Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

B2B organizations are tirelessly working to refine their marketing strategies to increase awareness for their brand and ultimately convert more leads to thrive and outpace the competition. Two methods that are playing a growing role are demand generation and lead generation, sometimes referred to as the “gen-twins,” because they use similar traits and content to drive results. However, the goals and tactics behind these methods are very different. And just as people get their meanings wrong, they get their applications wrong too.

To help you maximize the power of demand generation and lead generation, let’s look at exactly what they are and the differences between demand generation vs lead generation.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation involves all the marketing activities that seek to attract an audience and draw them towards your product or service with the use of data insights. It focuses on helping prospects understand their pain points and educating them on how your product or service can help.

Components of a Good Demand Generation Strategy

Well-Defined Target Audience

A good demand generation strategy requires that you clearly understand your buyers. If your product or service needs a buying committee, as is the case with many B2B buying decisions, make sure you understand the entire ecosystem. Use industry, company type title and job role in defining the targets.

Value-Oriented Content

The content you create should provide value. Establish the critical needs of your audience and create content that helps them identify opportunities or address their challenges.

Focus on the Buyers

The channels and tactics you use should have high chances of reaching your targets. Therefore, use a combination of inbound and outbound marketing approaches such as SEO, content creation, email marketing and digital ads.

Allow Engagement

A good demand generation strategy should give the audience a way to raise their hand. Include a call to action towards the end of the content and provide the buyers with an easy way to respond. It can be a conversion path for buyers who wish to learn more, talk to an expert or request a quote.

Demand Generation Campaigns


SEO-optimized blog articles serve as a demand generation tool by helping prospects to find your site. Besides, the blog can have a call to action that leads to content download. You can also pursue guest blogging, particularly if you are starting out with a new service or product category. When you appear where your target audience usually looks for information, you increase the chance of being seen, building trust, and addressing them directly.

Un-gated Content

Un-gated content includes infographics, blog posts and videos with no barriers. That is, they don’t require a prospect to submit a form to gain access. It establishes a larger audience and provides the buyers with information that addresses their concerns.

Display ads

Display ads include the graphic or video banner ads that appear on a website and social media platforms. The objective is to create awareness and drive target consumers to your website.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation focuses on converting the audience with a genuine interest in your product or service into qualified leads. It involves capturing the contact details of engaged prospects and passing them to your sales team.

Components of a Good Lead Generation Strategy

Allow Tracking of the Leads

A good lead generation strategy should involve software to track leads and attribute them back to specific marketing channels such as organic search, paid social or email. Otherwise, you could be putting all your efforts into strategies that are not working. HubSpot is our CRM of choice for managing and measuring all marketing tactics in one user-friendly platform.

Allows Measuring of Success

After a tracking system is in place, you can now measure the conversion rates of your campaigns, along with the quality of your leads. Conversion rates are simple (visitors/leads), with the range typically in the 1-5% range. Again, HubSpot does a stellar job of reporting on conversion rates for all marketing channels and campaigns. Quality can be tracked through lead scoring (also part of HubSpot’s CRM). This process assigns every contact a value or point based on a variety of characteristics (e.g., the information they share, how they interact with your brand, actions taken), helping marketers prioritize quality leads. You can learn more about Lead Scoring here.

Allows Optimization

A good lead generation strategy should include A/B testing the components of your campaigns. Testing different variables such as the button color, graphics, call-to-action copy and offers allows you to carry out data analysis and use the results to optimize your campaigns.

Examples of Lead Generation Campaigns


You can collect contact details from your audience by hosting a webinar and asking them to fill up a form in advance. Webinars are highly effective, and over 53% of marketers consider them the best tactics in generating the most highly qualified leads.

Gated Content

Gated content includes e-books, checklists, whitepapers, guides, etc., which require the audience to fill a form before accessing them. Here, you create content that tackles a topic within your industry and promote it in different blog posts on your website or through email campaigns. Every person who wishes to access the material will need to give their contact information which you will use for further targeted marketing.

How they Work Together

Demand generation and lead generation depend on each other and thus should work together. For example, you may create several pieces of gated content, each with a landing page, popup form and conversion opportunity, and then place them strategically around your website. But who will visit your site and covert if there is no traffic from demand generation?

On the other hand, you could be driving abundant traffic to your site, but when you fail to focus on conversions and follow-up nurturing, you only get closing sales when a prospect feels like they should follow up with you.

Therefore, you need to have demand generation to drive traffic to your site and lead generation to deliver sales from qualified leads.


Success does not come by treating lead generation and demand generation as mutually exclusive entities but rather as related and complementing strategies. That way, you can generate more high-quality leads, improve your ROI and stay ahead of the competition.

Need help with your demand gen and lead gen efforts? Reach out to the experts at Brainstorm. We’ll answer any question you have about these methods or any or other digital marketing queries you may have. Contact us today.

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