Is there a difference between demand generation and lead generation? Is it valuable for marketers to distinguish between the two? I would answer resolutely yes and yes again.  

Traditionally, marketing focused on lead generation activities typically involving direct mail and telemarketing. Otherwise known as 'push' marketing, where we promote products and services out to prospects. 

Digital transformation has had a radical impact on the way we 'do' marketing today, and the new model to deploy focuses on 'pull' marketing, by establishing a loyal following and drawing customers towards our brand and nurturing relationships. 

So why is making the distinction between demand and lead generation useful as we forge our way into developing these loyal customers? I freely admit to having used these two terms interchangeably in the past, but the rise of content and inbound marketing requires a clear understanding for a successful strategic approach.

This post by Bambu defines them as the following:

"Demand generation is all about establishing strong relationships between your company, and your customer. It’s bridging the gap between audience and brand through a compelling social media strategy, a strong content campaign, and countless other components that actively demonstrate your value to your target market.

On the other hand, lead generation marketing is simply about ushering your customer along the sales funnel by gathering important information from them, like their contact information, so that you can hand prospects over to your sales team."

So we can see that lead generation is a sub-category of demand generation and represents a shift in thinking from generating leads to nurturing long term relationships with prospects and customers through developing a strong digital presence. 

This ultimately is what will generate pipeline opportunities and revenue to drive success in our digital economy.