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Demand Generation vs Lead Generation: A B2B Guide


Demand generation vs lead generation.

Though the terms ‘demand generation’ and ‘lead generation’ are often used interchangeably, it’s important to understand that they have different meanings, objectives, and purposes.

So how are the two different, where does the one end and the other begin and how can you make both work for you?

Understanding Demand Generation

Demand generation is the strategy that helps you attract buyers to buy your products or services. It includes understanding the buyers’ needs, creating awareness, and promoting the products or services by generating interest.

Goals of demand generation

Demand generation strategy helps you educate, spread awareness among potential buyers, and get them into a comfort zone of buying.

Ultimately, it focuses on building relationships and trust– and connecting with your future clients. It seeks to educate potential customers by providing valuable information that helps them understand the market, the problems they face, and how your product or service can solve those problems.

Strategies to implement an effective demand generation approach

  • Social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are some of the popular social media platforms that can help you to interact and engage you’re your potential buyer. These platforms also help you to build your brand and remain connected with the end user. 
  • SEO: As part of organic marketing, SEO helps to bring organic traffic and increase your reach to your audiences. When it comes to SEO on Google, you need to make sure that no matter the tactics you choose, you use a Google update-proof strategy
  • Content marketing: It is one of the most popular strategies to target the pain point with solutions.  This can be successfully done through quality blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars.
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  • Webinars and events: Do not underestimate the power of offline reach. Along with online webinars and other events, offline events help you engage with buyers on a one-to-one basis by providing them with hands-on experience with your solutions to their problems
  • Public relations: Out of sight, out of mind. Gaining media coverage and building relationships with journalists helps enhance your brand’s visibility and credibility.

Understanding Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of finding people (or “leads”) who might be interested in your product or service and getting their contact information. Think of it as making a list of potential customers.

It also involves gathering customer data, usually through forms and landing pages. This kind of data can help you initiate further communication and nurture these leads into paying customers.

Goals of lead generation

Lead generation aims to build quality, correct, and relevant customer information. It involves gathering data like contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses of identified individuals. 

The main objective of getting data is to identify whether individuals are interested in your products or services through scoring and segmentation. This will help prioritize marketing and sales efforts leading to sales conversion.

Strategies and Tactics of Lead Generation

  • Landing pages and forms: Offer free trials, eBooks, whitepapers, or any other relevant and useful content in exchange for visitors’ information on your website.
  • Email marketing: Remain in touch with your customers by regularly interacting with them through the mail. These emails may include interesting content that can help them understand more about your products or services. Remember, creating and maintaining meaningful relationships with your customers is important! 
  • Content marketing: Content is king for lead generation as well. Thankfully, there are many lead-generation ideas for content marketing to choose from.
  • Paid advertising: Digital marketing through Google Ads and other social media ads, can help you drive targeted traffic to your landing pages. It is through these landing pages you will then capture leads and gather relevant customer data. 
  • Webinars and workshops: Offline marketing also helps you to generate relevant and quality leads. Host or participate in events to increase your visibility offline and accumulate customer information database through the registration, and participation process.

Key Differences Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation

Both demand generation and lead generation are the backbone of a successful sales and marketing strategy. That said, they have some key differences.


  • Demand generation: Aims towards creating awareness and interest through brand awareness and interaction with your target customer. 
  • Lead generation: Focuses on capturing data from interested prospects and qualifying leads for further nurturing and sales efforts.

Stages of the Buyer’s Journey

  • Demand generation: Targets the top of the funnel (TOFU), where potential customers are just becoming aware of your brand and offerings. 
  • Lead generation: Operates mostly in the middle (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) on individuals who have already shown some interest and are closer to making a purchasing decision.

Metrics for success

  • Demand generation: Success is typically measured by metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, content shares, and brand awareness. The goal is to create a large pool of interested individuals.
  • Lead generation: How many leads are captured what are the conversion rates and what is the quality of leads? Metrics like form submissions, email sign-ups, and lead scores are key indicators of success here. 

Approach and focus

  • Demand generation: Uses a broad approach to attract and engage a wide audience. It also involves interacting with this audience to generate long-term interest and relationships.
  • Lead generation: Takes a more targeted approach, and aims to capture specific data and information from prospects. This data is necessary for personalizing your marketing and making it more effective.

