Lead generation collects information from interested prospects to convert them into customers. Demand generation creates brand awareness and gets people interested in your products. Learn how to build a strategy around both.

Here, you’ll find:

“Demand generation is much like casting a wide net in a lake. You’re aiming to attract as many fish as possible. Lead generation involves using the right bait and techniques to capture specific types of fish and pull them into your boat,” says Rambod Yadegar, Co-Founder and President at HawkSEM.

“Both are unique in their goals and tactics. But it’s important they work together for a more effective marketing and sales funnel that’s agile and optimized for faster conversions.”

Here is a chart breaking down demand gen vs. lead gen:

demand gen vs. lead gen

The difference between lead generation and demand generation

Lead generation is focused on reeling in conversion-ready prospects, while demand generation leans on marketing techniques to increase brand awareness.

To further explain the difference between lead generation and demand generation, we’ve split the key distinctions between into four categories:

  • Focus
  • Funnel stage
  • Tactics
  • Metrics


Demand generation creates the initial awareness. Lead generation captures the interest of those who are ready to consider purchasing.

Demand generation

Demand gen makes people aware of and interested in the kind of problems your products solve.

It’s not selling directly but educating people on issues that matter to them and how they can be addressed, creating a trusted environment around your product or brand.

Lead generation

Lead gen identifies people interested in your solution for their problems and collects their contact information for further communication.

It’s a more targeted approach for turning initial interest into potential sales by engaging with individuals directly.

Funnel stage

Demand generation and lead generation target different points in the customer journey. Each plays a unique role in moving potential customers closer to a purchase.

Demand generation

Demand gen works at the top of the funnel, sparking interest in your product and the problems it solves and creating broad awareness.

At this stage, a demand generation strategy casts a net to bring in as many people as possible who may need your solutions.

Lead generation

Lead gen takes place in the middle and bottom of the funnel.

Here, the focus shifts to those who’ve shown a clear interest in your solutions. The aim is to collect their contact info so you can engage them with more targeted and personalized communication.

This is the stage where you prepare potential customers for the final steps toward making a purchase.

Demand generation and lead generation in the marketing funnel


Demand generation and lead generation use different tactics to engage prospects at various stages of the B2B marketing funnel.

Each set of tactics meets the strategy’s unique goals — from building broad awareness to capturing and nurturing high-quality leads.

Here are some of the common demand generation and lead generation tactics you can use.

Demand generation

1. Create an educational blog series

Develop a series of blog posts that tackle common industry problems. Explain them in depth and present your product as a solution.

This type of free content drives traffic from search engine results and educates your audience while establishing your thought leadership.

Ensure the blog posts are properly interlinked. (Learn how internal linking helps SEO)

For example, Backlinko has an SEO marketing hub where it’s created a blog series covering different aspects of SEO.

2. Leverage SEO with how-to guides

Create comprehensive how-to guides for your website. Focus on keywords related to the problems your product addresses.

This content-centric SEO tactic improves your search visibility and draws in users seeking solutions for their pain points.

Here’s an example from Healthline:

How-to guide example

3. Host interactive webinars

Organize webinars on topics that align with your target audience’s needs.

Use these sessions to show your expertise and how your products can solve specific issues. Encourage participants to interact and ask questions.

For example, Salesforce regularly hosts webinars and keeps them available for on-demand viewing:

Webinar examples

Webinars are another effective form of demand generation content that can go a long way in customer acquisition if you’re using the right CTAs and have a well-defined lead nurturing strategy in place.

4. Conduct social media Q&A sessions

Schedule regular Q&A sessions on your social media platforms where you answer your audience’s questions about industry challenges or other relevant topics.

It’s a great way to engage with your community and highlight how your offerings can help.

Here’s an example of Duolingo doing an Ask Me Anything session:

Duolingo’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) on social media

5. Publish customer success stories

Share stories from satisfied customers who’ve benefited from your product.

These narratives can be powerful in highlighting the value of your solutions to a broader audience.

For example, HubSpot has an extensive repository of its case studies:

Customer success stories example

Lead generation

6. Offer a free tool or resource

Provide a free tool, gated content, or other resource (such as a template, quiz, or calculator) in exchange for contact information. This offers immediate value and starts the relationship with potential leads.

