Demand Generation vs Lead Generation

May 23, 2018

Socially speaking, “Build the field and they will come.”

Although strategic marketing is a necessity for any business to succeed, it can also be very expensive and timely—taking time to mature before reaping the rewards. In its first year, a company might spend as much as half of its sales revenue on marketing programs. After the first year, a marketing budget could easily reach as much as 30 percent—sometimes more—of the annual sales. This is why personal injury attorneys spend so much on advertising; the market is competitive, but when a customer needs a personal injury attorney, the settlement usually is well worth the time and money spent on the brand awareness. The sale (closing a new client) may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the attorney. The idea is that when the time comes that the customer needs your product or service, it’s your company’s name that comes to the top of the list.
In order to accomplish this, it is important to direct marketing efforts towards building brand awareness. It’s also important to reach out and gather potential client information, or leads, in order to ultimately generate revenue. A marketing program should be designed to create demand generation for your brand, meaning it should include a healthy mix of different forms of marketing, such as: website development, public relations, print and broadcast advertising, design and printing for all print materials, trade shows and other special events. Additionally, the techniques of demand generation and lead generation weigh greatly in this marketing and sales mix. Truly, marketing isn’t just one thing. It’s everything.
The difference between demand generation and lead generation can seem confusing, but it’s really as simple as the words themselves. Demand generation is a marketing operation that serves to create a DEMAND for, or interest in your product. Lead generation, on the other hand, is used to collect specific information about potential clients, turning them into sales LEADS. The desired result is the information you gather.
Which one is more important to your business? Building your brand for long-term success or creating sales leads for short-term revenue? Two different functions, but the desired result of demand generation and lead generation are the same: to make people want to buy from you.
It only follows this notion that different types of content would serve different purposes and different audiences, meaning every business should be choosing content specific to their business goals. It is this principle that makes the distinction between demand generation and lead generation, two continually strategic marketing concepts, so important.
Lead generation depends on gated content.
Lead generation is largely dependent on gated content. Gated content consists of materials, mostly digital, that require individuals to fill out a form prior to accessing them.
Those with only a casual interest in your content won’t even bother. However, a small portion of the people you reach will be willing to exchange their information for the content, even while knowing that this action will make them the target of your sales efforts. As a result, this gate helps weed out unlikely buyers while providing your business with more qualified leads.
To be successful at lead generation marketing, consider using digital advertising. This allows you to target very specific groups of people who are the most likely to be interested in your product or service.
Demand generation – what’s the best type of content?
Demand generation focuses more on brand positioning and awareness. To raise awareness, you want to remove all barriers between people and your content—quite simply, the complete opposite of using gated content. According to content marketing expert David Meerman Scott, ungated content is downloaded 20 to 50 times more often than gated content. With this approach, the wider the net the better.
Content that compliments demand generation will have wider appeal. Videos, creative, and content-rich blog posts are some of the many forms of content that contribute toward demand generation. These types of content are often referred to as inbound marketing activities.
Additionally, because the goal of demand generation isn’t immediate but rather a long-term shift in perception, search engine optimization can also serve a big role in this process. Blog posts and websites that end up highly ranked in search will immediately place your business top of mind for anyone actively seeking out that subject matter, whether it be this week or three months from now.
In conclusion, it is usually smarter for small businesses to begin with demand generation. This process has broader applicability, especially in businesses with small or no sales teams. Larger enterprises will likely garner more value out of lead generation, however, they too had to start somewhere. Not to mention, most large enterprises, even after they have established brand recognition, continue to direct marketing and advertising efforts towards demand generation.

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