Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation: Conceptual and Practical Differences

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Last edited: December 5th, 2022

Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation: Conceptual and Practical Differences

Making content that results in ROI is not an easy task. The world of content marketing and sales operation is vast, and it includes many different terms. Understanding the proper terminology makes the difference between an amateur and a professional – so if you want to be an industry expert, you’ll have to know the terms.

The terms lead generation and demand generation are used interchangeably, and that’s a very worrying thing as they represent two completely different things. Every B2B executive or sales leading professional will know the importance and difference between those two.

Depending on your marketing goal or objective, you’ll want to employ a different tactic. While there are apparent differences between the two, they aren’t mutually exclusive.

No one is born a professional, and getting acquainted with industry is best done by understanding its terms and practices. That’s precisely why we’ve decided to define the two terms, establish the differences, and give you insight into which one is better for your unique needs.

Defining Demand Generation

Basic Definition

Demand Generation is a process in which a marketing executive or sales leader creates a need for specific products or services. It’s a closed deal that works to create a demand for a particular product – based on what the company has to offer.

It’s an intricate process that isn’t as simple as it sounds. It doesn’t always result in demand generation, as multiple issues and problems can arise during the process. That is why carefully approaching the process itself is vital.

Organization and micromanagement are pivotal aspects of demand generation. Properly preparing for a demand generation effort is going to ensure that things are running smoothly. To do so, you’ll need to conduct a lot of data accumulation, refinement, and further analysis.

Making informed business decisions is practically impossible without data analysis and visualization, and since demand generation is a complicated endeavor, you’ll have to prepare appropriately.

Any B2B marketing effort can benefit from the use of demand generation. Instead of generating leads, demand generation rests upon creating business endeavors, opportunities, and golden areas, further resulting in revenue, ROI, and business value.

To put demand generation in layman terms, it’s the process of making a demand for your company’s products by making intricate, interactive, and exciting content. One of the simplest examples of this is creating a problem and making your products or services resolve it within the same content.

What Does It Involve?

Demand generation is a content-specific tactic. However, some things are present in all types of content that include demand generation. It’s a specific and intricate marketing tactic that includes:

  • Content interlacing and marketing;
  • Event marketing and advertising;
  • Social media marketing and advertising;
  • Traditional marketing and advertising;
  • Lead scoring and automating;
  • Data accumulation, refinement, and analysis;

The demand generation process, while intricate, comes naturally to most marketing executives. It’s the age-old process of satisfying a demand – only you’re tasked with creating a demand based on your product or service. It’s having a solution and creating a problem to satiate it.

Five Demand Generation Strategies

1. Giveaways

An excellent way to generate demand for your products is to give them away. People adore freebies. Giving the consumers a chance to get a product and use it for free is a fantastic way to generate demand – especially if you add a sense of urgency and competition to the mix.

2. Establish Brand Identity

People like brands they can trust, so you have to build a proper brand identity if you’re looking to generate demand for your products. People are far more likely to purchase your products or solicit your services if a known brand offers them.

3. Present A Problem

An excellent way to sell your solution is to present a problem. If no problem exists, you have to devise it. You’d be surprised how far a simple lexicon combined with proper wording can take you.

4. Create Problem Solving Content

When you present a problem, you’ll have to solve it. Directly offering your products or services as a solution is far less likely to result in sales. You need to be subtle when you’re trying to present your solution – so backlinking, accompanying links, and subtle nudges towards your services and products are the way to go.

5. Create SEO Friendly Content

When you’re trying to generate demand, you’ll want to appeal to your customer. Customers trust the first page of Google significantly, so getting your content on it is essential. An excellent way to stand out on search engines is by SEO optimizing your content with keywords.

Defining Lead Generation

Basic Definition

Lead generation is far less than demand generation. Lead generation is a small portion of the overall demand generation process. It’s the process where you accumulate as much information and data on your target audience.

While it might sound relatively simple, understanding your target audience is essential. Collecting the right data is a fantastic way to cut down on the intricacy and complexity of the data refinement process.

The collection of information on your targeted audience is used to create potential prospects for sales leads, created opportunities, and finally, the consumer.

The lead generation process leans on getting your prospects interested in your sales funnels. It’s a fantastic way to create mailing lists, targeted content, or sales leads. Lead generation is a critical point in any marketing endeavor.

The process is not only expansive – it’s complicated. However, if done right, it results in quite a lot of profit. Your sales rep team needs to target potential customers that are interested in your products, so wasting time on people that aren’t is directly wasting resources.

