Marketing is becoming more accountable before the eyes of corporate leaders. And because of that, it’s important that you know basic distinctions like the difference between generating leads and creating demand. Granted, even experts end up blurring the two because their purposes are so intertwined. Unraveling these connections though is key to explaining the return on every dollar spent on marketing.

First of all, lead generation is one good way to evaluate demand generation. While they both can actually operate independently, it’s only logical to assume they make a good combination. Yet like all good combinations, you need to know where the other starts and the other ends to determine where they connect:

Lead Generation

Definition – A known process of collecting information from potential clients and using that information to boost revenue. Leads can start out as simply as a filled out contact form but are followed constantly using tools and methods until that it results in a sale.

Use – The right resources and a certain amount of time are needed to nurture future leads before they produce a sale. It’s why the B2B sales process remains a long systematic cycle. On the other hand, the fact that a prospect has filled a contact form is already a sign of progress and shows you have a higher chance of a sale already.

Demand Generation

Definition – This method covers all marketing activities that create awareness about your product, company and industry. This is where the more external forms of inbound and outbound marketing are found under. However, the goal of generating leads remains the same (and makes it a point of connection between the two).

Use – In this area, leaders emphasize more creative and adaptive thinking. There is more focus on shifts in the industry’s market. Everyone is constantly on the lookout for new products and services that can disrupt competition in the space. Branding strategies are also given more consideration than strategies further up the funnel.

Relating the Two

When you see the two work in motion, you’d think you were looking at a single marketing entity. In fact, that is why businesses focus on both as much as possible.

For instance, follow-ups are critical for keeping prospects interested enough that they’ll eventually want to get involved with your business. Meanwhile things like more website traffic and social media presence get you the attention you need or else those forms will never be filled in the first place. It’s not so much as which of either you need more but how the amounts will affect both halves.