This is an introductory article for small to medium businesses who are either behind the digital sales and marketing curve, or who are dabbling with digital tactics for either branding or lead generation purposes. 

The focus of this article is 'Digital Demand Generation' (DDG), a discipline that combines a custom combination of digital tactics for lead generation (traffic), and an implementation of a marketing automation tool to manage lead progression through the funnel towards a closed sale. 

This discipline is now emerging as Revenue Performance Management (RPM) and was originally termed Marketing Automation. Regardless of title, progressive organisations can make significant strides forward with DDG  by increasing their number of leads, number of sales qualified conversions and reduction of the sales cycle in terms of time and expense. 

Using digital marketing tactics, marketing automation tools and the latest best practices can result in a tremendous revenue growth opportunity for SMEs, but be sure to consider the suitability of DDG for your business.

What is Digital Demand Generation (DDG)? 

Digital Demand Generation is a fast emerging sales and marketing discipline that enables companies to combine the very latest digital channels, tools & practices in a way that significantly improves their ability to attract & close business.

DDG is also known as Revenue Performance Management in some circles. DDG luses web tactics and online communications to deliver digital ‘bait’, to engage with prospects and to monitor their interest in your business.

Hot prospects are identified and alerted to sales, warm prospects are engaged further to nurture them to hot status, and cold prospects are delivered a drip feed of materials until they start to show interest.

The DDG environment can be fully automated, and once the system is configured the only ongoing effort is in the creation of content (‘the ‘bait’) needed to attract new prospects.

What are the opportunities and benefits?

Your company may already be using a selection of digital mechanisms for sales and marketing, such as a custom website, SEO/SEM, email, blogs and social media.

Implementing a DDG solution revamps/augments & aligns those digital tactics that provide the best return for lead generation, capture and conversion.

Effective Digital Demand Generation essentially expands the size of your sales funnel and automatically nurtures a greater percentage of leads down the funnel for closure.

DDG can create 25-500% more leads and 2-5x better conversion rates. For larger organisations a slight uplift in lead or conversion percentages usually results in significant revenue gains ... smaller business can really move the needle and in many cases absolutely modernize their entire sales and marketing processes and function. 

The two major components of DDG

The two key components to manage within an overall demand generation strategy are: Lead Generation & Lead Management. Below is a diagram summarizing the activities, and it needs to be stressed that both aspects need to be addressed to significantly impact revenue.

Lead Generation fills the funnel using a custom combination of inbound/outbound marketing tactics, & lead management establishes the ‘marketing automation’ technology & processes for capturing leads then progressing them through the funnel. In many cases, the lead cycle time will be reduced by the efficiencies of automation.

DDG lead generation & management diagram

"Show me the Money"

DDG impacts the most important sales and marketing metrics. Below is an example of a project I executed with a software company. This company targets software trial downloads as their prime lead capture ‘bait’.

Leads are scored based on behavior and profile. Behavior activity such as web page visits, viewing videos, webinars, manuals, blogs & papers, opening emails & social forwarding increases scores. Profile questions capture company info, plus product/service needs to assess fit/urgency.DDG program started simply, grew in sophistication, & measures/reviews/refines every month.

It is critical that your DDG strategy is created from the top down, that it aligns with your company/sales/marketing objectives, and that is customized according to the many variables in play. With DDG you can start simple, realize early benefits & grow your proficiency, sophistication & impact month by month. 

The first step is to assess your current sales and marketing function, and what the DDG opportunity is for your business within the context of your competitors and the digital maturity of your target market.

Andy McCartney

Published 9 February, 2011 by Andy McCartney

Andy McCartney is Founder of and iMCCmarketing LLC, and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (8)

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Simon West

Good intro, but you title this as an introduction for SMEs "behind the curve". You've told them WHAT DDG is but missed out HOW to do it completely...

Go on, add the extra half of the article and help out those SMEs that need a hand in this area ;)

over 7 years ago

Andrew Lloyd Gordon

Andrew Lloyd Gordon, Digital Marketing Expert, Speaker and Trainer at New Terrain Limited

Hi Andy

Interesting piece...