Another thing that goes into the process of lead generation is tightening down on the list of potential customers. Finding the best of the best is a surefire way to give your sales team a fantastic opportunity to maximize their efficiency and increase sales.

Through lead generation, you’re actively augmenting the value, performance, and growth of your corporation. Lead generation and demand generation usually go hand in hand, as creating a demand for a product and scouting out potential customers is a fantastic way to drive sales overall.

What Does It Involve?

Lead generation usually comes with demand generation but has some specific practices attached to it. Depending on the industry, the marketing goal, and sales rep team, the lead generation process will include the following things:

  • Whitepapers, blogs, and eBook offers;
  • Inbound content offers;
  • Webinars, target courses, and mailing lists;
  • Paid and targeted social media targeting;
  • Advertising retargeting;
  • Live event marketing;

Five Lead Generation Strategies

1. Use Mailing Lists

A fantastic way to generate leads is to use mailing lists. Once you’ve accumulated as many emails as possible, getting your message out there at once with minimal human interaction is essential. Through webinars, quizzes, and checklists, you’ll accumulate email addresses – and through mailing programs, you can use them to their full extent in your lead generation effort.

2. Post Consistent Blogs

Consistency, punctuality, and quality are all essential aspects of any content, primarily written content. When you’re making written blog posts and content for your lead generation needs, you’ll have to maintain consistency as much as possible.

3. Have a Personal Approach

When you’re generating leads, you’ll have to know your target audience. If you have an intricate insight into who your potential customers are, you’ll have to devise a personal approach that appeals to them. Demographic orientated content is far more effective at generating leads than broader, more general content.

4. Promote Your Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a tool, product, or initiative that a marketing professional offers potential customers in exchange for their email address. Promoting your lead management will be your best friend if you’re trying to put together a mailing list.

5. Create A Inviting Newsletter

When you’re sending actual emails, you’ll need to make it as attractive as possible. No one likes overly long, boring, and uninviting emails. There are many newsletter templates readily available on the internet, so marketing executives can benefit from making some simple modifications.

So, What Are the Practical Differences?

Lead generation is just a portion of demand generation. While one can undergo the marketing process of demand creation, it doesn’t have to include a lead generation process.

Demand generation is a process where you attract new customers for your products and services. Lead generation is a process that qualifies people into sales leads, thus preparing them for the next step of your marketing, ultimately resulting in sales.

There are a lot of differences between the two. The demand generation process uses different types of free content to attract customers to their products. By creating a problem, demand generation provides solutions in the same content, usually a video, blog post, article, or guide.

On the other hand, lead generation usually uses a different approach. Lead generation utilizes whitepapers, checklists, and PDF’s and regularly distributes them through mailing lists. It is a more targeted and personal approach with the point of generating leads and turning your potential customers into actual customers.

Through lead generation, marketing executives nourish and evolve the relationship between the customer and the brand, building recognition, loyalty, and potential customers. Demand generation includes both this initial step and further strategies that drive returning customers to the business.

Both of these are practical tools that are used by top marketing executives around the world.

Is One Better Than the Other?

B2B marketing is a very complex process, and digital marketing professionals are always looking for ways to minimize their work and maximize the amount of profit their marketing strategies generate.

Lead generation and demand generation are the two most recurring popular methods used to attract customers, make them purchase your products or solicit your services, and keep them coming back for more.

Whether you should focus on lead generation or demand generation depends on your needs. More often than not, you’ll have to employ both tactics if you’re looking to get the most out of your marketing strategy and meet your marketing goals.

Data analysis, refinement, and visualization play a significant role in your sales, so accumulating a lot of data is useless if you don’t make it accessible.

While demand generation is a vast process all on its own, lead generation is a less costly, less complex, and less demanding process that still yields results. Capturing and collecting as much information and data on your prospective customers is essential to the sales process. It will allow you to cater to your content, services, or products directly to your customers.

Depending on your budget, industry, or marketing goals – different methods are the right solution. Lead generation, while fantastic at collecting individual data on your potential customer, does nothing to build brand recognition, nurture customer relations, and result in ROI – it’s merely the first step.

On the other hand, demand generation handles your customer from start to finish, and combining it with lead generation will result in the best possible results for your B2B marketing company.

Final Thoughts

While the two terms are relatively similar – the actual practices behind them are far from the same. The two are different methods used for similar things, and lead generation is merely one aspect of the greater demand generation.

Understanding the differences in terminology will allow you to streamline your marketing efforts, improve your marketing operations, and further streamline your way to your customers.

Trustmary team
Trustmary team


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