Strategic Decisions: Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Created On:
August 31, 2023
Updated On:
February 20, 2024
Demand generation vs Lead generation

Do you know about the research proving that 89% of B2B marketers have been using LinkedIn for lead generation? Though, among these, 62% of the marketers confirmed that this process generates excellent leads. However, LinkedIn is a tool that uses lead and demand generation interchangeably for the business. But they are not at all the same. 

Talking about Lead generation and Demand generation, both have strategies for attracting customers for the business, just with their own set goals. So to ensure that you use these two tactics at their best for your business, it is essential to understand the difference between these. So let us move ahead for demand generation vs lead generation and learn about the differences and the process of using both these.


What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is all about the marketing process of increasing brand awareness and increasing the demand for the products or services offered by any business. It helps expand the target audience, generate buzz about your brand, and drive traffic toward your brand.

However, demand generation can be done with the help of marketing your products or services, event marketing, content marketing, advertising, webinars, social media marketing, and much more. Demand generation is divided into five further phases:

  • Creation of demand
  • Capturing the demand
  • Reviving the demand
  • Accelerating the demand, and 
  • Nurturing the demand.

The demand generation process works in the sales funnel, starting from the top and moving through the sales funnel till the end goal of introducing more and more customers to the business.

What Does Demand Generation Involve?

The demand generation process involves the following:

  • Event marketing
  • Advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Lead scoring
  • Lead automation
  • Data accumulation
  • Traditional marketing
  • Data analysis

Common Demand Generation Strategies

Creating a need for the products or services you sell and setting you as the perfect option is the ideal strategy for demand generation. Therefore the five common strategies for demand generation are:

Content Marketing

This is the most commonly used technique because it helps boost the search engine rankings for the brand, and this answers several questions of the customers about the business and its products or services. Content marketing includes posting blog posts, videos, and social media posts about the brand that helps boost the business. 


Webinars are the best way to build your brand's visibility. When you have thorough knowledge about your products or services, sharing the same with your target audience through webinars and encouraging them to be there to be aware of the brand is recommended. 


To generate demand for your products or services, start giving them away for free to the people because we all know that customers adore freebies. Giving any product for free to the customers and letting them use it helps generate higher demand. 

Present a Problem

The best way to sell any solution to the customers is to first present a problem in front of them. Because it is true that if there is no problem, you cannot sell anything. 

Create Problem-Resolving Methods

So now, when you present a problem to your customers, you have to resolve the same. So when you showcase the solutions that can help their problems, they get attracted to the brand. 

Make SEO-Friendly Content

When you are willing to generate demand for the business, you want to attract and appeal to your customers. So you need to share the content in a way that looks in the SEO rankings with the optimum use of keywords.


What are the Metrics for Analyzing the Demand Generation Strategies?

Now that you know about the strategies for demand generation, you should also track the same. So below mentioned are some of the variables of the metrics that can be used to measure the performance of the demand generation efforts:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Pipeline growth
  • Website traffic
  • Social engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • Content performance

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation turns potential prospects (who show interest in your products or services) into returnable and bonafide customers. 

In other words, lead generation is known to be the fruit of the efforts done by the demand generation process. The primary focus of lead generation is to identify the prospect in the initial stages of the buyer's journey. Then further collect the prospect's information and pass it on to the business's sales team. 

Lead generation is one of the powerful performance strategies that help convert customers who are already aware of the brand well into regular leads. So when you have the lead, you can take them through the entire sales funnel and nurture the leads till the end.

What Does Lead Generation Involve?

The lead generation process also comes along with the demand generation process, just with some specific practices involved in it, such as:

  • Blogs
  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Emailing lists
  • Paid social media targeting
  • White papers
  • Live event marketing
  • Advertising

Common Lead Generation Strategies

The lead generation strategies are required to move the; prospects through the business's sales funnel. And for the below-mentioned typical lead generation strategies:

Use Mailing Lists

This is the best way to generate leads because sending emails to customers is the best way to reach out to them and present your brand. 

Consistency in Your Blogs

We all know that punctuality and consistency are the two main parts of the success of any business. So to attract your leads, you need to post your blogs consistently to keep engaging g them with your brand.

Targeted Landing Pages

Using a landing page, a perfect call-to-action button or a sign-up form is the best way to generate leads. This way, you get many more details about your customers, like their needs, likes, or dislikes. 


Including personal touch in your emails and social media content works like magic for lead generation. Because every audience wants to be felt special, adding a personal touch appeals to them a lot. 


What are the Metrics for Analyzing the Lead Generation Strategies?

