demand generation vs lead generation

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation for B2B: Let’s Explore!

Today we’re going to be talking about a little something called demand generation. Demand generation is an essential component in any business marketing strategy that goes hand in hand with lead generation. But what is the difference, exactly?

Well, that’s precisely what we will be discussing in just a moment. By the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to differentiate clearly between demand generation vs lead generation, and know how to optimize your demand generation strategies for success. So, without further ado, let’s dive in! 

We’ll be exploring…

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is a marketing technique designed to nurture a brand’s target market. The truth is that demand generation isn’t just one thing. Rather, demand gen encompasses a whole set of B2B marketing agendas including:

  • Driving awareness to a brand
  • Nurturing customer trust and loyalty
  • Displaying thought leadership in the market

In other words, demand generation is an umbrella term that encapsulates everything from lead nurturing to upselling. The ultimate aim of demand generation is for a brand to curate their ideal target market and establish themselves as reputable leaders in that arena. 

Why Demand Generation is Important

So, we know what demand generation is but why is it important? It’s simple really. Demand generation is what helps position a brand in their market segment. In other words, it’s what makes a brand stand out from their competitors. Demand generation doesn’t just build awareness about your brand, it builds awareness about a need that your brand fills.

In doing so, demand generation helps businesses market their products more effectively. Think of it this way. When an audience understands what they need and how they can fill that need using your product or service, they are more likely to want to engage with your sales teams.

Demand generation fills the gap between brand awareness and B2B sales strategies by showing potential customers the value of a brand’s product and service offerings. This is especially useful in a B2B setting. B2B demand generation is all about showing other businesses how a product or service will help them improve their own business outcomes. It’s all about building awareness and trust.

When executed well, demand generation will help your brand:

  • Become trusted industry thought leader
  • Generate higher quality leads
  • Create more focussed marketing campaigns
  • Establish an engaged target market 

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation?

If by this point you’re thinking ‘that sounds just like lead generation’ then you’re not alone. These terms get used interchangeably a lot but, in reality, they are not exactly the same thing. Demand generation does help generate leads, but the techniques and strategies involved in good demand gen are not exactly the same as those required for a lead generation campaign.

Demand generation is a precursor to lead generation.

Demand generation is about establishing a target market and showing them how your products fill a need that they have. This creates authenticity and value around a brand that supports the subsequent lead generation campaign and helps drive better quality leads in the long run.

In other words, demand generation is like the strong foundation under lead generation. Once awareness and trust have been established, leads can be nurtured more effectively. 

Combining Demand Generation & Lead Generation

People often ask whether demand generation and lead generation can (or should) be combined. The answer is yes, absolutely! In reality, it’s not really a matter of demand generation vs lead generation, it’s more a matter of how to wed the two. Demand generation is the ideal foundation for a  lead generation campaign.

Here’s how combining the two strategies might look.     

Say you’re a B2B marketing team, launching a new business software product. Before trying to drum up loads of potential leads, it’s important to set the groundwork first. This is the demand generation stage. During this stage you should be producing value-filled content, webinars, newsletters, and other materials that engage your target market, identify their pain-points, and demonstrate how your new software product will meet their needs and improve their business outcomes head-on.

Once you’ve got engagement, then you can start generating leads with more targeted popup forms, landing pages, links, and opportunities for sales conversion. Thanks to your demand generation efforts,  you already have a pool of high-quality leads so now is the time to start driving traffic to your site, and closing sales. 

4 B2B Demand Generation Strategies

Now that we’ve got to the bottom of what demand generation is all about, let’s dive into some B2B demand gen strategies. The key to a successful demand generation campaign is to take an integrated approach combining a range of different strategies. Here are a few to get you started! 

Guest blogging

Guest blogging is a great way to establish your brand as a reputable thought leader. The beauty of guest blogging is that it allows even early-stage start-ups to get their name out there. Guest blogging involves writing content for another company’s website. Ideally, choose a company with a similar target market to your own. That way you’ll attract traffic back to your own website via backlinks. 

