Lead Generation Vs. Demand Generation

Lead Generation Vs. Demand Generation - Consultus Digital

The main difference between lead generation and demand generation is that lead generation focuses on nurturing leads to convert into sales, while demand generation focuses on building brand awareness to create more leads down the road. 

It can be tempting to pit lead generation strategies against demand generation for wanting to prioritize closing sales in the short term. However, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy focuses equally on both lead generation and demand generation. After all, who are you going to sell to if you never create interest in the first place?

To get the most out of your marketing budget, you need to focus campaigns across the sales funnel and target audiences accordingly. That starts with understanding the various strategies. So let’s explore lead generation vs demand generation in more detail so you can learn how to make lead generation and demand generation work in harmony.

What is Demand Generation?

Demand generation is an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on gaining the attention of potential customers. Demand generation takes place early in the sales funnel, targeting a wide audience. The intention is to make potential customers aware that your product or service exists as a trusted solution to a defined problem and to position your brand as an authority on that problem.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation aims a little further down the sales funnel, focusing on identifying prospects that have expressed interest in your brand, and nurturing already established leads. Lead generation takes place once your audience has had some exposure to your brand and aims to guide them toward becoming customers.

Key Differences Between Lead Generation Vs. Demand Generation

Lead generation and demand generation rely on one another to be successful. Without building interest, you will struggle to bring in enough leads. Without following up on audiences expressing interest, you will struggle to convert that engagement into actual sales.

Both are important but each has unique goals, methods, and metrics that you need to understand so that you can implement these strategies effectively. 


Demand generation is about growth. Growing brand awareness, growing trust, growing your audience. It aims to define the problem that your product or service addresses and to put your solution in front of a large audience of potentially interested eyes. 

Lead generation is about conversions. Its goal is to identify those who have expressed interest during your demand generation efforts, transform that demand into leads, and nurture those leads so they become customers.

Tools and Channels

Demand generation content focuses on relationship-building. So, it tends to rely on content that introduces your brand, educates audiences, and creates interest. You’ve probably seen some products go viral on social media. These brands have created a product that fills a niche and generated a buzz around it with creative content creation. Demand generation strategies should focus on establishing your brand as an authority, creating high-quality content, and connecting with customers.

Demand-generation campaigns tend to use channels that have a wide reach, for example:

  • Social media marketing
  • Display ads
  • Blogs
  • Influencer marketing
  • Webinars
  • Giveaways

Lead generation tends to use conversion-focused content aimed at targeting an audience that has expressed interest and enticing them to take action–fill out a form, subscribe to an email, make a purchase, etc. 

Lead generation tactics focus largely on identifying and targeting qualified leads using channels like:

  • Search ads
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Referral programs
  • Landing pages
  • Account-based marketing

Key Performance Metrics 

Tracking the performance of your ad campaigns is crucial to understanding what works and what doesn’t. However, the metrics that matter depend on the goals of each campaign. 

For demand generation, the focus is on metrics that track brand visibility and engagement, as well as metrics that identify marketing-qualified leads. Indicators like impressions, website traffic, social media reach, and content downloads, will give you an idea of brand engagement. Whereas metrics like time spent on webpages, number of pages visited, signing up for a newsletter, etc. will help identify marketing-qualified leads.

For lead generation, the focus shifts to measuring the quality and quantity of leads. Lead scoring is a useful strategy to identify the quality of leads to assess their readiness to buy. Metrics like cost per lead, cost per acquisition, customer lifetime value, and conversion rates are also useful for tracking lead generation performance. 

How They Come Together in a Marketing Strategy

Without complementary lead generation and demand generation tactics, you can end up with a host of issues like a lack of qualified leads, customer acquisition costs, and misaligned marketing and sales teams. A good lead generation strategy needs demand generation to build brand authority and bring in new leads. A good demand generation strategy needs lead generation to convert brand awareness into sales. 

So your marketing budget should prioritize both strategies more or less equally. Demand generation often involves giving a lot to your audience for free. However, over time, the investment into demand generation will pay off with a stronger brand reputation and a consistent stream of leads flowing through your sales funnel.

Many marketing tools let you fine-tune the targeting and retargeting of your campaigns, so you can (and should) run lead generation and demand generation campaigns simultaneously. As with any marketing campaign, success in both lead generation and demand generation comes down to consistently creating high-quality content, identifying and understanding your audience, testing variables regularly, and tracking performance.

Leave It To Us: Toronto’s #1 Digital Marketing Agency

If you are looking for help creating lead generation or demand generation campaigns for your business, the marketing experts at Consultus Digital are here to help. We have helped dozens of businesses reach and exceed their marketing goals and can do the same for your brand. We tailor our marketing strategies to fit the goals and values of every customer so you get the best ROI possible. 

Give us a call to book a free consultation with our industry experts to discover how our businesses can grow together. 

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