I guess this is what organisations have been trying to do with Web Marketing for some time. Although they've (mostly) not managed it because they're not 'joining the dots' between their online marketing and leads/sales activity.

Do you think this discipline is more of technical challenge or a cultural one (within organisations) e.g. different teams working in silos?

over 7 years ago


Tim Sennitt, Strategic Communications at OTMSmall Business


Interesting stuff. As another reader highlights, 'joining the dots' remains the business challenge but also the imperative. But for most businesses, stopping in order to reorganise their back-office functions and disciplines is not a realistic option so aligning them on the hoof requires overall vision and a 'road-map' (sorry) to get there, bringing elements on stream. The perception always seems to be it's all or nothing but common sense suggest it ought to be a rolling, if-focused process. I'd welcome anyone's thoughts.

over 7 years ago



Interesting article.
However, once again, there is a confusing proliferation of technical acronyms. Even as a seasoned techie I get headaches with the bifurcations produced by the recombination of concepts. Hope that was suitably convoluted ;)
Point is, if we remove the acronyms our concepts would be better understood, but I guess it's easier to sell services as experts in 'Digital Demand Generation' and 'Revenue Performance Management'!
I mean, the more confusing our rhetoric, the more awe inspired our customer cohort at our ability to understand how to implement and leverage the concepts behind the various linguistic contortions we invent.
Anyway, as I said, interesting article, looking forward to part II :)

over 7 years ago


Andy Xhignesse

Thanks for a great post Andy. (seems that name is popular in this thread) I'm always grateful when others are 'speaking the same meaning' with different words.

The concept of DDG that you discuss is a large part of what we do at IME for our clients, and a critical element of the OVERALL WEB STRATEGY, which I think may be part of the 'linking the dots' and 'how to' that Andrew and Simon bring forward to the discussion. Far too often we observe companies that ignore other critical elements and subsequently don't achieve the expected or desired business gorwth and are left with a 'bad taste' in their mouth. There is little doubt any longer as to the positive impact the web can have in attracting the right market, converting them to leads and nurturing those leads to sales ready prospects...if done correctly!

There are too many firms offering some form of help in this regard that don't follow best practices unfortunately, and the SME sector genrally doesn't have the internal resources to move forward without at least some guidance if not alll out outsourcing of the solution. In my opinion any firm that offered only DDG within the SME sector, without asking questions about:
1- who will manage and evaluate data collection delivered through analytics? (does the SME prospect even understand analytics?)
2- who will be tasked with a clear articulation of the marketing personae involved if that hasn't yet been established?
3- who will undertake to understand clearly a prospects buying cycle (not your selling cycle!) so that the lead can be nurtured into a qualified prospect?
4- how will lead scoring criteria be established if not already in place?
5- who will be responsible to ensure that sales and marketing are aligned in the new paradigm?

So many questions...which seem to lead right to Tim's great pronouncement, (I mean that very truly) which we counsel at all times, it is not an EVENT, it's a PROCESS. Those companies that grasp this and engage will be positioning themselves for longterm sustainable growth. BUT, how to get them to that realization? Posts like this certainly help, hopefully you turned someone's 'light' on.

Thanks again for a great post, I look forward to your next offering.

over 7 years ago

Andy McCartney

Andy McCartney, CEO at iMCCmarketing / TechMarketer.bizSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks fellas for your comments to date. This is my first post on econsultancy and some quality points have been made.

Yes indeed the discipline of DDG (or whatever other TLA is used!) is a process, and many companies have historically struggled with this. Technically this is quite easy, but culturally is where the challenge lies. Sales and marketing needs to work together to agree on process, metrics and milestones, and politics in larger companies can really become an obstruction.

I personally think that this is one of the most important disciplines for companies to tackle. It puts marketing on a direct path to generating revenue by taking leads deeper into the funnel, and as everything is digital it enables all activities to be measured for ROI and effectiveness. Marketing campaigns can be tied to revenue, and sales leads can be audited to ensure they are followed through.

Simon, I will certainly create a part II with the 'how', and look forward to further conversation on this topic.

over 7 years ago


Lead generation

Fantastic Blog

over 7 years ago


Simon West

Hi Andy,

Looking forward to part II :)


over 7 years ago

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