Demand Gen vs. Lead Generation: Knowing the Difference

In the world of B2B marketing, you’ve likely heard demand generation and lead generation used interchangeably (cue internal cringe).

Sadly, this marketing duo is mixed up by industry newbies and long-standing experts all too often. The truth is, demand generation and lead generation are related, but not synonymous. This is no tomato, to-mah-to situation. When it comes to designing effective marketing campaigns, it’s important to know the difference. So without further adieu, let’s break it down.

What is demand generation?

Demand generation (or demand gen for short) is all about creating a want for your product or service. You’re effectively creating the demand for whatever it is you bring to the table and even your industry as a whole. How? With free and oh-so valuable content. With demand generation, you’re looking to get your content into the hands of as many people as possible.

While demand gen might bring a few new visitors to your site, the end goal is to build trust with your audience. By sharing relevant, valuable, and ungated content with your community, you’re working to light a spark with your audience, establish your brand as an industry thought leader, and position your business as a household name.

What are some examples of demand generation content?

Demand generation content includes any ungated blog posts, tools, infographics, resource pages, videos, case studies, ebooks, and whitepapers all accessible to your reader — no strings attached. Your visitor shouldn’t have to fork up their email, company, or even their name to read your demand gen content. Instead, you want to share your valuable content far and wide to build trust and authority.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation (or lead gen) revolves around turning demand into leads. More specifically, capturing information on your visitors for your sales team to follow up with and in time, convert into customers. Lead gen is all about evaluating potential prospects and moving them one stage of the funnel to the next — from the top of the funnel to the middle and beyond. Lead gen involves offering exclusive marketing content in exchange for contact info. To do so, you’ll want to gate your content behind a short and non-intrusive form.

By gating your content, you can see who is most motivated and interested in what you bring to the table. But, before you dive in head first, it’s important to sit down with your team and identify what you consider a lead. Is it someone who completes the form? Someone who meets your target market? Someone who requests a sales demo? Set a standard with your sales and marketing teams so you can all stay on the same page.

What are some examples of lead generation content?

Lead generation content can take the shape of any material including ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, product demos, Free-Trials, and events. The important key is to gate your content behind a submission form, allowing you to capture your reader’s trusty contact information. To reduce form friction, it’s important to keep the questions short and sweet. Name, phone, and email are plenty to get your sales team started without scaring off your reader.

Demand generation vs lead generation: it comes down to goals.

The key difference between demand generation and lead generation is your end game. Are you looking to improve brand awareness (demand gen) or increase monthly pipeline (lead gen)? Each strategy works to support a different goal, while simultaneously helping each other. In other words, you can’t generate leads without first creating demand. But, your demand loses value if you can’t transform that demand into customers.

Bottom line, demand generation and lead generation work together to help you connect with your audience. So go forth, embrace the difference, and kickstart your next campaign with confidence.

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