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Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: Key Differences, Strategies, and More

There's often a lot of misinformation spread about the terms demand generation vs lead generation. Although these functions are closely related, there are distinct differences every marketer should be aware of.

Table of Contents

What Is Demand Generation Marketing?

Demand generation marketing is a strategy that marketers use to generate brand awareness and interest in a product or solution at scale, leveraging several disciplines within marketing.

These disciplines can include brand storytelling, differentiated messaging and positioning, account-based marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, lead-to-revenue processes, and the tracking of key metrics for ongoing optimization.

The goal of any demand generation manager or marketing lead is to create brand awareness and interest. When interest is created, your audience is more likely to visit your website or social media, click on ads, or visit landing pages.

Demand Generation Strategy and Tactics

If you want to move prospects down the funnel, demand generation is critical. Start by reviewing B2B demand generation best practices, strategies, and tactics you should bring with you in 2022 to boost your marketing-qualified leads.

Demand gen strategies

1. Boost authority with valuable content

The buying process is largely driven by independent research. Buyers today are more well-informed than ever, spending a large portion of their buyer journey researching before meeting with a sales rep. This is why creating engaging, high-value content is so critical.

Consider creating a content strategy that involves a mix of different types of content formats, like video, blogs, webinars, and guides. You should also distribute this content on multiple channels, like email and social media.

To boost awareness, you may also want to consider partnering with other companies to extend your audience reach. For example, become a guest speaker for another company’s podcast or webinar to reach a whole new audience. Partner marketing is a great way to expand your reach and continue building your position as an industry thought leader.

In-Market Buyers

2. Use intent data to find in-market buyers

Using intent data is one of the best ways to discover people who are currently in the market for a solution like yours. If you’re new to B2B intent data, it is essentially a collected set of signals that indicate a user’s interest and intent to buy a product or solution. These intent signals can be actions like number of page clicks, the time spent on a given web page, and more.

Chances are, you are already collecting intent data. If your team has a CRM, website cookies enabled, email tracking, marketing automation, or social listening tools, you’re collecting first-party intent data and observing who is engaging most closely with your brand. This is referred to as first-party intent data.

There are, of course, limitations to first-party intent data. You can expand your total addressable market (TAM) and generate more awareness by using third-party intent data. With DealSignal’s Intent-Based Leads, you can find decision makers at in-market accounts and get those leads delivered to you each week.

Demand gen tactics

  • Use on-site retargeting to re-engage leads
  • Create a blog and consistently publish
  • Write thought leadership content to demonstrate expertise
  • Post regularly on social media
  • Create an email newsletter with valuable insights
  • Get featured on guests blogs to extend reach
  • Host webinars or live video events
  • Write case studies to attract new customers
  • Create a podcast or guest speak on relevant podcasts
  • Create, free interactive digital tools on your website
  • Partner with influencers to boost visibility
  • Become active in relevant online forums or groups

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation can be defined as the act of capturing the contact data of folks raising their hand to start a conversation with your company, coupled with a timely follow-up approach toward booking a discovery meeting or product demonstration.

But, this is key: lead generation is only successful when a team’s demand generation strategy is solid. Once you have a person’s attention and interest, you are more likely to capture their contact information via a landing page, web form, or other method.

Demand generation builds a person’s interest and brings them to your website or landing page. But now that they’re on your page, in order to get them to willingly provide contact details, you must have great lead generation content that clearly demonstrates the value of your solution and your brand’s differentiators.

While the content for demand generation tends to be more educational and trust-building, lead generation is more tactical and value-driven because at this point, the prospect has moved further down the funnel.

Lead Generation Strategy and Tactics

Now that demand generation has done its job in creating interest and driving traffic, it’s up to lead generation marketers to push prospects further down the funnel. Below are a few lead generation strategies and tactics to consider.

Lead gen strategies

1. Keep lead forms short

The shorter a lead form is, the more likely a person will fill it out. Many marketers struggle with the length of lead forms because there are many data points that sales reps need to do a good job—like company size, job title, industry, location, and more.

Marketers often feel like they only have two options. Option A) Create a short lead form but get criticized for providing low-quality leads that sales can’t use. Option B) Create lengthy forms with the information sales needs, but generate a much smaller amount of leads.

By using third-party B2B data platforms, like DealSignal, you can get the best of both worlds. Build a short lead form so you get the most amount of form fills, and then use DealSignal’s Inbound Lead Enrichment to fill in all of those important, missing fields for you.

2. Personalize your lead nurture campaigns

We all know that personalized content performs better than broad, generalized content. When you’re able to truly tap into a prospect’s pain points, they’re more likely to convert.

Often, marketers struggle with a big gap in data. They have some pieces of the puzzle—like email address, name, and job title—but not enough to form a whole picture. By using Inbound Lead Enrichment to fill in all of those gaps for 100+ data fields, you’re best equipped to create personalized content that converts.

Lead gen tactics

  • Create enticing lead magnets, like a free webinar or ebook
  • Create whitepapers to showcase solution benefits
  • Develop interesting quizzes with email opt-in to obtain results
  • Add dynamic CTAs to blog posts
  • Provide gated offers
  • Publish useful, actionable tools and resources
  • Host a contest or giveaway
  • Create a gated free course or webinar

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation: Key Differences

Demand generation is all about generating awareness, creating buzz, sparking interest, and attracting as many people from your target audience as possible. The end goal and ultimate success metric of demand generation marketers is increasing the amount of marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

Lead generation, on the other hand, leverages the interest that demand generation has created and works to capture contact information. At this point, the potential customer has moved further down the funnel and needs to be shown what makes this brand different and the value that the brand’s solution or product could bring into their lives. Otherwise, why would they provide an email address and invite more potential clutter into their inboxes?

Both demand generation and lead generation are equally important aspects in marketing, as both have their role in turning a person into a full-fledged customer. However, it’s important to note that without a good demand generation strategy, lead generation would struggle.

Boost Demand Generation and Lead Generation Results In 2022

Demand generation and lead generation are both crucial areas of marketing that supports sales and drives company revenue. One of the most overlooked—yet most advantageous—tips for driving better demand gen and lead gen results is starting with a strong foundation: good data.

In order to reach prospects and leads, you need to have fresh, accurate contact details. Otherwise, you put a lot of effort into building great content, only for a fraction of your total addressable market to actually ever see it.

Additionally, without comprehensive contact data, you will struggle to create personalized messaging that does a better and faster job of converting contacts into leads, and leads into bona-fide customers.

DealSignal’s platform is designed to help demand generation and lead generation marketers identify buying groups, build decision-maker lists, uncover hidden in-market buyers, and deliver actionable leads to sales. To see how it works, schedule a free demo today.

Peter Garza

Peter Garza is the CMO of DealSignal. With over 15 years of demand generation and marketing leadership experience, Peter has proven expertise in building and leading modern, high-performing marketing organizations to deliver record levels of quality pipeline, top-line revenue, and profitability.

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