Integrating Demand Generation and Lead Generation

A successful marketing strategy needs a successful integration of demand generation and lead generation. By aligning these two, you help create a more seamless transition from building awareness to capturing leads and nurturing them into customers.

Combining demand generation and lead generation allows you to cover the entire buyer’s journey, from initial awareness to final conversion. What’s more, integrating the two can mean a higher ROI in your efforts, as most things you do in demand generation can feed directly your lead generation.

That said, it’s important to maintain consistent messaging across both strategies to reinforce your brand identity and value proposition

Examples of integration

So what does all of this mean in practice? Here are a few examples of how you can integrate demand and lead generation.

From content to landing page. First, you can use blog posts and social media to create awareness (demand generation) and send traffic to a landing page. Then, from these landing pages, you can offer downloadable resources like eBooks and whitepapers that require contact information (lead generation).

From webinars to events. Combine communicating solutions to potential problems of your customers through hosting webinars or participating in webinars. Accordingly, you spread awareness through these webinars (demand generation) and gather leads (lead generation) through the registration process such as their phone numbers or email addresses.

From infographic to case study. The first step is to create relevant infographics your audience finds useful and share them through your marketing channels. At the same time, you can offer case studies that delve deeper into the information and data presented in the infographics. Of course, giving their email is the mandatory step for downloading the case study.

Demand Generation and Lead Generation Across the Growth Funnel

As we already said, demand generation and lead generation apply to different stages of the growth funnel


Demand Generation

At the acquisition stage, demand generation focuses on building brand awareness and attracting a broad audience. The main objective is to let your potential buyers know you exist, first and foremost. This involves anything from content marketing and social media campaigns to webinars and PR efforts.

Lead Generation

Lead generation in this stage means focusing on converting visitors into leads. This usually involves using forms of any kind to capture contact information. Here, you will have to equip tactics like email sign-ups, and demo requests. What’s more, with all the data you are given, you’ll able to qualify and segment potential customers according to their first actions.


Demand Generation

During activation, demand generation ensures that new users have a positive initial experience with your product or service. This includes providing onboarding content, tutorials, and support resources that help users quickly realize the value of what you offer.

Lead Generation

Lead generation efforts here focus on nurturing leads and encouraging them to take meaningful actions, such as completing a signup process or making an initial purchase. Personalized email campaigns, follow-up calls, and targeted offers help move leads further down the funnel.


Demand Generation

In the retention stage, demand generation aims to keep existing customers engaged and satisfied. This involves creating ongoing value through content updates, newsletters, loyalty programs, and social media interactions to maintain a strong relationship with your customer base.

Lead Generation

While lead generation is less active at this stage, it can still play a role in upselling and cross-selling. Personalized recommendations and special offers can encourage repeat purchases and deeper engagement with your products or services.


Demand Generation

At the referral stage, demand generation focuses on motivating happy customers to share their positive experiences. This includes running referral programs, encouraging user-generated content, and creating shareable content that makes it easy for customers to promote your brand.

Lead Generation

Lead generation leverages these referrals by providing tools and incentives for customers to bring in new leads. Referral bonuses, affiliate programs, and easy-to-share referral links help convert satisfied customers into brand advocates who generate new leads.


Demand Generation

In the revenue stage, demand generation supports ongoing sales by reinforcing the value of your product or service. This involves case studies, testimonials, and advanced content that highlight the benefits and return on investment for your customers.

Lead Generation

Lead generation aims to maximize customer lifetime value through upsell and cross-sell campaigns, renewal reminders, and exclusive offers for loyal customers. The focus is on converting one-time buyers into repeat customers and increasing the overall revenue from each customer.

Customer Lifetime Value CLV growth metrics


If we could sum up the wisdom of ‘demand generation vs lead generation’ in two sentences then we’d have to say this: Demand generation creates awareness and lead generation captures this awareness and converts it into actionable opportunities for your marketing and sales.

In this process, where marketing stops and sales begins is different for every company, product, or service, but -by and large- remains the same.

If you need any help with demand generation, lead generation, or both, contact us to find out more about our growth marketing services.

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