Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

Contrary to popular belief, demand generation and lead generation aren’t the same! In fact, they’re two very separate parts of an effective overall marketing strategy, and you’ll want to deploy each at different times. In this blog, you’ll learn the fundamentals of demand generation vs lead generation, plus the definition of each one with examples. So let’s get into it!

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is also often called “lead gen.” To better understand lead gen, look at your sales funnel. Lead generation is the process of converting potential paying customers into qualified leads or people who have a high interest in what you’re selling. Essentially, lead gen is the method by which you attract potential customers to guide them through your sales funnel.

Eventually, lead generation will result in converting your hot leads into qualified leads. That morphs into the lead nurturing process, which may boost your sales numbers.

You can also think of lead generation as a sort of gatekeeping process. In other words, only visitors who are truly interested in your products or services will become a hot lead. Lead generation content can include the following:

  • Webinars or online courses
  • eBooks
  • Checklists
  • Cheatsheets
  • Product demos
  • Viral contests
  • Free trials
  • Online events
  • Newsletter or email subscriptions

If a person has to provide an email address to receive your content, that is lead generation. Consider using lead gen in your digital content strategy by creating an eBook as a lead magnet. You can also offer a content upgrade such as a PDF file, checklist or cheat sheet, or host a webinar or online course for interested parties.

What Is Demand Generation?

Demand generation, also referred to as demand gen, boosts brand awareness by bringing in new visitors to your website. It boils down to content creation for the sole purpose of introducing your business to a new audience. If you want to spark interest in your company, expand your online presence or establish your company as a thought leader within your industry or niche, demand generation is the way to go.

When brainstorming for demand generation content, keep one thing in mind: This content should be entirely free. That means you will not require an email address or any other information for visitors to access this information that you are providing. Demand generation content can include the following:

  • YouTube videos
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Case studies
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews
  • Infographics
  • Resource pages
  • Press releases
  • Slideshares
  • Free tools

A few ways to use demand gen in your digital content strategy can be to:

  • Author guest posts on other influential websites
  • Create dynamic social media posts that drive traffic to your website
  • Film how-to videos for your YouTube channel
  • Provide in-depth interviews to establish your company as a thought leader in your niche
  • Offer tools your audience can use for free

Wrapping Up Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

To simplify things, the main difference between demand and lead generation is that demand gen is used to build a larger audience, while lead gen is used to convert hot leads into customers. While neither requires money to gain access to the content, lead generation content does require an email address and perhaps other basic information while demand generation content is entirely free. In the battle of demand generation vs. lead generation, both are winners – and both are necessary for developing a solid content marketing strategy.


Kim Jamerson

About the author

As Vice President of Marketing at SharpSpring, Kim Jamerson heads up lead generation efforts through a variety of channels and processes. She has an extensive background in marketing and communications, ranging from TV news to enterprise software and healthcare.

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