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Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

February 8, 2022 Edwin Kooistra

Sometimes even experts from the industry find themselves at crossroads when talking about demand generation and lead generation. While some say that they are a subset of each other, others state them to be related but not consequential of each other.

While demand imagination involves activities that make your customer or client aware of your presence in the market, on the other hand, lead generation talks about when you can use that same awareness to create the customer’s interest.

Let us look at what are demand generation and lead generation, and how are they important for those operating in the B2B industry.

What Is Demand Generation?

When we talk about demand generation we include all the activities and steps that you as a business owner operating in the B2B sector, take to take your product and brand to your customers into the market and not only increase brand awareness but also create a market presence which makes you re-callable so much so that these activities result in laying down the foundation for starting the sales journey for a customer and creating trust with the market segment.

Through demand generation activities and strategies, marketers also help their customers in the target market segment in realizing a need that they have and how a certain brand or product offering certain demand generation services will be able to solve their issue with its value proposition.

What Is Lead Generation?

When talking about lead generation we refer to all these steps and activities that come as a natural process after your demand generation activities.

Your lead generation builds upon the brand awareness and needs realization that you have achieved in your customer or market segment, and it further brings it down the sales funnel towards an understanding of your product’s value proposition and directing it towards a possible purchase or sale.

The activities that are involved in lead generation are more interactive and immersive as compared to the earlier steps because here you want to arouse your customer’s interest in the product so much so that two-way communication is developed between you and the customer to maintain and nurture a strong customer relationship.

Demand Generation vs Lead Generation Comparison

We believe both demand generation and lead generation are part of the same funnel that we call inbound marketing in the jargon of seasoned marketers and industry norms.

While demand generation forms the top of the inbound marketing funnel, lead generation becomes the lower end of the same funnel. We will now look at both demand generation and lead generation side by side, to further understand their differences as well as their key objectives.

Top of The Inbound Marketing Funnel – Demand Generation

  1. It increases brand awareness by using tactics and marketing strategies that put your brand or product out there for your market segment to recognize.
  2. It provides information and educates your target customer regarding your services and product which subconsciously helps them in identifying a need that they want to be catered to.
  3. With your marketing strategy and activities used during the demand generation process, you develop trust in your customer’s minds regarding your product or service.
  4. Lastly, all these demand generation activities have the end goal of ensuring that interest in your product or service and its value proposition is stimulated in the customer’s mind.

Bottom of The Inbound Marketing Funnel – Lead Generation

  1. The first and foremost target of the activities involved in your lead generation process is gathering your customer’s data which of course primarily focuses on their contact information.
  2. In lead generation, you perform analysis and qualification activities that help you identify those interested customers that will be finally driven towards a purchase or a sale therefore you start to nurture a relationship with them.
  3. Here you demonstrate how your value proposition is different from what is being offered in the market and how your service or product is most appropriately suited to remedy the customer’s pain points.
  4. Lastly, your focus is to convert these qualified leads into a customer, and this is where you drive them closer to a purchase decision.

Demand Generation Examples

demand generation examples
 Source: singlegrain

There are a lot of activities that you can take as a sample for demand generation activities but do remember that all of these have the same goal that is to increase your brand awareness and make a customer realize that how a need that they probably are still not aware of exists and your product provides the value proposition to cater to it.

Developing Your Customer Profile

The first and foremost step that whenever you are to generate demand,  you must perform as a marketer is that of the development of your customer profile or personas. You need to know what your target customer is, what are his or her likes and dislikes, aspirations, fears, and what they want to achieve in their life.

Once you have all of this rounded off based on research, then only can you plot them on the customer buyer journey for you to understand how they will respond to your actions and potentially be a customer.

A perfect example of how a play on customer profile helps in generating demand is the actions taken by policybazaar.com in their latest advertisement where they play on the concerns and aspirations of young couples who are just starting in their lives with an infant and are worried about the future of their child as well as their financial stability.

Creating Brand Awareness

The creation of brand awareness is all about relating positive recollections with your brand when a customer is reminded of it by a real-life situation or example. Of course, this can be achieved by thoughtful advertisement and catering to the emotional end of your buyer’s persona without inculcating heavy lead generation content into these activities.

Some of the best examples of creating brand awareness and ensuring that it leaves a mark on the customer’s mind are the activities conducted by Surf detergent especially in the subcontinent and Asian countries. Due to their tactical yet thoughtful demand generation activities when it came to brand awareness, most of the subcontinental households refer to other brands of washing detergents or powders as Surf, using one brand name and relating it to a generic product.

