Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: What Is the Difference?

If you have ever researched anything about online marketing, chances are that you have seen the terms demand generation and lead generation used liberally and abundantly. But, sadly, many individuals use the terms interchangeably when they are, in fact, two very different things

For effective online marketing, you must understand what these terms mean. It is also important to know how they differentiate and feed into each other. In this article, we will uncover the significance of these two terms and some examples of how to implement them in your online marketing.


What Is Demand Generation?

What Is Lead Generation?

What Is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation?

5 Examples of Demand Generation

  1. Free Resources
  2. Webinars
  3. Public Relations
  4. Blogging
  5. Influencer Marketing

5 Examples of Lead Generation

  1. Gated Content
  2. Referral Rewards
  3. Newsletters
  4. Social Media
  5. Offer an Exclusive Discount

How to Measure the Success of Demand and Lead Generation

  1. Market Qualified Leads
  2. Return on Investment
  3. Content Performance

How do Demand Generation and Lead Generation Work Together?

Funny cartoon about building a brand and shared leads.


What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is the process of converting untapped businesses into prospective customers. It is a specific marketing strategy that builds brand awareness and increases traffic to a business’s website. It also secures new leads for potential customers.

For example, let’s say that someone was injured on the job. Although this person might not realize it yet, they could benefit from having a lawyer who specializes in injuries. Through demand generation, you would be able to make this person aware that there was a lawyer available to make a case and assist them legally.

Consider demand generation the art of making a business attractive. This is done by increasing brand awareness through public relations and free tools. This kind of demand generation makes individuals need you when they did not know they even needed you.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting prospective clients to turn them into actual customers. This can be done by nurturing their interest in your company with a series of strategies like blog posts, and gated content, among others.

An example of lead generation in action is a recruiting company having a blog post on how to resolve an HR problem. Perhaps at the end of the post, there is the opportunity to sign the individual’s email up for free resources, also known as gated content. Through one simple post, the company was able to provide helpful information to prospective customers, as well as capture their emails to generate more leads.

A study by APSIS showed that 68% of businesses struggle with lead generation. Undoubtedly, finding how to generate more leads is a sought-after subject, so we will dive into some examples below.

Infographic on key lead generation for B2B marketers statistics.


What Is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation?

Demand generation creates a need for others to use its brand. It creates brand awareness which will eventually translate into high-quality leads.

Lead generation, on the other hand, uses campaigns to reach prospective customers and turn them into leads.

While demand generation turns strangers into prospects, lead generation turns prospects into leads and future customers. Both forms of generation are necessary and feed into each other for the outcome of having more long-term customers.

5 Examples of Demand Generation

There are several ways for a company to generate demand for its brand. The important thing to do is monitor your efforts and ensure that the strategies you choose are effective in making prospective customers aware of their need for your brand.

Below are 5 examples of demand generation you can implement today.

#1 Free Resources

Everybody loves free things – especially free resources. The company Business Insurance USA is an excellent example of this in action. Even though the company sells business insurance, it creates free resources and information that drive audiences to its website.

If someone is implementing a marketing campaign, for example, they may run across an article on digital marketing campaigns. Although they were not seeking information on Business Insurance USA, the free resource took them to the website. This created brand awareness.

#2 Webinars

Webinars are an excellent way to create demand for your business. For example, if you have an upholstery company that wants to reach designers, you could host a webinar on trending designs for that quarter. In that webinar, you include upholstery options from your brand, but the focus would be on the design aspect.

By doing this, you have provided something of interest for the viewer but also left that demand for your brand on the viewer’s mind.

#3 Public Relations

With an effective public relations campaign, your brand could be featured in videos, news or even on television. So keep your eye on trending news and find a way to pitch an idea to the media that will showcase your brand. Once a pitch is accepted, allow your company to shine.

#4 Blogging

Creating a blog is an excellent way to create awareness of your brand. A blog gives you the opportunity to provide information to a potential customer but also add some insight into your brand.

For example, say you have a website that provides a service. If you add a blog to your website, you could provide useful how-to posts that would attract prospects to your brand. Once a prospective customer reads your blog, you have successfully opened the door to introduce them to your brand in a very subtle way. As the prospect reads the blog posts, they will also be reading about what your brand offers them.

#5 Influencer Marketing

Although influencer marketing used to be an unusual approach to demand generation, it is now a commonly used method for creating a need for your brand. The reason behind this is simple. People are more prone to purchase something after a recommendation from someone they know.

