What Is The Nuanced Difference Between Demand Vs Lead Generation Strategy

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As a sales professional, we are sure that you must have heard these terms regularly and might have used these two terms interchangeably, nevertheless, even though they sound quite alike, there is a vital difference between demand gen and lead gen to be aware of.

Now the majority of marketers today rate their efforts to generate new leads as only “somewhat” or “slightly” effective.
Nevertheless filling up the sales pipeline with MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) is a major challenge for businesses of all size and so perceiving how lead generation can be incorporated into the wide spectrum of a complete and holistic strategy that caters to demand generation for brands may aid marketers to adopt a smarter method of measuring demand generation in the present times and boost their data-driven marketing strategies.

Hence to clear up things, let us take a look in this article at the key difference between demand and lead generation as it has been explained in details below:

What Is Demand Generation?

Explained simply, demand generation refers to a process of creating want for your brand’s offerings that may not be translated to closed or won deals as various attributes can avert it from becoming a purchase, which may be because of lack of organizational preparedness (dearth of sufficient training, resource, infrastructure), cost, no executive buy-in and more.

However, demand is still a pivotal part of any marketing program’s final goal of driving net-new or up-selling and cross-selling deals.

This is because demand generation is a process that supports the complete sales and marketing cycle, which starts from creating the initial interest of the prospects to lead nurturing for primarily selling and thereafter cross-selling products and services to the customers.
In other words, demand generation is a process that caters to a full education that is needed to ensure, loyal and profitable relationship with the customers.

 More specifically speaking for all the B2B marketers who are new to this demand generation concept, generation of demand for a brand is often represented as a shift from generating leads to generating new pipeline opportunities that assure long-term business and revenue growth.

What are the activities needed for demand generation programs?

While it is true that the marketing tactics used within a demand generation strategy might differ a lot, however, all demand generation actives include one or more of the following:

  • Website and inbound marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Content syndication
  • Content marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Lead nurturing using marketing automation
  • Lead scoring using an easy to use CRM
  • Program measurement and optimization
  • Use of sales enablement for aligning sales and marketing activities

What Is Lead Generation?

Technically speaking lead generation falls under a sub-category within the demand generation process, whereby lead generation can be considered as a practice that aids in collecting information on targeted individuals and which can be thereafter used to nurture and qualify prospects into sales-ready leads, create opportunities within the sales pipeline and eventually win customers.

In fact, the goals of lead generation programs are much simpler than that of demand generation programs, whereby lead generation is only focused on converting targeted audiences into a high volume of quality leads.

What are the activities needed for lead generation programs?

While it is true that tactics used for lead generation vary by organizations, nevertheless they typically included one or more of the following:

  • Offering inbound contents on the landing page’s forms and business websites
  • Offering third-party content marketing materials like eBooks, whitepapers, case studies, reviews and more
  • Creating webinars
  • Offering targeted and paid advertisements on social or in search
  • Creating advertisements for retargeting
  • Offering live events 

What Is The Difference Between Demand Vs Lead Generation?

The main difference between demand and lead generation is that while lead generation is just a cog in the wheel of a holistic demand generation program, lead generation can be defined as just one tactic within the completer demand marketing strategy.

Now, since demand generation is a broader activity that is used for creating an increasing want for a brand’s offering(s) content marketing is typically used in different ways for generating demand than it is used for generating leads in a company.

In fact, demand generation marketing of contents embraces wider tactics than using it just as contents used as a lead magnet and are so locked behind a landing page.

Therefore here are some of the key ways that demand marketers use for creating and distribute their highly personalized contents which exceed simple lead generation purposes and includes:

  • Pitching media outlets to submit expert quotes and insights
  • Publishing and sharing press releases
  • Publishing high-quality blogs, columns, bylines to build influence over time
  • Build trust with the audience by providing free contents via third-party social media or blog websites
  • Using organic search optimization to boost search engine authority scores and ranking
  • Scale lead nurturing tactics based on several performance metrics

Hence content marketing in demand generation strategies is used for supporting the brand’s objective of increasing awareness, gaining share of conversations, and for developing a reputation as a trusted subject-matter expert in the industry.
Whereby, in contrast, content marketing in lead generation strategies usually focuses on trading contents for finding an individual’s contact information using third-party or owned forms or by offering registrations for events.

Hence in a gist, we can say that while lead generation is an activity that concentrates just on the top-of-the-funnel performances, demand generation is an activity that is focused on the performance of the entire marketing and sales funnel.

Can We Perform Lead Generation In The Absence Of Demand Generation For Business Growth?

Well to answer this question, you can always do lead generation without implementing demand generation strategies since there are a plethora of inbound marketers who use lead generation tactics without adopting a mindset for demand generation to usher revenue growth.
We say this as one of the award-winning and the best small and medium business CRM software vendor in the Salesforce Alternative CRM space as we have seen some of these marketing teams become exceptionally successful by using best-of-class practices for optimizing landing pages, and by creating high-quality though leadership contents or by A/B testing their web-to-lead form fields.

Nevertheless, without the down-funnel approach that is provided by demand generation strategies, marketing teams are less likely to provide the complete support that is needed to ensure that those leads get converted to real value for the business in the form of customers bringing profit and hence revenue growth.

Will Organizations Benefit More From Demand Or Lead Generation Strategies?

It is often asked by many marketers as marketing has evolved a lot over the last few years, whether they should focus on demand generation or concentrate on their lead generation strategies.

The answer is almost always- Both.

We say this since asking which among demand or lead generation is the best for business growth is like asking the manager of a baseball team if teams should focus on getting on base or scoring runs. 
The paradox over here lays in the fact that you cannot score runs unless you get on base.
Nevertheless, as there are more skills needed to score runs than just hitting the ball.

Therefore while batting practice will boost the probability of your team’s success, just like lead generation skills, nevertheless to derive the most benefit from a holistic focus, much like demand generation; hitting, defense plays, running and many more other attributes are needed for winning a competitive baseball game.

Hence tactics used in lead generation forms a critical part of the demand generation program.

This is because, without landing page forms, your brand will never be able to capture the contact information that your business needs to start the conversation which gradually translates to pipeline and revenue.

Nevertheless, businesses must also consistently focus on building awareness and authority among the consumers of its offerings that they require to find qualified prospects to their websites in the first place and also find the required nurturing and sales enablement efforts that are needed to bring more value to their business since for most brands a demand generation strategy that also include lead generation tactics are likely to drive in the best results for a stellar and consistent business growth.

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