Many B2B marketers use demand generation & lead generation interchangeably, or struggle to get a consensus on where one ends and the other begins. When sales syncs with marketing this can lead to further confusion. At many organization’s there can be significant back and forth about when a lead becomes an SQL, MQL or MAL. A lack of clarity around these terms can lead to role confusion and inability to measure success. We have put together some information to help you understand the difference between demand generation and lead generation and how you can use both to bring in new business.
Demand generation is a wide umbrella for the vast marketing activities that draw attention to your products and services. Demand generation doesn’t just exist at the top of the funnel. It speaks to your full environment and includes nurturing existing leads, re-engaging losses and creating new demand in existing markets. Demand generation is not a single campaign or project; it is a continuous reworking of your environment to engage with your target audiences and effectively drive them to a behavior. To effectively build your demand generation machine you need to start with a clear goal for your overall business. Once you have a business goal in mind use that to craft your martech stack. For tips on crafting a simplified martech stack for your demand generation ecosystem check out our recent blog.
Lead generation is a key part of the demand generation machine where you are able to put a name and contact information to a potential buyer. A key focus of lead generation is optimizing your content to collect information. In the B2B world white papers, webinars, campaign toolkits, templates and other forms of gated content can help you collect this valuable lead information. While you are focusing on demand, ungated content such as social media, blogs and case studies, can help to attract engagement, but the gated content is what will convert someone viewing your content into a lead. When these leads enter into your system that can be scored through nurture campaigns, that serve to further engage your audience and let sales know when the lead is ready for follow up.
Where do Inbound and Outbound Fit In?
The debate around whether or not to use inbound or outbound tactics can be divisive. These terms are also confused with lead generation and demand generation, so it’s important to understand where inbound and outbound tactics fit in. Outbound marketing refers to any kind of marketing where the company is instigating the conversation. Inbound marketing relies on tactics like SEO and content marketing to bring the visitors to you. Staunch proponents of inbound marketing will tell you outbound marketing is dead, and that it’s just a form of glorified cold calling. On the other hand, proponents of outbound marketing will dismiss inbound as extremely passive. If we are getting so many inbound leads, do we even need marketing?
However, the best marketing will likely have a mix of both. The broad umbrella of demand generation combines inbound tactics, while also nurturing leads from outbound tactics such as event lists, list purchases or paid advertising. Demand generation also includes tactics like retargeting and remarketing that re-engage leads or audiences, when they are not moving in the desired direction of their buyer’s journey. Many marketers see demand generation as just a top of funnel activity and believe it stops when a prospect becomes a lead, however demand generation should be a process practiced throughout the full customer lifecycle.
Getting Your Demand Generation Machine Running
The first step to building your demand generation machine is to conduct a thorough analysis of your prospect universe and your martech system. It is key you understand where you are converting visitors to leads by collecting lead information, how you are scoring the leads and if they are moving to sales in a cohesive and effective manner. Next you will need to do an analytical deep dive into how well your channels are working and understand the journey your prospects are taking to get to you. Once you understand the prospect journey, you can layer over your activation strategy.
An effective demand generation ecosystem doesn’t just rely on cold campaigns, or a great website, and instead harnesses every tool within the ecosystem to drive demand.