Basic lessons on B2B marketing often have people differentiating demand generation from lead generation? Sometimes though, I’m really not sure how helpful the distinction is outside of knowing how to manage all your activities.

However, it’s only fair to point out the most obvious difference between the two:

  • Demand generation – Marketing materials. Advertising. Any activity built towards creating mass awareness of your products/services.
  • Lead generation – Individual processing. Prospects are spoken to one-on-one and their interest is individually nurtured through constant engagement.

It looks simple enough at first glance. The thing is, reality is no longer paying much attention to the distinction. Given the rise of both content as well as multi-channel tracking in terms of importance, combining both processes seems to make more sense.

This is why changes in today’s marketing aren’t just about adopting newer tactics and technology. Surprisingly, it still goes back to marketing’s oldest objective: How do I get a customer’s attention?

Here are just several areas where demand generation and lead generation completely meld into one:

  • Presentation materials – There’s no major distinction between the content used by sales reps and the one produced by marketers. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t organize the resources but there’s really point in saying one is for generating demand and another is to be used for conversations with clients.
  • The top of the funnel – Websites. Phone calls. Social media profiles. Any of these can be the start of the funnel. They could also be somewhere in the middle. Or near the end. Regardless, just the start of the buyer’s journey has been expanded. Activities that were once meant to exclusively drive leads are now simultaneously used to just generate interest.
  • Research – Everything you do, you’re supposed to have the capacity to analyze. From the results of a cold call to the response rates of email, each will have an impact across channels. You are getting more data that can improve the success of the whole campaign, not just an individual channel or process.

There are times when the old makes way to the new. Other times we bring the old things back. There are also times when the old and the new become one and the same. So maybe instead of demand or lead generation, why not just call it marketing at the end of the day?