Now that you know about the strategies for lead generation, you might also need to track the same. So below mentioned are some of the variables of the metrics that can be used to measure the performance of the lead generation efforts:

  • Total lead rate
  • Number of quality leads
  • Conversion rate
  • Sales closure rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Average lead response rate

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

The main difference between lead generation and demand generation is that demand generation helps in brand awareness, and lead generation helps those brand-aware prospects to be converted into potential customers for the business. These tactics work on different stages of the B2B sales funnel. 

  • Demand generation is at the top of the sales funnel

As it is all about awareness, it creates a buzz about your brand among the people and gets them talking about it. This part aims to get more leads into the sales funnel.

  • Lead generation is at the bottom of the sales funnel

When demand generation lets the leads enter the sales funnel, here comes the task of the lead generation to understand the needs and interests of the audience and then focus on moving them through the funnel and getting them converted. This process shows that lead generation is more focused on the end result, but again on the other side, we know that this wouldn’t have been possible without demand generation.

Apart from the primary differences stated above, below described is the summary outlining the same:

Objective and Goals

The goal of demand generation is to focus on driving awareness and interest of the target audience towards the products or services. 

The goal of lead generation is to nurture those relationships with potential customers. 

Approach and Outcome

Demand generation uses a holistic approach and influences the customers to join the sales funnel.

Lead generation is a direct approach focusing more on converting customers

The outcome of demand generation is to plant seeds in the customers' minds to get attracted to the brand.

The outcome of lead generation is to collect the appropriate information about those leads to get them converted, like:

  • Names
  • Email IDs
  • Company details
  • Contact numbers

Content Strategy

The demand generation content is to target and reach a wider audience and generate interest in them.

Lead generation content is where customers provide their contact details to easily access the products or services.

Measurement Metrics

Demand generation is measured based on the following:

  • Customer acquisition rate
  • Brand awareness rate
  • Engagement rate

Lead generation is measured based on:

  • Number of generated leads
  • Cost per lead
  • Conversion rate


Demand generation targets many prospects and nurtures them at all sales funnel stages.

Lead generation targets prospects who have already shown interest in the products or services of the brand. 

Difference Between Lead Generation and Demand Generation

Demand Generation Lead Generation
Top of the sales funnel activity Bottom of the sales funnel activity
Focuses on driving awareness and interest Nurture relationships with potential customers
Holistic approach for influence Direct approach for conversions
Targets a wider range of audience Focused on interested prospcts
Measured by customer acquisition rate, brand awareness rate, & engagement rate Measured by number of generated leads, cost per lead, & conversion rate

How Do Lead Generation and Demand Generation Work Together?

Businesses should not always think about lead generation vs. demand generation because there are several benefits when these two marketing strategies are combined, such as:

  1. Enhances the lead nurturing

Demand generation attracts these leads and forces them to enter the sales funnel. In contrast, lead generation collects the contact details of these details to make further personalized connections and communication with them.

  1. Improves the brand awareness

Demand generation increases brand awareness in the prospects' minds, and lead generation converts those prospects into tangible leads for the business.

  1. Higher conversions

Demand generation helps the customers to warm up along with further steps or lead generation, which makes them 100% sure about their interest in the business. This further boosts the conversion rate. 

  1. Better data analytics

The measurement metrics of demand generation help improve lead generation and vice versa. However, this cycle helps in the continuous improvement of this marketing strategy. 

The work procedure explained above happens in a total of five steps:

  1. The first step is the demand generation step, in which the business posts about their brand and the products they sell.
  2. Call-to-actions are added at the end of the post to get prospective leads out of there.
  3. In the following steps, the lead who clicks the call-to-action and shares their contact details is further nurtured via emails.
  4. After lead nurturing, they are more interested in the business and capture the details of the products they like.
  5. Lastly, the customer makes a purchase.

Lead Generation Vs Demand Generation: Final Thoughts

Lead generation and demand generation should be consistent to make a successful business. However, they both follow different tactics for marketing, but they work for the same end goal: the company's growth. After going through all the above-mentioned excellent components and strategies of both these tactics, we know that they both are beneficial for creating the most appealing sale pipeline of the most qualified leads for your business.

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Author’s Details

Tanmay Shukla

Tanmay is a SEO Content Writer at Smartlead. His zeal and enthusiasm in writing led him to the path of being a Content Writer. He has been advancing in this field by possessing more knowledge and skills. His constant endeavor has made him a whiz in SEO, Creative Writing, and driving sales through writing.


Edited by:

Charu Mitra Dubey


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