What is the Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation?

What is the Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation?

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Lead Generation or Demand Generation

If you’re a B2B marketer creating content, you’re doing it for two reasons: demand generation and lead generation. Despite popular opinion, these are not the same thing.

Demand Generation

Demand generation is the act of creating content to drive awareness in your company’s products or services. In general, the content here is free-to-download with the goal of warming up the potential customer by providing relevant and informative content. This is top of the funnel activity. If the prospect proceeds his journey, lead generation tactics come into play.

Lead Generation

Lead generation is creating content to collect names and contact information of potential customers for future follow-up. This content is “gated,” living behind a registration form that a user has to complete before obtaining the content. The goal of lead generation is to build a database of likely customers that can be nurtured through the funnel to ultimate conversion.

To put a finer point on it, demand generation creates a prospect’s impression of a company, lead generation gathers their data. The two tactics work hand-in-hand. Still, the content that you create for each should be unique.

What Content is right for Demand Gen?

Content that generates demand is used to develop awareness of your company. It should position your company as a leader in the industry, but shouldn’t be a sales pitch. Demand generation content should be informative first: answer questions your prospects are facing, address their challenge, and show them how they can solve their problems.

This kind of content is best in a short form. A two-minute video, 500-word blog post, or an eye catching infographic are all good examples of prime demand gen content. The industry calls this snackable content: short and easy to consume and, most importantly shareable. If you content is shared among the buying committee, you’re doing your job right.

What Content is right for Lead Gen?

Content created with the intention of driving leads is a different beast. Because a prospect exchanges their contact info in order to receive it, lead gen content should be more valuable. Here, we’re going long form: whitepapers, webinars, eBooks, etc.

Lead generating content will dig deeper into the topics that matter to your prospects. This content will go into more detail about a prospect’s issues. In this case you will not only address their topics of interest, you can also demonstrate how your company can help. If a client went so far as to fill out a form, it’s likely their not idly perusing your company.

Bringing it all Back Home

Demand Generation and Lead Generation shouldn’t stand alone. A successful content marketing strategy will employ both. Your demand generation activities channel the most likely prospects into your lead generation pipeline where they can be nurtured into customers.

But if you’re uncertain where you should begin, consider what your company needs most. Does it require a larger audience? Then it’s demand gen. If you need to fill your pipeline, turn to lead gen.

Either way, content is essential. Remember that the two tactics require very different assets. Plan accordingly.


How can you reach the B2B buyer? Download our Field Guide to the BtoB Buyer for the skinny.

And check out this video to find out how Madison Logic helped generate the right leads for user-generated content marketing platform, Offerpop:

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