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The Differences Between Demand and Lead Generation

the differences between demand and lead generation
Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

Demand Gen vs Lead Gen

Understanding the difference between demand generation and lead generation is crucial for formulating a proper content marketing strategy. Demand generation, also commonly referred to as demand gen, is a marketing strategy that is both technologically based and data driven that seeks to increase potential customer interest in a company.

Demand gen focuses on thought leadership capabilities in order to build trust in a company's expertise, knowledge, and eventually, its products or services offered. A common misconception is that demand generation marketing is a top funnel activity when in fact it is useful throughout all buyer journey steps.

Lead generation, also commonly referred to as lead gen, is a marketing strategy that identifies potential customers and incentivizes them to provide their information in exchange for valuable content. Lead gen leverages information that people want in exchange for customer data that the business wants.

Examples of lead gen material can include a free tool or access to blog posts that require customer data before access is granted, commonly referred to as gated content by marketing team professionals. Customer data that is captured by lead generation results in high quality leads that are then sent to sales reps for follow up.

It is important for both the sales team and marketing team professionals to understand the differences between inbound marketing and demand generation. Inbound marketing methods are a crucial component that assists in overall demand generation effort success.

Examples of inbound marketing tools for demand generation efforts include-

  • Blog posts
  • Paid advertising via social media
  • Email marketing efforts
  • White papers

Which One Should I Use

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Instead of viewing these marketing strategies as demand generation vs lead generation or vice versa, businesses are benefitted by using both. In fact, lead gen and demand gen work together outstandingly and are complementary marketing strategies when they are properly executed.

For instance, instead of gated content across an entire platform, demand generation efforts can provide some readily accessible content. For more premium or valuable content, a landing page can be created for lead generation purposes in regards to a specific campaign.

Rather than focusing on developing one marketing strategy before another, a comprehensive marketing strategy that incorporates both demand gen and lead gen concurrently is recommended by many experts. However, the establishment of a basic demand generation strategy foundation is suggested to build upon.

Building an excellent demand generation strategy requires understanding the target audience and creating content that people want to engage with. To generate demand most effectively, search engine optimization and marketing automation tools can be immensely beneficial.

Case studies report that 79% of organizations affirm brand awareness as a principal objective. Both the ability to build brand reputation and increase brand awareness are offered through demand gen efforts.

Additionally, case studies found 80% of organizations affirming lead gen as a primary organizational goal. These statistics are unsurprising when considering the potential for lead gen and demand gen to work together within marketing strategies.

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How to Balance Demand Gen and Lead Gen for Content Marketing

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Once business professionals understand the advantages of using demand gen and lead gen together, they may wonder how to best balance the two strategies. Thankfully, there are tips available for balancing both marketing strategies long term efficiently and effectively.

Demand gen should be used to create demand for the products or services that a company offers. Utilizing customer demand in tandem with lead gen efforts helps generate qualified leads for sales teams to follow up with.

Digital marketing initiatives can create unique content specifically for demand gen or lead gen objectives. A common marketing strategy mistake is attempting to create content that works well for both concepts.

Doing so can dilute the effectiveness of content created which is a massive drain on resources that could otherwise be better utilized. Instead, digital marketing best practices create lead gen and demand gen focused content respectively.

Another marketing strategy mistake is hyper focusing on lead gen at the detriment of demand gen. While lead generation can produce short term results quickly, demand generation is important for long term revenue.

As such, every content marketing strategy should focus on existing customers and their needs. Considering the high upselling potential that existing customers have, marketing strategies should always consider them a high priority.

Additionally, case studies have shown that returning and existing customers supply a sizeable amount of company revenue. To grow business revenue most productively, both potential customers and existing customers must be considered in all marketing strategy initiatives.

Key Takeaways

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  • Demand generation and lead generation efforts work together well to optimize comprehensive content marketing strategies.
  • Demand generation strategies and lead generation strategies have a significant amount of crossover, with sales enablement and potential customer interest being the primary objective of both.

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