What’s the Difference: Demand Generation and Lead Generation

It can be confusing figuring out the true differences between demand generation and lead generation. They’re similar in many ways, but their goals and tactics are different. Because of this, it can be quite helpful to have an understanding of both in order to enhance your marketing strategy.

Demand Generation

Demand generation is intended to create brand awareness and demand for the product or service that your company provides. In other words, demand generation seeks to draw new visitors to your website or business and introduce them to who your company is. The end goal is to increase interest in your business, expand your target audience, build up trust in your brand. Typically, demand generation content includes:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Case Studies
  • Free Tools
  • Infographics
  • Press Releases
  • Podcasts or interviews
  • Resource pages
  • Social media posts
  • YouTube Videos


This content is all provided to attract more potential customers. This early in the game, they should not have to provide an email address or any other contact information in order to access the content.

Demand Generation Concepts:

The Creation of SEO-Oriented Content

A great way to drive brand awareness is by creating content that your target audience is probably already searching for. There’s a variety of ways to identify good keyword opportunities. First of all, you can investigate Google’s related searches located at the bottom of a keyword search. Here, you’ll see a list of related keywords that others have searched for.

Guest Posts

Guest posting the creation of a blog post that is posted on another, related, popular blog. This is a terrific way to be noticed by your target audience through the traffic that the more popular blog already has.

Bring in Industry Experts

Doing a roundup of quotes from industry experts can help expert to disseminate authoritative information on topical subjects relevant to your business. Content such as this is typically shared quite a bit on social media, and can drive significant traffic to your site. A way to find experts in your field is to Google your topic and finding a strong quote from something they’ve written or published.

Advertise on Pertinent Blogs

Investing in sponsored posts, running display ads, or buying a sponsored email spot from a top industry blog that your target audience will already be visiting is a great way to take capitalize on the traffic of a site with larger viewership than you have.

Lead Generation

Lead generation converts potential customers into actual qualified leads, or people who have a legitimate interest in what you’re offering. It’s a way to effectively draw-in eventual customers for your products or services; allowing for a nurturing process or for a salesperson to follow up. Typically, lead gen involves the creation of “gated” content that requires contact information in exchange for that piece of content. These kinds of content include gated content (eBooks, PDF’s, cheat sheets, whitepaper etc.), free trials, upgrades, demos, events, email subscriptions, viral contests, webinars and more.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Lead generation is an offshoot of demand generation. Demand generation creates brand awareness and draws in new people to your business, while lead generation exists to identify those people as “leads” and ready them for the next step in the marketing/sales process.

A simple way to see the differences is to look at the unique content each method employs. Demand generation utilizes free content (blog posts, videos, articles, etc.) to create brand awareness and to entice your target audience. On the other hand, lead generation content is “gated”, which means contact info must be provided in order to receive that piece of content (a PDF, webinar, checklist, etc.).

Simply put, you don’t have to choose one or the other. They can both be effectively employed within your marketing strategy simultaneously. Effective marketing strategies will include both.


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