogy of the standard funnel could shed some light for friends and peers. Because, as Grandma would always say, “when all else fails, try comparing a boring and complex methodological system with getting laid on Tinder.”

what is demand generation
Still not clicking? Brain hurting? Here we go..

Market/Users on Tinder

What happens on Tinder..
Let’s begin at square one… In the world of life there are people. You may quote me on that. Some of them might want to have sex on you and some of those are on Tinder.
How that’s like Marketing..
There lives a broad Market of possible customers that have money and you want it.


Leads/Right Swipes

What happens on Tinder..
Within all of those potential Tinder suitors, there exist those who are swipe leftable and those swipe rightable. The right swipe worthy are the ones within your field of interest who still remain after trimming the fat (sometimes, literally).
How that’s like Marketing..
Some of the world’s customers are within the general parameters of what you consider to be broadly qualified – or in other words, match the demographical/behavioral points that you believe makes them an appropriate candidate to buy your stuff.


MQLs/Mutual Swipes

What happens on Tinder..
“Whoohoo! That seemingly good-looking Tinderer that I am superficially attracted to based solely on their probably slightly altered image that I’m viewing on a 4×7 inch display likes me back!”
How that’s like Marketing..
A qualified lead has taken a significant action (like contacted you) or enough actions (like clicked a bunch of stuff) to be “Marketing-qualified” and thus considered to be a good ol’ HOT LEAD. You send them to Sales to harass them incessantly.


SQLs/Dirty Talk

What happens on Tinder..
Your love at first swipe connection blossoms into a shamefully lascivious dialogue. Note: Regular talk might also be accepted but that’s not quite as fun.
How that’s like Marketing..
After handed off to Sales, that seemingly interested buyer passes the Sales Guy sniff test and is recognized as a true lead, is accepted, and a pitch is made. Smile and dial, Willy Loman.


Opportunities/Hot Date

What happens on Tinder..
Smooth moves, you silver-tongued devil you.  Your sweet talking and skillful use of emojis landed you an in-person, slightly awkward and definitely overpriced dating experience.
How that’s like Marketing..
After talking to the potential cash cow, it seems they have a need and you’ve woo’d them. They’ve placed their budget and timeframe in your bed and suddenly a sales opportunity is born. Your start negotiating terms..


Close/Sexy Time

What happens on Tinder..
Bow chicka bow wow!
How that’s like Marketing..
Cha ching!


You see, the role of Demand Generation is a bit deeper than the name implies. The process doesn’t only involve permeating a brand’s awareness and drumming up some demand for its services. Skillful Demand Gen follows the journey of a customer from the point of first ever interaction (your swipe) straight through to the end point of conversion through leveraging a blend of strategy, creativity and technology to enable it.

However, managing this pathway to closed deals is not enough – it needs be automated to reduce manual nurturing from one phase to the next in a way that’s scalable, and optimized as masterfully as possible. How many of your Tindery conversations are turning to dates? How many right swipes are turning to those conversations? What’s the fraction of people you see on Tinder to people you meet? These are all questions that digital marketers ask themselves, only with the Demand Gen stuff. How many marketing-driven Opps close? How many MQLs become revenue? Then, it’s a never-ending process of making sure those ratios are sexy.

So here’s to lead generation transparency that even a late teen could grasp. And here’s to getting paid, to getting laid, and may your eyes always steer clear of Asian condiments. Cheers.