4 min read

Why Demand Generation Fails in Indirect Distribution Channels

Posted By
Kevin Dean

Demand generation: it’s how you drum up interest in your products. Separate from lead generation, this strategy is intended to build awareness and demonstrate the need for your product to create a buzz around it.

Manufacturers and other vendors who sell indirectly through a network of partners use demand generation strategies to build interest in their partner program as well as their products with end users. But far too often, demand generation strategies fail. We’re going to cover four ways we typically see demand generation fail and how you can prevent it from happening.

Problem: Lack of Objectives & Clear KPIs

Any project without a goal is doomed to fail. Demand generation implemented without clear, measurable objectives and key performance indicators to track the progress of those objectives isn’t likely to produce results.


Before implementing a hodge-podge of demand gen tactics, identify what exactly you want to accomplish with you demand generation strategy. Do you want to break into a new market, like a new demographic or geographic area? Develop a plan to target that audience based on what you know about them through research, and identify KPIs for your strategy.

Running campaigns through indirect channel partners gets complicated when you don’t have full control. Demand generation through the channel needs communication on the objectives and KPIs to channel partners, too.

Problem: Lack of Segmentation & Personalization

Do you want to watch a movie about Average Joe who’s just like everyone else? Of course not. You want to watch movies about interesting, dynamic characters who are unique. The same applies to demand generation. You’re likely not selling to just one kind of person, and attempting to appeal to the masses with a generic message gets lost in the white noise of every other marketing email.


Segmentation and personalization has gotten easier, and even automatic in some cases, with different applications and platforms. Segmenting your target audience by buyer persona allows you to craft demand generation content that speaks directly to their challenges, and using personalization tokens or smart content on your website gives your audience a custom experience.

Running demand generation with your indirect channel partners? Get them the material they need with through-channel marketing automation.

Problem: Tracking Data that isn’t Meaningful

Not tracking KPIs at all is one thing, but tracking the wrong KPIs is just time wasted. Demand generation isn’t necessarily about making sales, but driving interest in your product. Ultimately, the interest should be nurtured to drive more sales, but measuring success of demand generation might not immediately translate to dollars.


When you choose the metrics to track, make sure you can tie those metrics to indicate the success of the campaign. You might track things like social followers, content downloads, and website traffic to demonstrate rising interest for your brand and its products.

Problem: Strategy Based on Outdated or Incorrect Data

If you built your strategy off buyer personas or customer data that’s from 2009, you might not see the results you’re looking for. Buying habits are constantly evolving—yes, even in the B2B space. Our world continues to become increasingly digital, which changes how people spend their time, how they communicate, and how they search for products and services. Demand generation based on outdated data or outdated tactics won’t connect with the right audience.


When it comes to demand generation in B2B, you might see tried and true practices not drawing the same results. As more and more Millennial and Generation Z individuals step into decision making roles, accounting for digital channels in your demand generation strategy will increase your success.

In the indirect channel, some of your partners might be resistant or otherwise not understand good practices for social media and online engagement. On the other hand, others might be extremely savvy with the latest social networks. Consider collaborating on demand generation with these partners, and use their success to help build the case to less skilled partners.

Demand generation is a valuable strategy to build brand awareness, break into new markets, and create buzz around your products and services. Avoiding these mistakes can make sure your demand generation is successful, giving you and your indirect channel partners the opportunities to nurture demand into closed deals.