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Many people use the terms demand generation and lead generation interchangeably, but they are not at all the same. In fact, to make your marketing campaigns more effective, you must understand demand gen vs. lead gen so you can ensure you’re incorporating both types of leads into your strategies. Here are the differences between demand generation and lead generation and when to use both.

Demand Generation

This type of marketing is designed to create interest, or demand, for your product or service at every step along the customer journey. It is primarily focused on revenue creation and relies on data to align your sales and marketing teams, track how much revenue comes from marketing, and, most importantly, drive business growth. 

Demand generation marketing campaigns should encompass four main functions: brand awareness, inbound marketing, sales enablement, and customer retention. This allows your marketing campaigns to target every touchpoint with a customer and move them through your sales pipeline. Demand generation is about generating excitement for your product and making people want to buy it through you. The goal for this marketing strategy is to get your product in front of as many people as possible.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is about collecting information from and about potential buyers so you can turn your leads into customers. Essentially, lead generation should be the result of a good demand generation campaign. Now that you’ve attracted potential buyers, you want to get their information so you can nurture those leads and convert them into sales. 

With lead generation, you’re looking for a specific type of customer out of all the demands you created with your lead generation strategies. You know that your product or service is designed for your target audience and you know that the more leads you get from people or businesses that meet your target audience, the more sales you’ll eventually make. 

Comparing Demand and Lead Generation

Demand generation is a top-of-the-funnel activity and is designed to grow your audience so you can identify the more specific leads you want to nurture into sales. Activities that fall under demand generation include attracting people to your website, demonstrating your solutions, and building brand awareness. Not everybody who comes to your website will need or want your product, but it gives you an opportunity to educate your audience and build trust with them so you can move them further down the funnel.

Lead generation is a bottom-of-the-funnel activity that is designed to capture the specific leads that you will be able to nurture and turn into sales. These leads may have come to your product through your demand generation campaigns, but now you’ll use lead generation tactics to get your target audience’s information, nurture these leads until they’re ready to buy your product, and demonstrate how your solution is different from other solutions and provides these leads with value.

Demand Generation Examples

Your main goal in using demand generation marketing is to familiarize people who might need your solution with your company and products. The first type of demand generation marketing is brand awareness. You want to make people aware that your company offers a solution they might need for a specific problem and create a positive association between your company and your buyer’s experience. 

Thought leadership is another way to attract customers to your brand. You want to show potential buyers that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re a leader in your field. Thought leadership in the form of a blog, whitepapers, articles, and other media will build trust between you and potential customers. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll want to buy from the expert and if you’ve positioned yourself as a thought leader, your brand will be at the top of their list.

Lead Generation Examples

Now your goal is to capture the information from more targeted leads so that you can nurture them and convert them into sales. There are many ways you can do this, but the most effective strategies provide these customers with something of value in exchange for their information. Examples include gated content that only subscribers can access, whitepapers or case studies that require an email address to download, webinars or videos that are easily digested by your target audience and can capture a busy person’s information quickly, and free trials that allow prospects to try out your product for free for a limited time.

Most people who fall into your target audience will gladly provide you with their information as long as they’re getting something of value in return. If they aren’t willing to give you their personal information, then they really aren’t a lead after all. But, they could turn into a lead if they know the content is available and decide to return to it later. 

Conclusion

Both lead and demand generation are integral parts of a comprehensive marketing strategy. But, knowing how they’re different and how they work together is important if you want to have an effective way to attract and capture potential customers.