Demand Generation VS Lead Generation for B2B Marketing

Demand Generation VS Lead Generation — two terms that seem to be used interchangeably even though they mean slightly different things. Both of them are hugely important to your B2B marketing strategy — one cannot generate sales-qualified leads without also generating demand, but there seems to be some confusion as to what these approaches entail.

Let’s clear out the misconceptions once and for all.

What is demand generation?

Demand generation is a marketing strategy that helps marketers identify and point out problems and pain points to potential customers. For example, if you are selling recruiting services, with demand generation you help your potential clients understand why they need to hire extremal recruiters and touch on their pain points. In other words, you are creating demand for your product/service.

What’s the difference between Demand Generation and Lead Generation?

Simply put, demand generation is about creating demand, while lead generation is about collecting sales-qualified leads. Lead Gen is a specific part of demand gen, while the latter is more of an umbrella term describing all marketing activities — from brand awareness to the actual sale.

The main and most obvious difference between a demand generation campaign and a lead generation campaign is therefore whether the campaign asks for contact information or not.

The purpose of a demand gen campaign would be to get people to engage with your content, get to know your brand, follow for updates and become aware of their needs. Prospects in this kind of campaign are at the very beginning of their customer journey — they are not yet aware of the issues and are not looking for solutions.

Demand campaigns include pre-warm-up that prepare potential customers for further interaction.

If you gate your content behind a form asking for contact details, and then pay to distribute it to a target audience, then you are running a lead generation campaign. Your main objective for that piece of activity isn’t to get people to engage with your content — it’s to capture as many leads as possible by giving people a reason to share contact details.

While a big difference, it doesn’t have to be the ONLY difference. There’s a lot that goes into creating marketing campaigns for lead or demand capture.

Marketing strategies for demand generation

SEO-based content

One of the best ways to reach your desired audience and start them on a customer journey is to distribute content which works for SEO.

We don’t need to explain the benefits of a high ranking in Google — by improving your search ranking, you can reach a wider audience and create authority with potential customers.

Start by doing keyword research into your expert areas and build your content around the key concepts people would be searching for. HubSpot and Neil Patel have a lot of brilliant materials on how to make SEO work for your content.

Free content that informs

Are you an expert on certain topics? Talk about it!

Aim to create genuinely valuable content that your prospects will find useful.

There are many types of content you could choose to create:

  • Blogs — articles on your website that educate your audience and help you get found on Google.
  • Videos — YouTube content that explores your product or topics relevant to your target audience.
  • eBooks — long-form textbooks or whitepapers that you can give away on your site.
  • Podcasts/webinars — deep dives into specific industry themes or product features, normally with external guest speakers.
  • Industry insights — inviting industry influencers to contribute to your content and promote it to their networks.

Whatever mediums you choose to create content on, make sure your content answers the questions your ideal customers are asking.

Social media marketing

Social media has always played a slightly different role in the B2B context. One should rarely expect monetary return or sales-qualified leads directly from social media channels. While they can certainly bring you leads, it’s not their main objective.

For B2B social media like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter works best in brand awareness and engagement campaigns. Grow your audience, distribute valuable content and engage with your potential clients directly.

Building a relationship with your audience on social media will increase awareness of your brand and create even more demand for your product or service.

Marketing strategies for lead generation

Email marketing

In 2020 80% of B2B businesses reported using email marketing as their primary lead generation channel. And for good reason — still, over 73% of deals in B2B are made over email.

UMG can personally vouch for its effectiveness — after all, we’ve performed over 500+ successful email campaigns.

If you are not yet using email for lead generation, you should start — it’s a great tool for any point of the customer journey.

Use cold emails to catch qualified prospects at the beginning on their journey.

Learn how to craft a cold email that converts.

Newsletters and content round-ups are great for engaging your existing audience — or those already pre-warmed by demand gen activities.


Webinars are a great way to generate leads at volume — sometimes as many as 500 at a time. Webinars utilise 2 essential qualities — value and personal connection — 2 things that any potential prospects would appreciate most.

The key to a successful webinar is to make it valuable and interesting for your new audience. Don’t make a whole webinar going over the main features of your product, or how great your team is at solving problems. Speak to a specific need of your potential customer. Help them solve a problem. Teach them something valuable.

That way your webinar will be able to collect many eager-to-learn eyes and curious minds ready to convert.

Gated content

Remember how we spoke about creating free content to inspire demand? Use a similar strategy to collect leads.

Gate the content on your website to collect interested leads. If you are advertising free content on LinkedIn, you can even make use of their lead gen forms — easy pre-filled forms for better conversions.

Keep in mind that gated content has to be a little different from simply free content. There needs to be enough value in your piece for the prospect to part with their contact details.

Some examples of good gated content include:

  • Checklists
  • Guides
  • Templates
  • eBooks
  • Reports

Free tool

Offering a free tool can help your audience understand your solution. It will also help you understand more about what your audience needs and is looking for in a solution. You can learn more about which segment of your audience is most interested and better define the pain point that your audience is using your tool to solve.

So, if you are willing to share the resources, create a free tool as a great lead magnet to get to know your potential customer better.

Bottom line

Whether your digital marketing activities are lead gen or demand gen, their ultimate goal is the same — drive attention and gain sales-qualified leads through your website and content.

If you are looking to improve your marketing efforts and fill up your sales funnel with fresh leads, give us a call — and we’ll present you with a unique strategy to boost your brand presence and sales.