Before we get into lead generation vs demand generation, let us first know what they are. Although these terms have been used interchangeably in the B2B scenario, they are not the same thing.
Here we’ll highlight some significant differences between lead generation and demand generation, something which every B2B executive or sales leader should know about.
Understanding how lead generation fits into a holistic demand generation strategy can help your company adopt smarter methods of measuring demand generation and enhancing your data-driven marketing programs.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation consists of the practice of collecting information about specific individuals that can be used to qualify and nurture prospects in sales-ready leads, pipeline opportunities, and eventually customers.
The goal of a B2B lead generation program is simpler than that of a demand generation program: converting targeted audiences into a large volume of quality leads.
Lead generation is a part of demand generation. But for lead generation you need different content for two reasons:
- You need higher value content for lead generation
- Lead generation requires content specific to the first phases of the funnel
What is Demand Generation?
Demand generation is basically creating a need for your products or services. This feeling does not always translate into an enclosed business since several problems can prevent it from converting: cost, insufficient resources, inadequate training, and poor infrastructure among others.
Still, such demand is an essential part of the ultimate goal of B2B marketing strategy of generating new or cross-sell or upsell offerings.
Demand generation is, in fact, the key to providing the right nutrition through all phases of the full funnel sales funnel necessary to secure loyal and profitable relationships with customers.
Lead Generation vs Demand Generation: what’s the difference?
The difference between lead generation and demand generation is that lead generation is just one aspect of a holistic demand generation program – it’s just a set of tactics in B2B demand marketing strategy.
Whereas demand generation is the broader activity of creating the increasing need for a product or service, content marketing is typically used in a much wider range of forms of demand generation than for lead generation. The use of content marketing for demand generation encompasses more tactics than the attractive content locked behind a landing page. Some of the ways that marketers need to create and distribute content beyond the simple purposes of lead generation include:
- Publication of press releases
- Contact media to send experienced information and quotes
- Publishing columns, high-quality blog content to create influence over time
- Building trust with an audience by distributing free content through blogs and third-party social media
- Use organic search optimization tactics to increase rank and authority on search engines
- Optimizing lead nutrition routes based on performance metrics
Content marketing for demand generation can support the brand’s goals of gaining participation in the conversation, raising awareness, and building a reputation as trusted subject matter experts. In contrast, content marketing for lead generation typically focuses on delivering premium content for obtaining an individual’s contact information using proprietary or third-party forms or event registrations.
What works best for your business: Lead or Demand generation?
The answer to this question will always be; both. Lead generation tactics are essential within a demand generation strategy.
Without forms on your landing pages, your organization will have difficulty capturing the contact information needed to initiate conversations that translate into pipeline and revenue.
However, it is important to also focus on developing the awareness and authority needed to get qualified leads for your site, as well as the sales and incentive efforts to bring more value to the business.
For most B2B organizations, a demand generation strategy that includes effective lead generation tactics will likely yield the best results.