Lead Generation Is Not Demand Generation

Lead generation and demand generation are typically used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Content marketing is the art of weaving these 2 tactics together in order to grow your business.

Combining Lead Generation & Demand Generation

Lead generation and demand generation are both important and they can be made to work together. However, every individual interaction must focus on either lead generation or demand generation. You can not do them both at the same time, nor should you try too. Combining them effectively requires weaving both types of interactions together...over time, not trying to make one interaction accomplish both. For comparison, consider two alternative approaches.

inbound marketing


  • Lead generation programs focus on promoting the value of content and building up the marketing database with new registrants. Email, telemarketing and other one-to-one marketing activities create demand from among the smallest audience with carefully honed messages and relevant content (including the first piecs of content offered). 
  • For example - email nurture programs and marketing automation have made this their primary approach in the B2B space. There is a definitive call-to-action and an end result, a trackable result. 


  • Demand generation focuses on changing or shaping your audience’s perspective in order to create demand for your category or your specific products or services. Of course, your content accomplishes this. However, for content to create sufficient volume of demand for most businesses, it must be broadly distributed. To affect the largest possible share of your audience, barriers to discovering, consuming, and sharing your content must be removed. 
  • In other words - maximizing demand generation requires removing registration capture (and, therefore, lead generation) from the primary flow. Therefore, you can not use lead generation tactics when your trying to increase demand. 

It's Your Turn, Choose Your Next Move Wisely

Before you plan your next marketing campaign, consider how lead generation and demand generation are distinct activities that can be woven together in your overall content marketing plan. In many markets, the dominant approach has become lead generation first. Is there an opportunity in your market to go against the tide and focus on creating demand first, rather than just capturing leads? Where is the opportunity for you to optimize how your lead generation and demand generation efforts work in concert as part of your overall plans? Track your successes (and failures) and it only gets easier. 

To get started, check out some Content Marketing Examples >> 

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Jonathan Hinshaw

Post Date:
Thursday, February 20, 2014

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