It Starts with The Leadership

It’s the human psyche to relate to the power of a trickledown effect which is very much effective when it comes to demand generation. If your leadership inculcates your buyer’s persona and your value proposition at the same time, then your market segment subconsciously develops a link with your product and service and your end objective is complete.

One of the best examples when it comes to demand generation via leadership is that of the late Steve Jobs. Not only did Steve Jobs simplify the persona of a CEO instead of having a luxurious charismatic appearance, but he also reflected on his payouts and perks and made it public information so that the customer segment could relate to him as one of their own.

Lead Generation Examples

lead generation examples
Source: firstpagesage

Lead generation is one of the most important tasks that become a part of your marketing and sales teams’ overlapping areas of expertise. Let us now look at some examples of lead generation and how they can be taken as a template for your B2B business as well.

The Power of Social Media

When it comes to lead generation, you can never over-rate the importance of human interaction and being available for prospective customers when they have a query or are concerned with your product or service.

Using social media, you can reach out to prospective clients within your market segment and generate leads with tangible results. LinkedIn has come out as one of the most effective online platforms for reaching out to key decision-makers in the B2B environment for you to put your product or service out there.

A survey by HubSpot has concluded that LinkedIn is over 277% more effective in lead generation for B2B businesses versus other social media platforms. Apart from LinkedIn, a more informal interaction trend has also started on Facebook especially in specified groups where discussions are conducted relevant to your offering.

Publishing White Papers

White papers are a double-edged sword, where no doubt you’re representing a solution to your customers need but of course, you do not want to push them and somehow make them feel that a white paper is more of a forceful advertisement of a certain service or product instead of a possible solution to their problem.

This SaaS industry catering to the B2B sector has proven the use of white papers as a very effective lead tool were using different case studies they can put forth their value proposition in front of a customer.             

Content Is King

One must face it that in today’s digital world a content-driven marketing strategy is the ultimate tool for lead generation. Webinars, video messages, and interactive interaction using online platforms have become one of the greatest tools for generating leads.

One of the best examples can be of the webinars and short video messages that Google CEO Sundar Pichai conducts on different topics such as cryptocurrency and Web 3.0. These webinars do not necessarily directly or indirectly advertise the products and services offered by Google, but in between the lines, Google’s value proposition is put out there to generate leads.

Where Should B2B Businesses Focus On

Lead Generation or Demand Generation?

This brings us to our ultimate question, as a B2B business what you should focus on lead generation or demand generation. We at Chasm, keeping in view years of demonstrated and result-oriented experience that our experts possess combined, believe that it all depends on the dynamics and strategic direction of your business.

In an ideal scenario, of course, both should go hand in hand within amazing alignment between your marketing and sales team, but unfortunately due to different concerns and constraints, equal importance at times is not easily delivered.

For example, imagine at one working in the B2B sector the product or service here that you are offering is of course high priced and requires significant financial input, this automatically translates as a higher focus on a lead generation because automatically your client segment it’s shrunk due to the pricing of your product or services.

However, if your product is on the lower price spectrum then of course you would want to put slightly more effort into demand generation while being in the B2B industry. This focus on demand generation would of course help create brand awareness and spark the interest of companies and decision-makers within organizations in your product.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do You Need Demand Generation?

A B2B business needs demand generation to increase brand awareness and spark a potential customer interest in their product or service.

What Are the Types of Lead Generation?

There are several different types of lead generation methods some of which are networking, cold calling, blogging, and events.

What Is Lead Generation in FB Ads?

One can use Facebook ads as a form of lead generation due to the availability of instant fill-in forms that help in collecting a customer’s contact information.

What Is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Conversion?

Lead generation means when a customer shows interest in your product and develops a possible relationship by sharing his or her contact information while conversion relates to the process when an individual that was previously a lead, finally makes a purchase and becomes a customer.


Demand generation and lead generation are critical sections of inbound marketing and eventually an integral part of the customer’s sales journey. Depending on the industry as well as the kind of product and service you are offering including your organization’s strategy and future direction.

You as a B2B business owner would have to eventually decide which of these two is slightly more important to you because in an ideal world no doubt both of these should go hand in hand, but due to the diversity in the sector any of this it could be of higher importance to a business owner.

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Edwin Kooistra - Product Marketer & Founder

Technology can be a huge differentiator but leveraging emerging technologies can be challenging. After my degree in Business Information Technology I decided to work on the provider side of Technology, because I believe Technology providers play an important role in guiding enterprises on their digital journey. Besides helping tech businesses to optimize their growth and go-to-market strategies, I also like to write about the topic. I hope you find it useful!

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