The Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation


In the last several years, B2B marketing has invented a lot of new strategies. Even if the ultimate goal with B2B marketing is to generate revenue, the path followed differ for each business.

Two such paths are demand generation and lead generation. We know that the difference between demand generation and lead generation can be confusing. Many B2B marketers have started using it interchangeably, but that can’t be farther than the truth. Both share some similar traits, but the way they approach things is different. This having a good understanding of both, will help you create better campaigns.

So let’s get started with the specific difference between lead generation Vs Demand generation.

But before we get into that, let’s define what is demand generation and lead generation.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation marketing is all about creating a demand for your product and services in the market. It expands your audience, creates buzz, and drives traffic to convert to your website.

You may confuse demand generation with branding, but it’s different. With demand generation, you use data-driven strategies to create awareness.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is all about converting your audience into prospects who might be interested in your product and services.

Lead generation is the result of your good demand generation campaigns.

There are literally hundreds of different ways to convert your leads into customers. The actual ideas you implement depend on your needs and the type of business you are in.

What’s the Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation?

Lead generation is the subset of demand generation. Demand generation grows awareness about your business, brings in a new audience. Lead generation captures this attention to turn the audience into leads or prospects.

Examples of Demand Generation

There are various types of demand generation campaigns that your B2B marketing can run, but the end goal is to reach a maximum audience and familiarize the right people.

With data at your disposal, you can run targeted demand generation campaigns.

1) Brand Awareness Campaigns

First, you need a potential audience for your business. If there are other players in the market your business should be able to stand out from the crowd. Brand awareness is about creating a positive image of your brand in the market.

People need to associate the solution you sell with the problem they face in their everyday life.

2) May Customer Personas to the Buyer’s Journey

Internet is a multi-platform space. Meaning, customers can connect with you via different marketing channels. If you want to boost conversions, you need to map out the exact path customers take while approaching your product.

This way you can understand their unique pain points at each stage of the buyer’s journey and address them accordingly.

3) Thought Leadership Content

Thought leadership is an excellent way to create demand around your business. There are people out there who want to have a deeper understanding of how the respective industries work. Thought leadership content can help you project yourself as an expert in your respective domain. It humanizes your brand and in effect, improves your brand value.

Examples of Lead Generation Campaigns

Unlike demand generation, lead generation campaigns are more specific in their approach. The main objective is to collect customer information like name, email, and phone numbers.

The primary strategy is to include gated content, accessing which requires the customer to share their name and email addresses.

Gated Content

Gated content is content that can be accessed only if the prospect visiting your website share information about themselves. This information is then used by the sales and marketing teams to plan further activities.

Gated content is a fabulous way to gather specific information about your prospect. Based on what content they download, you can figure out what specific problem they are facing and then ask your sales team to plan the call accordingly.

Social Media

Most marketers don’t consider SEO as a lead generation tool. Social media has truly been seen as a B2C marketing tool but even B2B marketers can tap into its potential. Platforms like Linkedin and Twitter can help you educate your customers in the most efficient and direct ways. The more creative you are with your social media, the better you can connect with your customers.

Whitepapers and Case Studies

Whitepapers and case studies are highly technical documents that inform a reader about a specific problem. Whitepapers and case studies both are epic tools to target specific decision-makers. But make sure you don’t write these content forms as sales pitches. They must primarily inform and educate the customers about a problem.

Webinars and Infographics

Audio and visual content are best when you are trying to connect with cold prospects. The content is easily digestible and can be accessed even through mobile devices.

Most prospects may not be interested in your 2000 word blog, but they can easily attend a 1-hour long webinar on a specific problem they are facing. Especially with a technical product, customers are more willing to watch videos rather than read a document.


On the surface level, lead generation vs demand generation looks the same. But an expert B2B marketer knows the specific difference.

A full-fledged digital marketing strategy requires both demand generation and lead generation. Demand generation is what fuels your lead generation activities.

When you understand the difference between demand generation and lead generation, you can create campaigns that complement and support your ultimate marketing goals.