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9 min read

Why latent and explicit demand directly impact your marketing ROI

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Any marketing campaign designed with the objective to succeed is mainly built around who their target audience is, what their needs, pains, interests are, what type of content they enjoy consuming and where they like to spend their time online.

Latent and explicit demand are intrinsically linked to consumer behaviour, therefore having a clear understanding of these concepts will help you create the right type content and position it in the right place.

Table of Contents

Explicit Demand
Latent Demand
How can I use this information for my business?
Explicit Content
Latent Content

Explicit demand

Explicit or effective demand occurs when consumers have an urgent need and must satisfy it quickly. 

For example, if you just came back from a long day in the office, your fridge is empty and you are starving you will turn to just-eat to order some takeaway.

Only 5% of consumers are part of this category and most marketers focus their efforts in this small pool of people. Why?

Mainly, because the way in which most of the marketing research in consumer behaviour is based on quantitative models and explicit interpretations of the results which in turn exclude the unconscious and the implicit which are almost entirely the drivers of their decision-making.

Clay Christensen moves away from this outdated way of reasoning by applying what he called “the jobs to be done theory”. Watch him explain this theory and how it was applied in a real life case.


Latent demand

Latent demand is defined as the condition where consumers can’t satisfy their needs because they are not aware of the existence of a solution or they have no money.

For the purpose of this article we will focus on the lack of awareness.

According to Gerald Zaltman 95% of the consumer decisions take place in their subconscious - which means they are not aware of it. This means that most thoughts and feelings are processed in the unconscious mind.

Let’s put this concept into action. Think about the very well-known selling tactic of pricing products at 0.99£ rather than 1£ and the fact that although there might be identical products priced at 1£ in the market saving that one penny makes the whole difference in the world.

Like mentioned earlier, most marketers focus all their efforts on conscious consumer behaviour - simple and rational - which prevents them from exploring the remaining 95% which is the one that pushes most of the consumer behaviour.

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what they think they should want”
                                                                                          - Eric Ries

Knowing this, how can you use this information to your advantage? Keep reading the article and you will soon know!

How can I use this information for my business?

There is one thing that you need to keep in mind: Consumers are not experts and don’t have the answers to their problems, but you do.

So build your campaign around this concept. This does not mean that you should be focusing solely on latent demand, but in both of them. How?

In the next paragraphs I will provide examples of explicit and latent content which will inspire you for your own campaign.

Explicit Content

Like mentioned earlier, explicit demand occurs when an urgent need must be met right away. What are the online platforms where someone with such a pressing need would go to?

Search Engine

Any person with a high priority need will most likely turn to a search engine, mainly google. 

Google is the most visited search engine in the world with 3.5 billion Google searches conducted every day. See below a few examples of google ads that target the explicit demand to set up a company.

Screenshot 2022-02-02 at 10.02.21

This ad has been designed to target people who have already decided they want to register a company. The ad copy focuses on discounts and limited time offers - to entice people to buy their services.

Latent Content

On the other hand, latent demand can be nurtured with various forms of content - video, blog, email, social media, podcast, webinar and more. Why?

People with latent demand don’t know how to satisfy their need but are interested in finding a solution, which means they will need to research their solution before making a purchase. 

Also, people don’t like to learn in the same way. Some prefer reading, some prefer watching a video, some like listening to podcasts or being part of the conversation in webinars.

So, ensuring your product or service can be found in all of these types of content will create a bridge between your business and the 95% of the people out there.

Let’s explore the most successful content you can use for your business.


Blogs have been around for a long time and despite the fact that people have shorter and shorter attention spans, they will still turn to blogs to learn.

A HubSpot survey revealed that 33% of people read blogs to learn how to do something completely new. The second largest group said that they read blogs for entertainment, 12% read blogs to learn about news or trends in their job industry, whereas 9% read blogs for all the above reasons.

Blog - Why do people read blogs Hubspot survey


Video content is extremely powerful and can be distributed in various channels, starting from your own website. The second place where your videos should be published is on YouTube. 

With 2 billion active users monthly, YouTube is the second most visited website after Google, which means that having your content there will definitely give you high chances of attracting prospects to your business and if you are a small business it will allow you to grow your audience worldwide.  

Did you know that only 9% of SME have their own youtube channel?

Below you will find the results of an informal survey conducted by HubSpot. Would you agree with these responses?

Blog- Hubspot social media survey

Social Media

It is very well-known how important it is for a business to have a social media presence.  Depending on your industry you should ensure to curate some social media accounts more than others to increase brand awareness, brand reputation and customer acquisition.

According to MarketingProfs 84% of B2B executives use social media as a source for making purchase decisions.

We decided to run an informal twitter poll about this on our Twitter account and these were the responses. Like many other surveys already confirmed, Linkedin is now at the top of the list for B2B lead generation, followed by Facebook with 44% (I was expecting it to be a close tie with LinkedIn), Twitter 23% and just a 6% for Instagram.

DME Poll Results for blog

No matter what trends say you should at the very least try to establish yourself in every social platform. 

If you are a B2B like us then you should focus on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, however, if you want to do something more than what most companies do, then you should publish content on TikTok and Instagram.

Webinars and Podcasts

Webinars together with podcasts have become a must since the start of the pandemic and any business can benefit from hosting them.

Webinars and Podcasts allow you to position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your industry. You can reach hundreds of potential customers which can speed your sales cycle and ROI and many others.

If you could only choose one, which would you pick?

Blog - Webinar

Podcasts are great, but they are a one-way kind of medium, whereas webinars are all about user interactivity.

If you host a webinar you can offer a series of engaging options for your audience, mainly a chat where they can ask questions, or you can run polls and get instant feedback from them to mention a few.


  • Explicit demand happens when a customer has a pressing need and tries to satisfy it as quickly as possible.
  • Latent demand is the situation in which customers have a need but they are not aware of the solutions available to them.
  • Most marketers chase only 5% of the consumer pool, which are the people who show explicit demand
  • 95% of customers don’t know how to satisfy their needs and it is up to companies to lead them towards their products and services
  • Marketers need to focus on latent content as much as explicit content
  • Explicit content is made up of paid media: Google Search Ads
  • Latent content consists of blogs, social media, video, podcasts and webinars among others


The biggest takeaway from this article is that customers need to be attracted, engaged, nurtured, and educated. Customers are not experts and most importantly they are mostly driven by emotions rather than logic.

Here at DME we are all about building the right strategy for your business. If you need support do not hesitate to book a free meeting with us, or if that is too soon simply read this article, I am sure it will help you.

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