There are many lead-generation quiz builders you can use to captures users’ contact information at the end. Here’s an example from involve.me:

Quiz to capture leads

7. Use pop-ups for content offers

Implement pop-up forms on your website that offer exclusive content like ebooks, whitepapers, or newsletters to visitors.

Ensure these popups are timed or behavior-triggered to maximize effectiveness without disrupting the user experience.

Also, use a strong, benefit-driven copy and call-to-action that compels people to act. This is one of the highly underrated tips for generating leads.

Here’s an example of GetResponse using this tactic:

Popup content offer example

8. Organize product demos or trials

Invite interested users to sign up for a product demo or a free trial. Use this opportunity to collect their contact details and showcase the benefits of your offering directly.

Almost every SaaS brand offers a demo or trial today. Like Close here:

Free product trial example

9. Run targeted ads with lead forms

Create ads on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook that feature built-in lead forms. Target these ads to segments of your audience interested in similar products.

Here’s how a LinkedIn lead gen form ad looks:

LinkedIn ad lead generation form

10. Implement email drip campaigns

Once you have contact information, nurture these leads with a series of personalized emails, typically on automation.

Each message should offer additional value, drawing them closer to a purchase decision by showing solutions to their problems.


You need to follow specific metrics to measure the success of your demand generation and lead generation efforts.

You can track and evaluate these metrics using Google Analytics 4, CRM, or other analytics tools.

Demand generation

1. Website traffic

Monitor the number of visitors coming to your site — especially through branded searches (when someone searches for your brand name) and direct traffic (when someone types your website URL directly into their browser). Increases in these areas suggest growing brand awareness and interest in your offer.

Further reading: Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords in Marketing

2. Social media engagement

Evaluate interactions on your social platforms, including likes, comments, shares, and follower growth. High engagement rates indicate your content resonates and spreads awareness of your brand.

3. Content downloads

Count how often your free resources like ebooks or guides are downloaded. This reflects the level of interest in the deeper insights you provide.

4. Prospect engagement

Assess how prospects interact with your content through metrics like pages per session, time spent on page, and repeat visits. This behavior shows how engaging your content is to your audience.

Lead generation

1. Conversion rate

This is the percentage of visitors who take an action on your site (e.g., filling out a form or signing up for a newsletter). A higher conversion rate means more of your traffic is turning into leads.

Further reading: What’s a Good Conversion Rate? + Pro Tips to Improve It

2. Lead volume

Count the number of new leads generated in a specific period. This gives you a clear picture of how effective your lead-generation strategy is.

3. Cost per lead (CPL)

Calculate the total cost of your lead generation campaigns divided by the number of generated leads. It evaluates the efficiency of your marketing spend.

How to use demand generation and lead generation together?

Using demand generation and lead generation together ensures a seamless journey for potential customers from initial awareness to purchase. This optimizes your digital marketing effectiveness, increasing your ROI.

Follow these steps to integrate both your strategies:

  1. Set goals for both strategies
  2. Group your audience by their interest level
  3. Make content for each group
  4. Share content across different platforms
  5. Use simple ways to gather contact info
  6. Keep in touch with potential customers regularly
  7. Check what’s working and what’s not
  8. Make sure sales and marketing teams work together

1. Set goals for both strategies

Setting specific goals clarifies what you want to achieve with your demand generation and lead generation efforts.

Start by asking what the end game is for your marketing.

For demand generation, your goal may be to boost brand awareness by 25% in the next quarter. Then for lead generation, perhaps you want to grow your email list by 500 subscribers in the same period.

Write these goals down and make sure they’re SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

2. Group your audience by their interest level

Grouping your audience by their interest level will help you deliver the right message at the right time.

Start by analyzing their interactions with your content to gauge their readiness to purchase.

For instance, a visitor who engages with an introductory blog post is likely just getting to know your brand. This places them at the awareness stage.

In contrast, someone who downloads a detailed product guide shows a deeper interest. It indicates they’re further along and may be considering a purchase.

