If you are in the process of mapping out your site’s content strategy, chances are you are likely to encounter the following scenario: you’d have employees torn between two opposing sides, debating over the content’s purpose.

On one side, you’ll have people wanting to use site content as lead generation tool.

On the other, you have those who want to share content on social media regardless of leads.

For the record, neither is wrong.

The content that will appear on the company site can serve diverse purposes—engage readers, encourage participation, evoke positive emotion, and provide information, among other things—all while establishing a robust, credible, and unique voice for the brand.

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

What the two sides are debating over is actually content for lead generation and content for demand generation.

In essence, demand generation aims to drive awareness and interest in your brand.

Lead generation on the other hand is primarily about capturing contact information (i.e. phone numbers or e-mail addresses) of interested individuals.

Differentiating the Two

Lead Generation is the process of gathering registration information (often in exchange of content).

Its primary purpose it to establish a marketing database that can be used for telemarketing or e-mail follow up.

Demand Generation on the other hand involves creating demand for the brand’s products or services through marketing.

The main aim of demand generation is to eventually make the target audience purchase/patronize what the brand has to offer.

There’s no denying both lead and demand generation are important.

Some however, believe that a single content marketing plan can accomplish driving demand and delivering leads.

However, you need to keep in mind that each interaction with your reader must be focused on either demand generation or lead generation.

To get an insight why, consider the following:

Lead Generation Content Marketing Plan

Your navigation paths, promotions, and messaging are focused on the content you have designed to get individuals into a registration page they need to fill out before they can access your content.

However, since your content is secured, it will only be seen by the small number of people who respond and view your campaign or visit your site.

In other words, the content you spent so much time creating—content that cements your brand’s reputation as an industry leader and creates a demand for what you have to offer—only reaches a limited number of people.

Simply put, this type of lead generation plan creates a demand for your content and not your product.

Demand Generation Content Marketing Plan

Demand generation is focused on shaping or changing the perspective of your audience so there will be a demand for the specific services or products you are offering.

While your content would be able to accomplish the goal, it needs to be distributed broadly.

To do so, barriers to consuming, sharing, and discovering your content must be removed.

Essentially, in order to maximize demand generation, removing registration capture (read: lead generation) from the primary flow is required.

Wrapping It Up

When deciding on your overall content marketing plan, keep in mind that demand and lead generation are two distinct activities.

However, it is possible to make the two work together.

As a general rule of thumb, every interaction with your content must focus on either demand generation or lead generation.

In due time, you must weave each interaction together rather than trying to make a single interaction accomplish both objectives.
HotPrints USA