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Lead Gen vs Demand Gen: Where Each Belongs in B2B Tech Marketing

Published: December 10, 2018       Updated: April 21, 2024

3 min read



Previously in our Lead Gen vs Demand Gen adventure, we talked about the difference between the two concepts and how they fit within the context of a B2B technology marketing strategy. (Spoiler alert: they’re very similar, but should work together to connect your content with your audiences). Now that you can expertly identify each one, how do you know when to incorporate them into your strategy?

Demand Generation Fills The Top of Your Funnel

To put it simply, you should focus on demand generation if you need to fill the very top of your funnel. The good news is, B2B marketers these days have lots of channels in which to incorporate demand gen. If you’re focusing on content, note that more traditional forms like white papers and eBooks are beginning to lose their conversion luster, so think outside the box for unique formats or offers that will provide value and stand out.

B2B demand generation activities might include:

  • Supplementing your marketing efforts with PR and media opportunities
  • Providing a free tool or resource (remember, think outside the eBook!)

  • Engaging industry leaders in conversation
  • Repurposing your content for other channels

  • Using tools like Facebook Lookalike audiences to harness your ad spend and boost high-value content

It is a good idea to test a couple of different approaches and see what works the best for your business. Maybe your industry lacks thought leadership opportunities, so your audience might respond really well to a calculator or checklist. Spend a little time researching and doing the leg work up front, then automate your efforts on the back end once you see what works.

Lead Generation Turns That Audience Into Leads

When you’re ready to look at the full funnel, that’s when more of your efforts should focus on lead generation. In simple practice, this means gating (or putting a form in front of) your valuable content. Full-funnel demand is often the ultimate measure of marketing success, that is, how many prospects move into MQLs, SQLs, Opportunities, and Customers. So when you’re evaluating when and how to gate your content, be sure the value you’re providing is worth your prospect giving you their information.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this content providing value?

  • What query or challenge is this content addressing for my prospect?

  • What’s my motivation here? Am I providing helpful information to help them make a decision, or just trying to sell my product/service?

Once you have some valuable content you’re so excited to share with the world, build a beautiful landing page for it to live on. Make sure it’s as easy as possible to find...optimize it for SEO or run some paid search or social ads to drive traffic to it. (PS: t’s never a bad idea to A/B test landing pages to make sure the content you worked so hard on isn’t getting overlooked because of less than ideal optimization).

Internally, be sure to have a process that outlines when a lead is qualified and handed off from marketing to sales, and don’t hand leads over to sales before they’re ready. Have a lead nurturing workflow in place to take care of prospects that aren’t sales ready.

You can see how demand generation and lead generation work closely together and are both important pieces of your B2B marketing strategy. Also know that both elements take time, effort, and optimization to make successful, so don’t expect your funnel to runneth over overnight. Once you find what’s valuable for your audience, build your funnel from the top down with the right elements in place, and you’ll be set for success.

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