Use these insights to categorize your audience into segments like “New Visitors,” “Engaged Readers,” and “Potential Buyers.” (Tools like Google Analytics allow you to create audience segments.)

Here’s how a typical customer journey map looks for grouping your audience at a more granular level instead of having just three broad categories:

This step helps clarify where your audience stands in their buying journey. This would then assist you in producing content that increases the chances of turning visitors into leads and customers.

3. Make content for each group

Tailoring your content to match your audience’s journey helps you directly address their current interests and concerns.

Start by offering broad, informative blog posts to those just getting to know your brand (“New Visitors”). This will get them to understand the basics of your product or service.

As their interest grows, they’ll look for more details. This is your chance to share deeper insights, like comparison guides and other landing page content, which you can provide in exchange for their email address.

This approach ensures you give them the information they need at the right time. It makes it easier for you to start a conversation and guide them toward making a confident decision to choose your product.

Further reading: The SEO Content Strategy You Need: A Step-by-Step Guide

4. Share content across different platforms

Sharing your content across various platforms ensures it reaches a wider audience.

Find out where your potential customers spend their time — LinkedIn, Instagram, email, or some other channel.

Diversify your content to fit each platform’s format and audience preferences.

For LinkedIn, share industry insights and in-depth articles. On Instagram, post engaging visuals and short tips. Use email to share personalized content directly with your subscribers.

This broad approach increase your brand’s visibility and attract more leads.

5. Use simple ways to gather contact info

Gathering contact information is essential to turn interested visitors into leads.

Make this process as easy as possible.

To lower barriers to entry, ensure your signup forms are concise, asking only for important information like name and email address.

Include a simple sign-up form for newsletters or downloadable resources on your website.

Here’s an example from DocuSign:

Signup form example to generate leads

Offer something valuable in return, like an exclusive ebook or a coupon code, as an incentive for sharing their email address.

6. Keep in touch with potential customers regularly

Regular communication keeps your brand top of mind for potential customers.

Set up an email campaign to share updates, offers, and valuable content with your subscribers.

Segment or split your email list based on interest levels or engagement to ensure messages are tailored and relevant.

For example, send product updates to those who’ve shown a keen interest and educational content to newer subscribers.

Consistent communication builds trust and nudges prospective customers closer to a purchase.

7. Check what’s working and what’s not

Measuring the effectiveness of your demand generation and lead generation activities will optimize your marketing funnel.

Use tools like Google Analytics to track how different content performs and which platforms drive the most engagement and leads.

Focus on metrics like click-through rates, email open rates, and conversion rates.

If certain tactics aren’t working, take proactive steps to adjust your approach.

Testing and learning from your data ensures your marketing efforts are always improving. It allows for ongoing optimization of your lead generation content and demand generation efforts.

At HawkSEM, we use ConversionIQ, our proprietary marketing tool. It helps us track every single step of the buyer journey and gain a better understanding of the target audience.

The deep insights highlight what parts of the demand and lead generation strategies need working and how we can optimize the funnel.


Over the years, ConversionIQ has helped us maintain higher ROI for our clients. Want to learn more about it? Get in touch.

8. Make sure sales and marketing teams work together

Alignment between sales and marketing teams streamlines the lead generation process.

Ensure both teams are on the same page regarding target audience, messaging, and goals. Sales teams and individual reps can provide feedback on lead quality, which marketing teams can use to refine their strategies.

Regular meetings and shared metrics can help maintain this alignment. When sales and marketing work together, they create a more cohesive experience for potential customers. This increases the chances of conversion.

“Focusing on brand awareness along with lead generation is how a fully integrated marketing campaign should run. Showing the market that you’re an industry leader and getting them excited about what you have to offer should be as important as the performance side of things,” says Yadegar.

“Our team of experts focuses on the awareness play and the performance side of things, ensuring we’re achieving optimal success for our clients. This dual approach helps us capture attention and convert that interest into tangible outcomes.”

What is demand generation?

Demand generation helps your brand get noticed and makes people interested in what you offer.

It involves a series of steps to grab attention, show how your product or service can solve a problem, and keep potential customers interested.

Then when someone is ready to buy, they’ll think of you first because they understand and value what you provide.

