Revealed: The Secrets Of Demand Generation vs Lead Generation Campaigns


There has been some confusion in recent years regarding demand generation and lead generation.

Digital marketers have begun to use these terms interchangeably, arguing there is no reason to differentiate the two.

You cannot generate leads effectively or sustainably unless you are also generating demand—and demand generation loses its value if you cannot convert it into leads.

Just because these two B2B marketing strategies share several common end goals, it does not mean they are substitutable.

Certain B2B marketing commentators have a habit of combining terms.

Though lead generation falls under the demand generation umbrella, it is a distinct stage that requires its own set of specialized skills and tactics.

You risk missing out on leads, or end up paying significantly more for them, by confusing demand and lead generation.

What this blog covers

  1. Explained: Difference between Demand and Lead Generation in B2B Marketing
  2. Demand vs Lead Gen – nuances commonly overlooked
  3. Demand vs Lead Generation: Metrics
  4. Linking Demand To Lead Gen
  5. Six Tips to Develop Demand Generation Content

#1. Explained: Difference between Demand and Lead Generation in B2B Marketing

How do the two differ?

  1. Demand generation creates interest in your product or service.
  2. Lead generation on the other hand, converts the interest into data that you or your sales team can follow up on.

So what is B2B demand generation?

Demand generation takes prospects from stages of awareness to interest.

This includes:

  1. Increasing product awareness
  2. Sharing content
  3. Distributing free resources
  4. Sharing influencer posts

You can distinguish a campaign by whether or not it requests contact information.

Lead Generation is when your primary goal is to capture leads. You do this by:

  1. Restricting access to the content through a form that requests contact information
  2. Paying to distribute it to a targeted, specified audience

Demand Generation is when you remove restrictions from the consumption of content.

  1. You make content freely available
  2. You pay to distribute it

#2. Demand vs Lead Gen – nuances commonly overlooked

A demand generation strategy does not prioritize collecting contact information from individuals. Lead generation does.

Demand generation and lead generation are often mixed up because they both employ similar tools and tactics.

For starters, both rely on compelling, relevant content to be effective, and both prioritize intelligent, precise targeting.

However, demand and lead generation employ distinct strategies for targeting and content generation.

What types of content work best for demand and lead generation?

Your content should not be distinguished solely by the lead capture form.

It should be consistent with the various objectives you set.

You must transmit and signal value for the prospects. Then convince them to share their contact information with you.

Otherwise, you may capture information but not prepare the ground for sales.

Lead generation content is even more effective when the value it provides corresponds to the stage of the buyer’s journey at which an individual is ready to become a lead.

This buyer is aware of their buyer status—and is therefore interested in your business and products. Here are a few things you should offer.

  1. Purposeful, in-depth content
  2. Advice on scoping out their category’s needs
  3. Developing a relevant strategy
  4. Information that is definitive and detailed

Demand generation content has distinct objectives, and frequently, the content itself must be differentiated.

  1. Concentrate on addressing your audience’s current concerns.
  2. Attract attention with eye-catching visuals and novel concepts.
  3. Focus on a single, unambiguous idea and use content formats that help you stand out.

#3. Demand vs Lead Generation: Metrics

To calculate the return on investment for your demand generation strategy or content for lead generation, you must track multiple data points.

For instance, your 90-page whitepaper may have a high conversion rate for downloads.

But, did your message reach the intended audience? Did it compel them to take action?

Fortunately, there are metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign.

Examine your acquisition and referral channels to get a complete picture of your inbound marketing performance.

While this is not an exhaustive list, here are several methods for tracking demand generation vs. lead generation campaigns.

Tracking demand generation

  1. Cost per mille (CMP)
  2. Organic traffic
  3. Market share percentage

Tracking lead generation

  1. Marketing ROI per campaign
  2. Customer acquisition cost per campaign
  3. Conversion rate
  4. Time to purchase (length of the sales funnel)
  5. Number of email subscribers
  6. Number of marketing or sales qualified leads

#4. Linking Demand To Lead Gen

It’s worth noting that certain types of content assets can both generate demand and leads.

For example, you can conduct in-depth research or create a valuable eBook for your audience.

These are excellent assets for educating potential buyers. These  establish your authority, and fish for contact information.

Even if you have assets, it is worthwhile to tailor the format and presentation of the content to suit various demand and lead generation purposes.

  1. Create blog posts that can be shared freely. Offer a content upgrade using a gated PDF of the same blog. This enables you to allow prospects to read freely and also capture emails of those interested in the PDF.
  2. Convert interesting statistics into infographics that will capture the reader’s attention immediately.
  3. Ensure your CTAs encourage visitors to download the complete, lead-generating asset.

Raise the Bar for Demand and Lead Generation

Understand the difference between lead and demand to increase awareness for your website, products, and services.

Convert the awareness into high-quality leads that will drive revenue growth and stability.

By incorporating direct mail marketing into your lead generation mix, you can:

  1. Increase its effectiveness
  2. Achieve desired results faster
  3. Build stronger relationships with customers
  4. Foster evangelism
  5. Increase campaign ROI
  6. Enhance customer lifetime value

#5. Six Tips to Develop Demand Generation Content

To understand when certain types of content resonate, it’s necessary to first distinguish between demand generation and demand capture.

Both terms are used interchangeably, creating confusion regarding the buyer journey stage, resulting in misdirected content.

Demand generation is the process of adding new names to your database, nurturing leads, and expediting their progression to “qualified” status—the stage at which they can be passed to sales.

Demand captures active demand, individuals willing to discuss your products and solutions.

They necessitate distinct approaches. To draw the attention of your customer demand generation content can be:

  1. Clever
  2. Creative
  3. Funny
  4. Unique
  5. Eye-catching
  6. Perhaps even a little controversial

Ideally this content should not be gated. Focus on sharing and consuming formats such as blog posts, videos, listicles, and infographics.

The content for demand capture can be gated because it is targeted at an actively interested audience. Additionally, this content can include:

  1. Bottom-of-the-funnel pieces
  2. Whitepapers
  3. Webinars
  4. Solution sheets

When individuals engage with this type of content, it indicates readiness to speak with a sales representative.


A demand generation program is critical for optimizing your marketing funnel and increasing the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts.

Once you’ve established a link between specific demand generation activities and successful outcomes, you’ll be able to expand on similar strategies in the future.

You’ll have the power to discontinue campaigns or items that aren’t generating meaningful results, contributing to overall SEO ROI improvement.

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