Should You Be Trying To Create Demand or Desire?

image from www.flickr.com What’s more important for your business right now — creating demand or the desire to demand?

If you listen to the social media ROI folks, you’ll hear them beat that demand drum all day and often well into the night. And while I agree with them — ROI is important and you do have to measure it and ideally drive it, I wonder if this fanatical focus on ROI and more importantly trackable ROI, isn’t a little bit of cart in front of the horse thinking. I’m not sure you can have demand before desire.

I’m thinking that before you can have demand — defined as people buying your product/service, you have to have desire — defined as people wanting to buy your product/service. And creating desire requires investment. Most folks call this investment branding. With branding we’re not necessarily looking to create a sale we’re looking to instill a desire to buy today, tomorrow and the next day. More importantly, we’re looking to instill the desire to tell others to buy too. 

I’m also thinking that a desire-demand model looks like a typical sales funnel, so you need to create a lot more desire for your product/service than the amount of actual demand you need to generate to stay alive. Why? Because I’m thinking that not everyone who desires you will be able to buy you. At least not today. Think MAC lovers who are forced to be PC’s for a variety of reasons. I’m guessing a lot of these folks were early iPod buyers because for the first time they could act on their desire to be an Apple. Or think about cities or destinations. They need to drive a lot more desire because life creates a lot of hurdles that get in the way of people converting their travel desires to travel demand.

Given the current economy I think it’s easy to think you need to focus on creating demand. But I’m thinking that for some companies, brands, products and services the answer isn’t demand, it’s actually desire. 

What do you think? Demand or Desire? Which would you focus on right now? Why? 

photo by ben matthews :::

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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