Demand gen strategy is used by companies big and small across various industries.

It’s particularly useful when you want to:

  • Introduce a new product or service
  • Step into a new market
  • Look to increase your brand’s presence and make sure more people know about what you’re offering

Demand generation marketing is an ongoing motion. It keeps your brand relevant by continuously showcasing the importance and benefits of your products — through education-focused, non-sales tactics.

Demand generation example

Take an example of a SaaS company that provides payment gateway solutions for small businesses.

To drum up demand, the company initiates a targeted campaign focused on educating small business owners about the challenges of online payments and showing how their solution can address these issues directly.

Through concise blog posts, they dissect common transactional problems and introduce their software as a remedy.

On social media, they spotlight success stories from current users. And through webinars, they offer a practical look at the software’s features and the tangible benefits it brings to the table.

These demand-generation activities capture the attention of the target audience. Plus, they show the payment gateway in action, solve specific pain points, and underline the security and efficiency gains for users.

This SaaS company bridges the gap between awareness and action with demand generation.

Demand generation goals

Introduce your product or service

Demand generation makes potential customers aware of what you offer through standard SEO principles, content marketing, and paid ads. It highlights your products’ or services’ significance and impact in their personal or professional lives.

Educate your audience

It shares important information highlighting the challenges your target market faces and how your solutions can eliminate them. It underscores the practical value you bring.

Engage potential customers

Demand generation creates avenues for interactions. It draws your audience closer to your brand, encouraging a deeper understanding of what you stand for.

Nurture customer relationships

This strategy involves maintaining ongoing communication with interested individuals. It fosters a community-like feeling and cultivates loyalty among your customer base.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation helps your business attract people interested in what you’re selling and then collects their information so you can follow up with them.

It’s a short-term strategy to grow your list of potential customers, making it easier to reach and persuade them to buy your product later.

The goal is simple: get people excited about your offer and willing to learn more.

You can do this by distributing useful content, offering a sneak peek through webinars, or giving away samples/trials. When people sign up to receive more information, they become leads — potential buyers you can contact.

Lead generation starts the conversation with people who are curious about your business. It turns that initial curiosity into a sale, step by step.

For any business, big or small, lead generation is key to finding new customers and keeping your sales pipeline full.

Lead generation example

Imagine a company that sells online courses on digital marketing. To generate qualified leads, they offer a free webinar titled “Boost Your Digital Marketing Skills in 30 Days.”

People interested in the webinar sign up by giving their name and email.

This way, the company finds out who may want to buy their courses and sends them more information and special offers to convince them to sign up for a paid course.

Lead generation goals

Find interested people

Lead generation activities focus on attracting individuals most likely to be interested in your products. They ensure your marketing efforts are targeted effectively.

Capture contact information

Lead generation allows you to build a database of prospects who’ve shown an interest in what you offer. It gathers essential details, such as email addresses and phone numbers.

Maintain engagement

Lead generation includes activities to keep potential customers engaged with your brand. It delivers content and information that nurtures their interest and moves them closer to making a purchase.

Facilitate conversions

Ultimately, the objective of lead generation is to convert interested prospects into actual paying customers, thereby driving sales and contributing to your business’s growth and profitability.

Further reading: PPC for Lead Generation: 10 Pro Tips to Get More Leads

The takeaway

A long-term, conversion-driven marketing strategy doesn’t make the lead vs. demand generation distinction.

Both are specific in their objectives and tactics. And both need to work together to drive higher ROI.

At HawkSEM, we leverage holistic digital marketing strategies that tie together different components of a funnel. Our end-to-end solutions cover everything from paid ads to SEO management services.

This makes what we do more effective. And it’s one reason brands like Microsoft, Nike, and Honda trust us.

We’ve helped clients like AppDynamics, a leading analytics company acquired by Cisco, scale faster.

Our team of demand and lead generation specialists helped double their traffic and increase the conversion rate by 20%. There are numerous success stories that vouch for our credibility and commitment to the client’s success.

Get in touch with us today for a free consultation and to build a robust strategy for your brand.

Contact HawkSEM for Free Consultation