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Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation: Digital Marketing for Manufacturers

By Eden Estabrook

In the B2B digital marketing world, we see the terms “demand generation” and “lead generation” used frequently in emails, blog posts, webinars, and use them when discussing marketing strategies. But what are they? More importantly, do you know how these two strategies create a comprehensive digital marketing program within your manufacturing realm?

Defining B2B Demand Generation and Lead Generation Strategies

Demand generation and lead generation are terms used to describe two fundamental strategies in digital marketing.

  • Demand generation is the process of creating and executing strategic marketing campaigns that increase the demand for 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 straightforward. From a digital marketing strategy perspective, however, many marketers in manufacturing 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 similar. They’re both digital marketing approaches that a manufacturer can use to heavily focus on driving conversions through content. Understanding the key differences between the two approaches, however, will help you become a better digital marketer and achieve greater success in your lead and demand generation marketing efforts.

Four Frequently Asked Questions about the Differences between Demand and Lead Generation.

Should I gate my content?

Demand Generation:

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”.

Lead Generation:

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 this approach.

    Should I focus on lead scoring?

    Demand Generation:

    While lead scoring is a valuable metric to track where a customer is in their buyer journey, since you’re not passing leads on directly to sales, it’s not as important in a demand generation approach.

    Lead Generation:

    Yes. Lead scoring is incredibly valuable in a lead generation approach. Because it helps you better identify where a customer is in the buyer journey, you can ensure you’re passing truly qualified leads on to sales.

      Who should I be targeting in my campaigns?

      Demand Generation:

      The strongest demand generation marketers know that it’s in their best interest to target prospects who have never heard of or need to be reminded of their company, products, or services and have the highest potential to turn into a lead.

      Lead Generation:

      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 Generation:

        Demand can best be measured by analytics such as campaign reach and conversion rates.

        Lead Generation:

        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.

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