Demand Generation and Lead Generation: Optimizing Inbound Marketing Success

Jess Gamble square
By Jess Gamble
Jun 22 2023 read

Inbound marketing revolves around creating customer-centric content that informs, educates and engages your target audience. Within this approach, demand generation and lead generation are two essential strategies employed by many businesses. And as buyer behavior continues to evolve, more professional services businesses have started incorporating demand-generation efforts into their marketing strategy.

In this blog post, we will compare demand generation and lead generation, helping you determine which strategy best suits your business needs and how both strategies can help you attract your ideal clients.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation involves capturing your audience's interest in your business offerings by providing valuable content and converting them into known contacts.

The process typically includes content gating, compelling CTAs and lead generation forms to collect contact information. 

The primary objective of lead generation is to identify potential customers at the early stages of their buying journey, allowing you to deliver personalized content and nurture them toward making a purchase decision.

Over time, this strategy builds a substantial database of contacts, with a small percentage progressing to become opportunities and customers.

What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation focuses on building interest and demand for your products or services, resulting in high-quality, high-intent leads.

Rather than solely aiming to convert leads through top-of-the-funnel content, demand generation emphasizes creating brand awareness, informing the audience and establishing trust.

By strategically placing content where your potential customers are most likely to consume it, you aim to educate and engage them. This approach centers on building a relationship of trust, so when they are ready to make a purchase, they instinctively turn to your company.

Some of the tactics used in demand generation include:

  • Blog articles
  • Educational social media content
  • Podcasts

Comparing Demand Generation and Lead Generation: The Key Differences

While demand generation and lead generation share similarities, they differ in terms of their primary objectives and the timing of lead conversion.

In lead generation, the focus is on early conversion to gather contact information and tailor marketing outreach accordingly. On the other hand, demand generation is more concerned with educating the audience, creating demand and positioning your brand as the go-to solution.

By prioritizing education and trust-building, demand generation aims to convert leads once they are ready to buy, resulting in a smaller but more qualified lead database.

These strategies align with the evolving buyer behavior, as consumers now prefer educational content and value trust when making purchasing decisions.

Choosing the Right Strategy for Your Business

To determine the best strategy for your business, it's crucial to understand how your buyers navigate the buying process. In the past, companies relied on lead generation by offering quality content in exchange for personal details — creating a database of potential customers to target with sales pitches.

However, the increase in available content and a growing aversion to being sold to have led to a shift toward demand generation. By providing educational content like podcasts and videos without requiring personal information, demand generation establishes trust and fosters relationships.

As a buyer myself, I appreciate being able to access informative content without feeling pressured. Consequently, when I consider a purchase, I'm more likely to choose a brand I've come to know and trust through educational content.

Optimizing Inbound Marketing Success: Using Both Demand Generation and Lead Generation

In conclusion, demand generation and lead generation are two valuable strategies in inbound marketing.

While lead generation focuses on early lead conversion to gather contact information, demand generation prioritizes education, trust-building and converting leads when they are ready to buy. 

By combining both strategies within your inbound marketing methodology, you can effectively attract and nurture qualified leads, enabling your sales team to work with prospects who have a higher readiness to make a purchase.

Consider seeking the assistance of a digital marketing consultancy to refine your demand generation strategy and ensure you achieve the desired results.


About the Author

Jess Gamble square

Jess Gamble is the VP of Consulting Services at Huble. With 10 years of work experience, including a background in B2B events, Jess has been leveraging her expertise with HubSpot since 2015. Having overseen the client service team for the past five years during significant growth, Jess now focuses on her passion for consulting.

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