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Creating Demand vs Capturing Demand: Igniting Growth by Damming the Well


In the ever-evolving world of marketing, understanding the difference between creating demand and capturing demand is crucial for driving business growth.

In this blog, we will delve into the concept of "damming the well" for growth, explore the nuances of creating and capturing demand, and share valuable insights, statistics, and examples.

Suggested Imagery: A split image showing two contrasting scenes - one representing the abundance of water behind a dam and the other a well with a bucket, symbolizing the difference between creating and capturing demand.

Section 1: Creating Demand

Creating demand is all about generating interest and desire for a product or service that customers didn't know they needed. It involves identifying gaps in the market, developing innovative solutions, and educating potential customers about the value and benefits of your offering. Some key aspects of creating demand include:

  • Product innovation: Developing cutting-edge products or services that address unmet needs or provide unique value propositions.

  • Branding and storytelling: Crafting compelling narratives that resonate with your target audience and highlight your product's benefits.

  • Content marketing: Educating customers through engaging and informative content that positions your brand as an industry thought leader.

  • Dark Social: Constantly talking about your POV throughout your company pages and your executives personal brands

Example: Apple's iPhone revolutionized the mobile phone industry by creating demand for smartphones, a product category that barely existed before its introduction. Through product innovation, powerful branding, and captivating storytelling, Apple convinced consumers they needed a device that was more than just a phone.

Less Common Approach: Leveraging customer data and advanced analytics to identify potential demand for new products or services, even before consumers are aware of their needs.

Section 2: Capturing Demand

Capturing demand is about identifying and attracting customers who are already seeking a solution to a specific problem or need. This strategy involves:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results for relevant keywords.

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising: Bidding on keywords related to your product or service to capture the attention of customers actively searching for a solution.

  • Social media marketing: Leveraging social media platforms to engage with potential customers and showcase your products or services.

Example: Airbnb successfully captured demand for alternative lodging options by offering a user-friendly platform that allowed travelers to find and book unique accommodations worldwide.

Less Common Approach: Collaborating with complementary businesses to create co-marketing initiatives that capture demand from a shared customer base.

Section 3: Damming the Well for Growth

"Damming the well" for growth involves strategically combining demand creation and demand capture strategies to maximize business growth. By generating new demand while also capturing existing demand, companies can expand their market share and unlock new revenue streams.

  1. Identify unmet needs and opportunities: Conduct thorough market research to discover gaps in the market, unmet customer needs, or underserved segments. This will help you uncover opportunities for innovation and demand creation.

  2. Develop innovative products or services: Create unique offerings that address the identified market gaps or unmet customer needs. Focus on providing superior value, solving specific problems, and differentiating your product or service from the competition.

  3. Establish thought leadership: Position your company as an expert in your niche by sharing valuable insights, industry trends, and best practices. Leverage content marketing, social media, webinars, and speaking engagements to build credibility and drive brand awareness.

  4. Optimize marketing and sales strategies: Develop targeted marketing campaigns that effectively reach your ideal customer base. Utilize a mix of marketing channels, such as SEO, social media, email marketing, and paid advertising, to attract and engage potential customers. Additionally, align your sales team with your marketing efforts to ensure a seamless customer journey.

  5. Personalize customer experiences: Tailor your messaging, content, and interactions to address the unique needs and preferences of your target audience. Use customer data, such as purchase history and demographic information, to create personalized experiences that resonate with potential buyers and encourage brand loyalty.

  6. Track and measure performance: Implement data-driven key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor the effectiveness of your demand creation and capture efforts. Regularly analyze data to identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategies accordingly.

  7. Continuously refine and innovate: Embrace a culture of continuous improvement and experimentation. Test new marketing tactics, iterate on product features, and explore new market opportunities to stay ahead of the competition and maintain your edge in the market.

businesses need to focus on pushing prospects down the conversion funnel, nurturing them at each stage, and ultimately turning them into loyal customers. Here are some actions businesses can take to guide prospects through the conversion funnel effectively:

Attract and generate awareness:

  • Create high-quality, engaging content (blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, etc.) that addresses your target audience's pain points and interests.

  • Implement SEO strategies to improve organic search visibility and drive targeted traffic to your website.

  • Leverage social media marketing and paid advertising to reach a larger audience and generate interest in your brand.

  • Example: A software-as-a-service (SaaS) company creates a series of blog posts and whitepapers about the challenges and best practices in project management, targeting project managers and business owners in need of a project management tool.

Engage and build interest:

  • Offer valuable resources, such as ebooks, case studies, or webinars, in exchange for contact information to build your email list.

  • Use personalized email marketing campaigns to nurture prospects and maintain their interest in your brand.

  • Engage with your audience on social media platforms by responding to comments, answering questions, and sharing valuable insights.

  • Example: An IT consulting firm hosts a free webinar on the latest cybersecurity threats and solutions, inviting prospects to join and learn valuable insights while collecting their contact information for further nurturing.

