Everyone knows that “a diamond is forever.”

But they weren’t always.

In the 1930s, only 10% of brides in the U.S. had a diamond engagement ring. Fast forward 50 years and that number shoots up to 80%.

So what happened?

Enter De Beers. They hired U.S. ad agency N.W. Ayer to shift public perception—ultimately running one of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time and changing the idea of what a diamond was.

The plan included tons of clever tactics—ranging from an influencer-style campaign that involved loaning diamonds to starlets and socialites for big-ticket events to ads that instructed readers on how to choose a quality diamond (inventing the idea of the “four Cs”)—the secret to their success was emotion.

De Beers and N.W. Ayer played the long game, rather than sell people on their brand, they sought to plant the seeds of a new way of thinking about diamonds.

Nowadays, we call tactics like these demand creation.

But De Beers had diamonds!!

You might be thinking, “Well sure, De Beers had DIAMONDS. I haven’t got that.” But just remember, when they started, that didn’t mean much of anything at all.

Demand creation is about generating demand for a product or service when no demand exists. It involves providing information to customers that pique their interest and educates them about what problem your product solves.

In an online world, creating demand, generating leads and nurturing them through the sales funnel is critical to business success.

We teamed up with the research pros from Ascend2 to survey marketers at mid-size companies to find out what their demand creation activities look like, what their priorities are and what’s working for them.

Whether you’re trying to sell your boss on making demand creation part of your process, or you’re putting together a new marketing strategy, these stats can help you make a plan that works.

Only 4% of marketers ignore demand creation

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of marketers have made demand creation a part of their strategy.

Another 31% are talking about it.

Only 4% of marketers aren’t acting on creating demand for their product. (They must not have heard about De Beers…)

Don’t let your company become one of the 4%, demand creation is on a lot of marketers’ maps—don’t fall behind on the trends that matter.

Plus, a whopping 95% of marketers at mid-size companies—including both B2B and B2C organizations—say that their demand creation strategies are successful.

How to crush this step

Today’s buyer moves as much as 60 to 90% of the way through the buying process before they engage with your sales team. Buyers conduct their own research and form their own opinions without talking to you.

Be present where buyers are when they’re doing their research and making their decisions. Create and share information to introduce potential customers to your business, establish your organization as an expert in the industry and educate them about your product.

Improving lead quality is a top priority for marketers

More than half (58%) of marketers surveyed say that improving the quality of leads acquired through demand generation is a top priority for them.

Improving strategy effectiveness (42% and improving lead data analytics (41%) are also top-of-mind.

How to crush this step

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your leads is to optimize your lead scoring. Make sure your lead scoring covers the different ways prospects can engage with your content and organization at different stages of the buying process.

Marketers who use video have a 19% lower cost per lead than those who don’t.

Definitely a good reason to consider adding video to your demand generation strategy. Thinking of trying it? Check out our Chalk Talk on how to use video engagement data to qualify leads.

Social media and email are among the most effective lead gen tactics

There are a number of ways to approach lead generation, with plenty of tactics that can be used and combined to create a successful demand creation strategy (just look at De Beers).

When it comes to achieving lead gen goals, 54% of marketers rank social media marketing as an effective tactic. Another 45% say email marketing works for them and 37% indicate that search engine optimization (SEO) helps them achieve their lead gen goals.

How to crush this step

Look for ways that you can make email and social media marketing work for you. With the vast majority of marketers using these tactics, you need to find new ways to stand out from the competition.

Enter video.

Using interactive video content in your email marketing continues to be hugely effective in generating higher click-through rates on average—even using the word “video” in the subject line can boost open rates. And with tech giant Cisco predicting that video will make up a whopping 82% of all web traffic by 2021, you can’t afford to let your business get left behind.

When it comes to demand gen, don’t be afraid to test various tactics to discover what works best for your business and your audience. You’ll also want to be sure to have adequate lead scoring and attribution set up so you can tell what’s working (and what isn’t).

Interested in making video part of your demand creation strategy? We’ve put together a blog that explains how to use video to prospect and validate leads.

What demand gen tactics have worked for you in the past? What are you most excited to start trying? What do you wish you knew before you started optimizing your demand gen strategy? Sound off in the comments below.

Kendall Walters