Demand Generation and Lead Generation: Aren’t they the same?

It’s easy to get Demand Generation and Lead Generation confused.   Even seasoned professionals can make the mistake of using the two terms interchangeably. Ultimately, it’s how the end-user interacts with the marketing strategy that helps define the difference between the two approaches.

Demand Generation is an umbrella term of all marketing activities that create demand for products and services. Demand generation includes integrated inbound and outbound approaches that generate awareness and build buzz around your brand and products. Demand generation campaigns can include SEO, social media, email marketing, videos, events and content marketing.  Demand generation can target anyone; from those just learning about your company to those ready to purchase. The goal of demand generation is to nurture those prospects into leads and, ultimately, customers.

Lead Generation is the collection of contact information, typically in exchange for content, to build a database of qualified leads for sales and marketing. Lead generation is considered an activity within demand generation. Content for lead generation is often detailed including e-papers, webinars or white papers. As the end-user must provide contact information to access the content, there must be a perceived value provided by the subject matter. Lead generation is generally most effective with prospects that are ready to engage with your business. When a lead is first received it is considered a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). However, it may not be ready to send on to your sales team. To classify the lead as a Sales Qualitied Lead (SQL), you should develop a formula to rank each opportunity – also known as Lead Scoring. Lead scoring models use behavioral indicators (i.e., pages visited, emails opened, and engagement frequency), BANT (budget, authority, need, timeline) and demographics or customer persona criteria and assign a point level to each to measure their potential engagement. Those activities or criteria that best your sales’ definition of a qualified lead score highest.  Leads that meet SQL lead scoring criteria are forwarded to sales. Those leads that don’t yet meet SQL criteria should continue to be nurtured through marketing campaigns.

So, should you focus on only one strategy – Demand Generation or Lead Generation? No, both strategies are important to engage with customers and drive their decision-making process. By effectively marketing to all potential customers at all stages, and successfully scoring and segmenting these leads, demand generation creates positive brand awareness and lead generation allows prospects to let you know when they are ready to engage with sales. Marketing automation platforms and CRM systems can help automate your marketing activities and manage your leads as you move them through the sales funnel.



CSG Services can help you increase your marketing plan’s overall effectiveness with integrated marketing strategies all in one place. In addition to Content Marketing, CSG 360 can provide List Support, Tele, Channel, Sales, Lead Routing, Data Integration, Surveys, Bi-Portal, Landing Page, Gift Fulfillment, ROI, Social, Creative and Chat.