By investing in influencer marketing in your niche, you are spreading demand for your brand. Suddenly, prospects will begin to see how much they need your brand, just because it was recommended by an influencer they trust. 

5 Examples of Lead Generation

50% of marketers consider lead generation a top priority in their marketing campaigns. You must learn the best way to generate inbound and outbound leads for proper lead generation. Once you have effectively learned how to capture leads, you should focus on managing the pipeline.

Below we will see 5 ways you can implement lead generation.

#1 Gated Content

Gated content is a spectacular way to capture leads for your business. If you provide free resources to generate demand, you can create some free resources that require being sent by email. This requires readers to submit their email to receive the free resources, also known as gated content.

By doing this, you will provide something for free to the viewer but also have their email to continuously follow up with them as you turn the prospect into a customer.

#2 Referral Rewards

If a stranger tells you about a product, chances are you will dismiss their opinion and move on to the next thing. However, if a friend recommends something to you something, you are more prone to look into the product or service and learn what it is all about.

This is why you should not miss out on offering rewards for referrals. It is an excellent way to implement lead generation.

#3 Newsletters

Providing great information in a free newsletter is an excellent strategy for lead generation. All a reader needs to do is subscribe to the newsletter, which would require an email, and they will receive up-to-date news from their industry.

You and your business have just effectively implemented lead generation by capturing their email.

#4 Social Media

Using social media as part of your lead generation campaign is essential to your brand’s success. Unsurprisingly, companies use social media as one of the top three inbound lead generation strategies.

Due to the incredible number of users on social media websites, paid ads generally create a phenomenal return on investment. Therefore, investing in paid ads and social media boosts where the potential customer will follow the link to your brand is almost certain to bring success to your lead generation campaign.

#5 Offer an Exclusive Discount

Everyone loves a good deal. An effective lead generation strategy that many brands implement is to offer an exclusive discount to the customer. An example of this would be when you visit a website and a pop-up comes up that offers a 20% discount to new customers.

When a customer signs up for the discount, they share their contact information, and potentially, end up purchasing the service or product that you are offering.

In this scenario, you have successfully captured their contact for future opportunities, along with offering them a sweet deal. 

How to Measure the Success of Demand and Lead Generation

Every campaign should have some form of metrics to track to know whether or not the campaign was successful. Demand and lead generation campaigns are no exception to this rule.

Every goal should have measures in place to track progress, and metrics are an excellent way to ensure accountability and success in your campaigns.  While there are many different ways that you can measure the success of your demand and lead generation campaigns, the three metrics below are key to ensuring you are on the right track.

 #1 Market-Qualified Leads

Measuring the leads you capture through gated content, exclusive deals, and other avenues is one way to ensure your campaigns have been successful. Simply put, knowing how many emails and phone numbers you were able to capture for prospective customers is a great way to see if your campaign was successful.

#2 Return on Investment

For this metric, you need to look at your current revenue and your revenue three months, six months, and 12 months from now. By tracking the increase or decrease in your revenue, you will see if your campaigns are helping you reach your goals.

If you see that your revenue has remained the same or even decreased, then it may be time to consider how you should switch your campaign up so you may try different strategies. On the other hand, if your revenue increases, it’s an excellent way to see that your campaign is on track.

#3 Content Performance

Content performance may be measured in several different ways, so it all depends on what methods of demand and lead generation you choose to implement. Generally speaking, though, you will want to measure how well the content you create performs.

Measuring content performance is possible by tracking how many page visits to a website, shares, comments and likes on social media posts, among others. Simply put, you can measure content performance by tracking how well your audience reacts to the content you create.

Graphic with differences between demand generation and lead generation.


How do Demand Generation and Lead Generation Work Together?

When speaking of demand generation vs. lead generation, one does not exist without the other. By having a good demand generation strategy, you will be making prospective leads aware of the need they may have for your brand.

Whenever the opportunity arises, the individual will be brought to your company by lead generation. Possibly through one of the above examples, or others that were not listed.

An example of demand and lead generation in action is when a customer hears something in the media about your brand because of your public relations strategy. This will cause them to visit your website where they will see a blog post and become interested in your brand. Then, they decide to sign up for your newsletter to stay tuned to future events.

By creating awareness of your brand, you effectively harnessed demand generation. Through innovative lead generation, you captured their information so you may turn the prospect into a customer.

Using demand and lead generation together allows your possibilities to be truly endless.