The modern business landscape is seeing more competition than ever before. The increased pressure to improve the quality and quality of leads is making the organizations explore and deploy different strategies. B2B marketers are looking at new age demand generation and lead generation strategies to stay ahead of their game. While the terms demand generation and lead generation are used interchangeably, they are totally different concepts and confusing the two can lead to disappointing results. Therefore, it is important to understand the two terms and choose the right one at the right time. This article briefly explains the two terms and provides insight into the effectiveness of the both.

Demand Generation 

Demand generation can be defined as a set of activities that are aimed at gaining the attention of the audience and making them interested in your product or services. Therefore, at this stage, the content used to promote your business is more about brand positioning and brand awareness. A demand generation company targets particular audience and covers the wider net of people that match the specs. The strategies in demand generation have a wider appeal. This is why it has more impact than lead generation. Multiple media including blogs, videos, and websites are used for more desirable results.

Lead Generation

Lead generation, on the other hand, is more about gaining an audience. In a way, this is the first step to demand generation. When a prospect needs to know about your product or service, lead generation strategies are deployed to engage the audience. The content used here is gated. When a potential lead exhibits interest, they are driven to a certain landing page or a registration page, which they fill out and give you access to their basic information. However, when people give their information, they expect something in return. This is the reason free ebooks, offers, white papers, etc. are used for lead generation purpose.

Which to choose?

Choosing between lead and demand generation is a tricky step. Both have different approaches but they are not mutually exclusive and share a lot of similar techniques. It is, therefore, suggested that instead of choosing the one, businesses should make a way to use a combination of both. Using lead generation and demand generation in sequence is one way. Generate high demand and then use the increased interest in your audience to generate a sales funnel. It can also work in a manner where the leads gathered by you are targeted with certain content to increase the demand. This makes people remain interested in your products or services for a longer period of time.

Having said that, depending on the size of your business, you are likely to get different benefits from both the strategies. For businesses that have just started, demand generation plays a more important role while for the established and large scale businesses, lead generation has more value.

Why demand generation is more effective for startups?

The complete customer cycle has three main steps:

  1. Creating the demand for product or service.
  2. Capturing the leads based on the generated interest.
  3. Further maintaining the created demand to retain the customers.

What makes demand generation more impactful and favorite of the startups and small businesses is the fact that demand generation means sharing the content with required people. You can deploy a nested lead generation strategy in demand generation.

Demand generation is about the buyers who are actively looking for any solution to their problem or a product to buy. In order to make this work, you need to get closer to the needs of people and focus on the buyer. However, it is suggested that businesses should try to make lead and demand generation work together to get the maximum benefit.