Marketers often toss around the terms demand generation and lead generation interchangeably. But if you’re a serious B2B marketer, you need to understand the important differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at how to use both in your marketing strategy.
Demand generation: the basics
Demand generation develops interest in – or demand for – a brand’s products and services. The key focus of demand generation is to create awareness and build a desire for brand. The goal of demand gen is to keep your brand top-of-mind for your target customers.
Demand generation happens throughout the buyer’s journey. This interest-based strategy provides a continuous flow of information about your products and services. It serves to maintain demand levels in every stage of your sales funnel.
Demand gen gives the world an introduction to your products and services. You can use demand gen to build your pre-qualified audience, establish trust, and create thought leadership.
Demand gen content is always free. The free information that demand gen provides is designed to attract and build your targeted audience. Examples of typical demand gen content include blogs, articles, social media posts, and explainer videos.
Lead generation: the basics
Lead generation identifies potential customers by collecting information from targeted individuals. Potential leads are those who have expressed a genuine interest in learning more about your products and services.
Savvy marketers use this information collected from targeted individuals to qualify them as leads. Lead generation is a top-of-the-sales funnel activity. Smart marketers collect information to build a pipeline of well-qualified leads as prospects to move along in your sales funnel. These pre-qualified leads are ready to move on to the next steps in their buyer’s journey.
Lead generation places a high value on gated content that requires potential customers to interact to learn more. Gated content provides more specific information about your products and services. Prospects can gain access to premium content only after they have provided identifying information like an email or phone number. Typical lead generation content includes e-books, white papers, free trials and email subscriptions.
Demand gen vs. lead gen: what’s the difference?
While these two marketing strategies may sound similar, they are definitely not the same thing. You may find it helpful to think of lead gen as a specific subset of your overall demand gen strategy.
You should design your demand gen strategy to inform the public broadly about your brand’s products and services. Create demand by educating everyone about who you are and what you offer.
This is the “convince” part of the sales funnel. You’re educating your customers about why your brand is their best choice.
Use lead generation to segment your audience by collecting contact information from potential buyers. Focus on qualifying prospects who have expressed a genuine interest in moving forward with your buying process.
This is the “convert” process of the sales funnel. You’re now converting your prospect from an interested party to a customer.
Ready to generate more interest and qualified leads for your products and services? Demand Works Media specializes in demand and lead generation management. Contact one of our marketing experience specialists today.