89% of marketers say that demand generation is either an important or primary focus for them – Marketo
The definition of the phrase B2B demand generation is widely discussed throughout marketing conferences and internet forums, but the results can vary. Many people have written posts and content to try to explain their understanding of the phrase… and now we’re no different.
Through our experience of thousands of B2B marketing campaigns, we have created what we believe to be is the most logical approach to the difference between lead generation and demand generation. If you don’t agree or there’s something you want to add, simply drop us a comment below.
Lead generation is the process of making your marketing messages/content available to prospects via multiple channels; qualifying them as potential customers and nurturing them through to the point of sale. Basically, lead generation is the process of taking a person on a journey from being a stranger to a customer. Under the umbrella term ‘lead generation’, there are two distinct stages which can be easily identified using the sales funnel as a guide.
Before a prospect becomes interested enough in your product/service to download a piece of content or make contact with your company; they are simply prospects. These prospects are still outside the sales funnel and this is the stage we call demand generation. Using channels such as infographics, PPC, social media, video and emails; the demand generation stage of the lead generation process is about alerting prospects to the existence of your company and your product/service. During this stage, the goal is to create enough intrigue, desire and demand in a prospect for them to want to know more – i.e. download a piece of content or make contact with your company.
This isn’t the end of the lead generation process though…
Once a prospect has become interested enough in your product/service to download a piece of content, they become a lead. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to buy. And this is where lead nurturing comes into play. Through the use of well-targeted content, telephone calls, education pieces and other communication channels, a lead can be nurtured up to the point where they are ready to convert to a customer. Basically, the process of lead nurturing starts when prospects enter the sales funnel, and ends when they convert to a customer.
So hopefully this will make it easier to understand the phrases demand generation and lead generation. Just remember that lead generation is the overall process and demand generation is all activity that happens outside the sales funnel (with lead nurturing happening inside the funnel).
To find out more about lead generation and planning successful marketing campaigns…