It is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher the differences between the large variety of marketing options, strategies and processes being used in today’s dynamic marketplace. Yet, it is essential for marketers to understand the differences between two highly used marketing tactics; demand generation and lead generation.

As businesses continue to place an increasingly larger amount of responsibility and accountability on marketing professionals and their actions, it is important for marketers to have a full understanding of the differences between these two marketing activities and exactly how they are related and impact one another

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation can be most easily defined as the practice of creating demand through the use of marketing techniques. The outcome of demand generation is an increased likelihood that your target audience will be interested in your company, and purchase your products or services.

Demand generation typically involves more effort in comparison to lead generation. Demand generation includes all of the marketing activities that generate awareness and interest in the company, its products or services, and the industry overall. Demand generation is derived from a detailed mixture of inbound and outbound marketing activities with the overall goal of cultivating this new brand awareness, positioning the company and brand in a profitable position within the marketplace.

Demand generation allows for a team of dedicated professionals to collaborate and work hard to create this demand. These individuals are often titled as Demand Generation Manager or V.P. of Demand Generation, and they make it their priority to ensure all prospective leads captured in the process are qualified, prioritized and nurtured. They also monitor and analyze the overall results, optimizing the marketing strategy on a continuous basis. 

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is one of the best ways to evaluate demand generation efforts. As a subset of demand generation, lead generation focuses on driving awareness and an increased amount of database leads through content and inbound marketing.

Through this process, lead information is collected using online lead-capture forms, most often in return for content or another downloadable asset that the end-user desires. It is important to remember that the content or asset the user is downloading should be something that is targeted to your buyer persona.

The overall goal of lead generation is to obtain the leads that build a significant marketing database of new potential customers for sales or marketing purposes. Once a lead is captured and in the database, the sales team can then focus on following up with each lead and attempt to convert them into a paying, loyal customer.

Some examples of ways to capture leads using lead generation include:

  • Requiring a user to fill out a form to access content, such as a webinar, whitepaper or blog targeted toward a buying audience
  • Requiring a user to fill out a form on a landing page
  • Providing the ability to fill out a form outright for the purpose of being contacted
  • Providing a form during a tradeshow or industry event
  • Providing the user the option to fill out a form to receive additional content and communication such as emails and newsletters

Both demand generation and lead generation are critical components of the sales and marketing process and a company’s overall return on investment. By developing and offering top quality content to potential customers at all stages, and successfully segmenting these leads, demand generation and lead generation can play an integral role in creating and maintaining loyal customers and a positive business outlook.

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