Demand generation vs. lead generation… potato, potat-toe.
Aren’t those the same thing? This is the question you may be asking upon clicking on this post. Both are all about building brand awareness, right? The simple answer is, no, they are not the same. They are actually quite different strategies, though some use the terms interchangeably.
Say you want to bring birds into your yard. Would you get the same results from scattering seeds in the grass as you would from putting up a specialized bird feeder? Not necessarily. Though you might bring in a lot of birds, you might also attract squirrels, chipmunks, and other animals. In other words, creating demand doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bringing in the right demand.
We will take this opportunity to explore demand generation vs lead generation. We will examine the benefits of each, outline some strategies and provide examples. In the end, we’ll be able to crown a winner once and for all.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: Understanding the Difference
Let’s begin by defining demand generation and lead generation. Then, we can examine the differences more clearly.
What's the difference between demand generation vs lead generation? Demand Generation involves creating awareness for your products or services. Some cornerstones of demand generation include increasing traffic and brand awareness. Lead Generation, on the other hand, refers to the process of guiding prospects toward your sales pipeline. Lead gen includes qualification processes, during which you’ll determine whether or not a potential customer is a good fit for your business.
In our decade and a half of experience helping brands achieve massive growth, Lean Labs has seen these strategies—and more—in action. So, which of these approaches should you target for your marketing efforts? Let’s take a closer look at demand generation vs lead generation to see if we can find the answer.
Demand Generation: How Does It Boost Growth?
One of the main reasons companies love demand generation is this approach’s ability to grow an organization’s audience. Demand generation efforts can help you drive new visitors to your website.
Consider the standard customer acquisition funnel: Awareness, acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referrals. Demand generation is the King of Awareness. Engaging in demand generation efforts will help you get your brand’s name in more people’s ears and your logo in front of more pairs of eyes.
The benefits of this approach are clear: To acquire a new customer, you first need to make that customer aware that your brand exists.
If you are looking to start demand generation efforts, you can try a few different approaches.
Blogging: Looking to bring more customers to your website? Writing blog posts about topics related to your business can help bring in new visitors via organic search.
Social Media Engagement: It feels like every major brand is on social media these days. You can raise awareness about your company by joining in the fun. If sassing people on Twitter isn’t your speed, try writing engaging LinkedIn posts, or responding to posts related to your industry.
Webinars: You have knowledge about your industry. Your audience needs that knowledge. It’s a match made in heaven! Host a webinar on a topic that matters to your industry to bring more visitors to your site.
Industry Events: Industry events can be a great networking opportunity, but they can also help you generate demand for your company. Consider speaking at an event to get your name out there among industry attendees.
Paid Ads: Lastly, paid ads and paid search can help you get your name out there if you have the cash to swing it.
Lead Generation: How Does It Boost Growth?
Lead generation, like demand generation, is all about growing your audience and bringing people in the metaphorical door. The difference here is that lead generation focuses on attracting best-fit customers rather than just anyone and everyone.
If we consider the same marketing funnel we discussed with demand generation, lead generation efforts start with awareness but filter down through the rest of the funnel. Focusing on attracting only customers who align with your business goals makes every other step in the journey from acquisition to referrals easier.
A benefit of lead generation is its ability to help you nurture and convert qualified leads into customers who will refer and help promote your business.
To engage in lead generation, try strategies like these:
Connection Value Offers: Lead generation is about more than getting customers to your website: It’s about turning those visitors into leads. To accomplish this, you will need to offer the visitor something they are willing to part with their contact information to receive. Create a resource your ideal customer would find valuable. If you create the right offer, your ideal customers will line up to give you their email addresses to receive it.
Email Marketing: Nurturing is a major component of lead generation efforts. Use a CRM tool like HubSpot to segment the contacts you gain from your connection value offers into targeted lists. Then, approach these lists with email nurturing campaigns that meet them where they are in their journey.
Targeted Content: Lead generation through content marketing requires trust. Your ideal customer needs to trust and believe in your brand enough to sign up for an email list or request a demo from you. Creating content that is valuable to your customers, not necessarily directly related to your brand will show potential leads that you value them enough to offer them valuable information for free.
Demand Generation Activities: You can take a lead generation approach to any of the demand generation approaches discussed previously. The trick is to target your language and approach to attract only best-fit customers, even if that approach might repel other visitors.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: Better Together
We’re ready to give our verdict! Demand generation vs lead generation: Which should you pursue? In truth, you should be pursuing both of these approaches. Without demand generation processes, you’ll have trouble getting enough leads into your marketing funnel to convert a significant number into customers.
On the flip side, without quality lead generation strategies, you may end up attracting only poor-fit customers who will not help in your efforts to grow your brand and your business. With strong organic and inbound marketing processes to bring awareness to your website and incredible lead generation practices to filter through for best-fit customers, you’ll be well on your way to massive growth.
For more tips and tricks on how to improve your lead generation efforts, check out our free Lead Gen Resource Pack today!
Mallory is a Growth Marketer at Lean Labs, working with brands to ignite their growth engine through conceptualizing, implementing, and optimizing growth marketing strategies.