Every industry has their buzz words, and as much as the content marketer in me would like to think otherwise, the marketing industry is no exception.
Ranging from ‘customer-centric’ to ‘clickability’ to KPIs to ROI … the buzzwords go on and on.
Take demand generation and lead generation, for example. In the B2B digital marketing world, we see these terms used frequently in emails, blog posts and Twitter, hear them on webinars, and even use them in every day conversation around the office; but do we actually know what they mean?
Defining B2B Demand Generation and Lead Generation Strategy
Demand generation and lead generation are terms used to describe two fundamental strategies in B2B digital marketing.
- Demand generation is the process of creating and executing strategic marketing campaigns that increase the demand of your products or service offerings. The goal is to close business online with minimal sales interaction.
- Lead generation is the marketing process of developing strategic campaigns to help turn product interest into leads with contact details that you can pass on to your sales team to nurture through the buyer journey.
The definitions of the concepts themselves are pretty straight forward. From a marketing strategy perspective, however, many marketers often find it difficult to understand how the two strategies differ in terms of execution and approach.
Understanding the Differences Between a B2B Demand Generation and Lead Generation Strategy
At a glance, B2B demand generation and lead generation strategy look very similar. They’re both digital marketing approaches that heavily focus on driving conversions through content. Understanding the key differences between the two approaches, however, will help you become a better marketer and achieve greater success in your lead and demand generation efforts.
Below I answer four common questions that many marketers have about the differences between a B2B demand generation and lead generation strategy.
Should I gate my content?
- No, not in a demand generation strategy. Since the main goal of a demand generation approach is to create awareness, and drive sales online as quickly as possible, it’s in your best interest to give your content away for free.
- Yes. Since the main objective of a lead generation strategy is to capture information about a potential customer that you can pass on to sales, you should gate your content and place a stronger emphasis on form collection in your approach.
Should I focus on lead scoring?
- While lead scoring is a valuable metric to track where a customer is at in their buyer journey, since you’re not passing leads on directly to sales, it’s not as important in a demand generation approach.
- Yes. Lead scoring is incredibly valuable in a lead generation approach. Because it helps you better identify where a customer is at in the buyer journey, you can ensure you’re passing truly qualified leads on to sales.
Who should I be targeting in my campaigns?
- The strongest demand generation marketers know that it’s in their best interest to target prospects who have never heard of their company before and have the highest potential to turn into a lead. Therefore, they make it a point to exclude current customers and leads in their B2B demand generation efforts.
- In a lead generation strategy, your target audience may vary by campaign. However, you can always use your lead scoring model to identify who is close to becoming a qualified lead and serve them with relevant content to help push them further through the funnel.
What success metrics should I focus on?
- Demand can best be measured by campaign reach and conversions.
- The success of a lead generation strategy can best be measured by the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs) that the campaign produced.