Demand Generation Vs Lead Generation: Tell Them Apart

Have you ever had to explain the difference between lead generation and demand generation? Were you left with a stutter and lost for words? Here’s a post that will clearly lay out definitions, goals, responsibilities and plenty of examples so you are never blurry-eyed about the difference between demand generation and lead generation again.

It is imperative to make the distinction between the two as marketing becomes increasingly more accountable to the C suite. Marketers today are under the spotlight. They are asked to demonstrate ROI for each marketing dollar spent. Lead generation is one of the best ways to evaluate demand generation efforts. Learn to tell them apart.

Distinct Features of Demand Generation

Definition: Demand generation covers all marketing activities that create awareness about your product, company and industry. It includes a mix of inbound and outbound marketing.

Goal: Brand awareness, positioning. Create interest and change perspectives.

  • It is a marketing-centric activity.
  • Demand generation not only focusses on your offering but also on your industry.
  • There are dedicated personnel for demand generation with titles such as demand generation manager and VP demand generation.
  • Examples:
    • A whitepaper, blogs.
    • A PPC campaign.
    • A product video hosted on YouTube.
    • A booth at an industry event.

Distinct Features of Lead Generation

Definition: Lead Generation is the process of collecting leads through form fills or website tracking software to add to your database of leads.

Goal: Collecting leads to follow up with.

  • It is a sales-centric activity.
  • Lead generation is a subset of demand generation.
  • There are no specialized personnel just for lead generation; the demand generation manager usually takes care of lead generation as well.
  • Examples:
    • A form ahead of your whitepaper/webinar.
    • A form on your PPC landing page.
    • Website visitor tracking of all your website visitors.
    • A form kept at your booth in an industry event.
    • A form to receive periodic communication such as newsletters.

The Toss Up Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation

B2B digital marketer, Eric Wittlake believes lead generation is crippling demand generation as lead generation forms act as a barricade to the free distribution and sharing of content. But can you do without forms altogether? Can every content asset be free and ungated?

Forms = contact information, better quality leads and conversion


No form = more traffic, social media sharing and inbound links

You can’t do lead generation without demand generation. The two go together. You just need to find the right mix.

If you have trouble mixing the right concoction in your organization, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or find me on Twitter @DemandArchitect to get some expert advice.

Related Posts:

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Demand Generation Vs Lead Generation: Tell Them Apart”

  1. Rob Trube says:

    This is a great post defining the difference and relationship between Demand Generation and Lead Generation.

    There are so many different terms and phrases used in marketing that it gets very confusing. Add in that people can (and do) make up their own terminology and “Marketing Slang” that can really impede the process of getting their programs rolling.

    The discussion about forms is one that I recently had with a client. The real issue is that most organizations need to have a defined inbound plan. The decision to have a form and the the placement of forms will be dictated by the goal of that campaign element and specific piece of content. Is it a demand gen piece, or a lead gen piece?

    Great article!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe to RSS Feed