Paid search and social media ads

Paid search campaigns are a great way to boost your demand-generation efforts. Ensure that your content demonstrates how your products and services meet your target market’s needs and can alleviate their pain-points. Then launch paid search and social media adverts to reach out to your ideal avatar directly with targeted content. 

Content marketing

Content marketing is an essential strategy for any demand-generation campaign. High-quality content is one of the best ways to establish yourself in your market and stand out as a reputable market leader. It’s through content that you can demonstrate to your target audience exactly how and why your products and services are going to help them improve their own business outcomes.

Search and apply for the latest content marketing writer jobs.

Your content should highlight a need by highlighting the challenges that your prospective buyers are already facing and clearly demonstrating how your products and/ or services offer the ideal solution. This generates the will and desire to continue down the sales funnel and become a genuine lead.

So, what kind of content is best?

Any kind of informative content format is great. Things like blogs, buyer guides, reports, and whitepapers are all examples of excellent demand-generation-friendly content. For now, it’s all about sparking that interest.  

Top Tip: Don’t forget to optimize your content with SEO best practices and targeted keywords to ensure that your content is reaching the right people! 


Another effective demand-generation strategy comes in the form of incentives. Freebies and other incentives are a great way to keep interested alive. Once your target audience has read through your content, they still might not be quite ready to make a purchase.

At this point, it’s okay to give your audience a little extra push in the right direction. Offering a freebie that hints at what your full product can do are a great way to show prospects that your product is worth investing in. Once they try out your free tool (and love it) they’ll be more likely to follow up with a sales call or make that final purchase!

Demand Generation Best Practices

You’re almost ready to go. Before we leave you to embark on your own demand-generation journey, we want to share some demand-generation best practices to help you along the way. All of these tips and tricks will help you launch a more effective (and more lucrative) demand-gen campaign. 

  1. Set key goals

Ensure that, before anything else, you set some core goals for your campaign. What is it that your demand generation campaign sets out to achieve? Identify a few specific goals and return to them throughout the planning process to ensure that your campaigns remain highly targeted. 

  1. Develop detailed buyer personas

Demand generation is all about nurturing your ideal target market so it goes without saying that you should know exactly who your target market is before you get started. Research and develop a detailed picture of your buyer personas based on real consumer data. You should know everything there is to know about your buyer from their pain-points to their interests. 

  1. Carry out a content audit

We’ve already stressed the importance of high-quality value-filled content for demand generation. Carrying out regular content audits will ensure that your content remains effective. This will help you identify what content needs to be made, as well as pieces that may require updating. Ensuring that your content remains fresh, timely, and relevant is essential if you want your brand to retain its position as an industry leader.

  1. Offer your prospects something original

A great way to boost your demand generation campaign is to offer something extra that prospects aren’t being offered elsewhere. That could be a free resource, like an eBook or free digital tool that demonstrates some of your product capabilities. This will help your brand stand out from the crowd and help your marketing teams double down on more leads. 

  1. Monitor your progress with targeted testing

Finally, ensure that you are regularly monitoring performance metrics to ensure that your demand generation campaign is aligned with your key goals. During the planning phase, choose a range of targeted key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will measure throughout the duration of your campaign to keep your marketing teams on track. Return to these as often as possible and make adjustments to your campaign as and when needed to ensure that your end goals are still well on the way to being met. 

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation: The Perfect Match

Ready to launch your best demand generation campaign yet? Remember, demand generation is the foundation for any great lead generation campaign. By establishing a need and filling that need for your target persona, you’re already setting yourself up for higher-quality leads.

Lead At Scale is a B2B lead generation service that helps businesses qualify leads at scale through a range of service strategies including B2B cold calling services and B2B appointment setting services that will fill your sales pipeline and warm those leads. 

John Dubay

John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed.

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