Convert prospects into leads:

  • Create targeted landing pages that showcase the unique value of your product or service and encourage visitors to take action (e.g., sign up for a free trial, request a demo, or make a purchase).

  • Implement clear calls-to-action (CTAs) on your website, blog posts, and email campaigns to guide prospects toward conversion.

  • Use remarketing campaigns to re-engage prospects who have shown interest in your brand but haven't yet converted.

  • Example: A marketing agency creates a landing page showcasing their case studies and results achieved for past clients, prompting interested businesses to request a free consultation for their marketing needs.

Nurture leads and close sales:

  • Develop a lead scoring system to identify high-potential leads and prioritize your sales team's efforts.

  • Align your marketing and sales teams to ensure seamless communication and collaboration throughout the lead nurturing process.

  • Utilize marketing automation tools to send targeted and timely follow-up emails, helping move leads through the funnel and closer to conversion.

  • Example: A sales training provider implements a lead scoring system to identify high-potential leads, prioritizing the sales team's outreach efforts to engage and close deals with companies most likely to benefit from their services.

Retain customers and encourage loyalty:

  • Provide exceptional customer support to address concerns, answer questions, and resolve issues promptly.

  • Continuously improve and update your product or service based on customer feedback and market trends.

  • Implement loyalty programs, referral incentives, or exclusive offers to encourage repeat business and brand advocacy.

  • Example: A customer support software company actively seeks feedback from its clients and iterates on its product features, providing ongoing value and earning client loyalty in the process.

Analyze and optimize:

  • Track and measure the performance of your marketing efforts and sales funnel using analytics tools.

  • Identify bottlenecks or areas for improvement in your conversion funnel and implement necessary changes.

  • A/B test different marketing tactics, messaging, and creatives to determine what resonates best with your target audience and drives the highest conversion rates.

  • Example: An event management platform continuously tracks the performance of its email marketing campaigns, using the insights gathered to optimize subject lines, content, and send times to drive higher open and click-through rates.

Example: Tesla's approach to marketing electric vehicles (EVs) has been a combination of creating demand and capturing demand. By developing innovative, eco-friendly vehicles with impressive performance and sleek designs, Tesla has created demand for EVs among consumers who may not have considered them previously. Additionally, Tesla has captured existing demand by offering competitive pricing and a superior customer experience compared to traditional automakers. it dammed the well by creating a scarcity tactic with supply and demand.

Section 4: Category Creation and its Relationship with Demand Creation

One of my favorite books is called: "Play Bigger" by Christopher Lockhead. I think it beautiful explains the concepts of Demand Creation vs Demand Capture but in the context of Category creation.

as explained in the book "Play Bigger," Category Creation is the process of developing and dominating a new market category. This approach positions your company as the undisputed leader in a specific niche, setting the standard for others to follow. Category creation is closely related to demand creation, as it involves identifying unmet needs, developing innovative solutions, and educating potential customers about the value of your offering.

Key aspects of category creation include:

  • Defining the category: Clearly articulate the problem your product or service solves and create a distinct category that your company can own.

  • Developing a unique value proposition: Ensure your offering stands out from competitors by providing a unique combination of features, benefits, and pricing.

  • Establishing thought leadership: Position your brand as the go-to source for information, insights, and expertise in your category. Share valuable content through blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, and more.

  • Building a loyal customer base: Focus on delighting early adopters and turning them into brand evangelists who will spread the word about your product and help build momentum.

Example: Salesforce pioneered the Software as a Service (SaaS) category by offering a cloud-based CRM solution, which disrupted the traditional software industry. The company created demand for SaaS products by showcasing the benefits of a subscription-based model, such as lower upfront costs, easier updates, and better scalability.

Relationship with Demand Creation:

Category creation is a powerful demand creation strategy, as it involves carving out a unique space in the market and educating potential customers about the benefits of your offering. By defining a new category and positioning your company as the leader in that space, you can generate interest and desire for your product or service, ultimately driving business growth.

Category Creation with Demand Capture:

Demand capture, on the other hand, focuses on seizing the opportunities created by the new category and converting them into tangible business results. This includes implementing effective marketing and sales strategies, optimizing your product's positioning, and continuously refining your approach to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and revenue generation.

The "Play Bigger" framework demonstrates that category creation and demand capture are interconnected and mutually reinforcing processes. By defining and dominating a new market category, you create demand for your innovative product or service. Simultaneously, effective demand capture strategies help to solidify your company's position as the category king and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

In summary, the relationship between category creation and demand capture within the "Play Bigger" framework emphasizes the importance of both elements in driving business growth and achieving market leadership. By successfully combining these strategies, organizations can unlock untapped market potential, differentiate themselves from competitors, and secure long-term success in their chosen niche.


Understanding the difference between creating demand and capturing demand is crucial for driving business growth. By strategically combining both approaches and "damming the well," organizations can unlock untapped market potential and achieve

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