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Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation

Both lead generation and demand generation may seem similar, but the two strategies have two distinct purposes that help your business. Understanding both generation strategies may be complex, but will boost marketing efforts in your business significantly. Let's talk about how lead generation and demand generation compare, and how they interact with each other in the world of marketing. 



What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation encompasses everything you will do to get fresh eyes onto your business, products, and services. Content marketing is usually a huge part of lead generation—everything short like advertising copy and even longer-form content like ebooks and whitepapers.

Lead generation initiatives usually lead into unique landing pages—unique webpages that have only a few key sources of traffic. By limiting the number of traffic to a page to only people who are being targeted for marketing campaigns, you can get a much clearer picture of who is interested, what they need, and how badly they need it.


Types of Lead Generation Strategies

Lead generation strategies are always evolving, but they’re based on a few core concepts. By mastering these, you can create boundless creative lead-gen campaigns.

  • Attract Interest From People Who Have Probably Never Heard Of You
  • Solve One Or More Of Their Issues
  • Capture Their Contact Information In Exchange For Your Solution

Common ways you will collect information from new leads are called lead magnets. These attract new customer prospects who have specific needs. If you’re a small business owner, you may be interested in hiring a bookkeeper, export manager, or other vendor to make your operations more important.

A bookkeeper might publish blog articles about bookkeeping best practices, offer a free checklist for your process of hiring a bookkeeper, and then you might buy a $3.99 ebook to make sure you’re clear on what you really need from a bookkeeper before you spend several hundred hard-earned dollars.

Some common lead magnets include:

  • Free trials 
  • Product Demos
  • Referrals
  • Quizzes on website
  • Courses
  • Contests 
  • Giveaway free guides 

What is Demand Generation?

So, you have a kick-ass product, but no one really knows about it yet. Sure, they’re familiar with your brand, but not for this new product.

Demand generation is the process of taking customers—new and preexisting—through learning about your new product or service. Would you pay a company to make free money for you? We would. You should probably emphasize the benefits of each offering so customers can get what they need as they need it. 

Demand-gen also builds buzz around your new products or services. The key difference between lead-gen and demand-gen is: Demand-gen campaigns cannot capture contact information. The sole purpose is to build hype and attention. Users lose some of that steam when they take actions like signing up for your lead magnet.

Contact Us forms are often used in lieu of lead magnets when sufficient demand has been created. Since the two aren’t able to be used at the same time, it can be a little difficult to know when one should be used over the other.

You’ll want to use demand-gen for things like

  • New product launches
  • Awareness campaigns
  • Charity events
  • Fundraisers 
  • Upcoming initiatives

One example of demand-gen would be a fashion show. You’ll need to know who you’re targeting before investing in one as a fashion business, but there’s no hard-sell or CTA. Consumers are coming to see and experience something. They’re getting excited about something. Furthermore, fashion shows are often widely displayed and they remove a barrier for people who are interested in acquiring new fashions.



Types of Demand Generation Strategies

Content marketing also works for demand generation, but it’s not exactly the same type of content marketing you would use for lead generation. Demand generation content marketing utilizes all of the same avenues—PRs, YouTube videos, podcasts, presentations, and more. All of these have one expectation: Creating demand.

These content pieces focus more on solving problems or smashing the barriers that keep people from buying a product or service. In lead generation, they would be more targeted to introduce the brand, rather than the product or idea. 

Webinars might display a breakdown of features for new SaaS products, while a blog might display a list of use cases. Two common questions, “How do I use it?” and “Why would I use it?” can be answered with just these two examples. 

If you’re in doubt about what you could create for demand generation, review your commonly asked customer questions. If there’s a really common question, that would be a great place to start.

Further, guest posting and contributing to industry blogs 


Combining Lead Generation and Demand Generation

Lead generation and demand generation commonly get lumped together, but they aren’t the same at all. 

They actually work together in a sequence, because they can’t coexist at the same time. You can do either one first, just never at the same time. Should you try to do both at once, you’ll just end up running a lead generation campaign. Once you’ve asked for something in return, you’re not doing demand-gen anymore. 

Lead-gen swoops in and capitalizes on customers’ excitement to collect contact details and leads who may want other information later. 

Even though lead generation and demand generation are far from the same thing, they’re of equal importance to successful business operation.

If you’d like some help scaling your B2B sales, feel free to reach out to us!