Headley Media Team Member Making Notes In A Meeting


17th May 2024

As a B2B lead generation and demand generation agency, we're here to tell you: demand generation is not just a trendy new term for lead generation. There is quite a big difference between the two.  

Demand generation vs. lead generation is the difference between a prospect being aware of your products and services, and a prospect handing over their contact details with the expectation of hearing from you. 

In fact, according to Turtl, the trick to demand generation is to have no expectation of anything back from your prospects. Only the knowledge that you're creating a good feeling between them and your brand.

In 2024, more and more B2B marketers are planning their demand generation tactics - including social media, content marketing and advertising - into a full, cohesive demand gen strategy.

What Is B2B Demand Generation? 

The team at Gartner define demand generation as a marketing strategy focused on driving awareness and interest in your business' products and services. However, demand generation goes further than simply brand-building.

In fact, we'd go even further than that and say a strong demand generation strategy in B2B can turn your business into a thought leader – an elite, expert brand that stands out among your competitors. 

To us, the definition of demand generation is a long-term marketing approach, designed to attract potential leads to your brand over time.  

Also, the difference between lead generation and demand generation is that they are separate stages of the same B2B journey. So it's worth knowing what demand generation is, and how to deploy B2B demand generation tactics. 

Headley Media colleague on the phone

Let Your Customers Come to You

The focus of any B2B demand generation strategy is on letting new customers come to you.

Obviously, that doesn't mean sitting back and waiting to see what happens. There's an art to actively attracting new leads in an inbound way, and that's what B2B demand generation is all about.

In 2024, it's not enough for businesses to put out blogs and social media posts at random. Successful brands know what the point of their demand generation activity is, and they track new leads using intent data to learn about their journey through the demand generation funnel.Hannah Lydford Content Marketing Manager @ Headley Media

The idea is to let prospects know you're there, with consistent messaging. For example, you may choose to deliver free solutions and share educational resources to support their business needs, to the point where they come to you when they're ready to buy.  

By using social media and creating content in-house, such as blogs, case studies, webinars, and educational videos, you can create a very effective digital demand generation campaign that attracts future customers.  

It's about creating demand for your products and services, and if you get it right, it's an awesome way to:

  • Attract inbound leads
  • Grow your business
  • Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry – which will attract even more leads.  

What Is the Difference Between Demand Generation and Lead Generation? 

The easiest way to differentiate between demand gen and lead gen is this: demand gen is inbound marketing, and lead gen is typically outbound marketing.  

With lead generation, you're actively looking for new leads and pulling them in. With B2B demand generation marketing, the leads come to you, attracted in a more organic way over a longer period of time.  

Another difference between demand generation and lead generation is the timescale. Demand generation B2B marketing is a long-term approach, while lead gen is normally a short to medium-term series of campaigns.

In our view, it's not a case of demand generation vs lead generation. They should go hand in hand.

Think about it - a long-term demand generation strategy can be bolstered by a short-term lead generation campaign, while your nurturing campaigns act as a demand generation tool for warming up your new leads. 

A table comparing lead generation vs demand generation

Not only that, your demand generation funnel acts as a filter for your lead generation, ensuring you're not wasting time on leads that are uninterested in your products and services.  

Or, put another way: your demand generation program takes place higher up in the marketing funnel; lead gen comes later on.  

How to Create a Demand Generation Strategy In 5 Steps 

Demand generation is all about building authority in a market. Here's how: a step-by-step guide featuring our favorite B2B demand generation best practices. 

1. Give Away Content for Free  

Ungated content, i.e., content you give away for 'free' to your audience without requiring any contact details in return, is one of the great B2B demand generation strategies.  

Start with blogs: blogs can be about your product and solutions but you should also aim to include something that's generally educational or useful in each post. Is there a big bit of news in your industry, or in the market you're wanting to target? One of the great B2B demand generation tactics is to write a blog about the latest industry trends or stats, including your business's professional take on it. People will be looking for industry developments and they'll appreciate any professional comment or advice attached.  

It's a way for you to keep your content relevant and topical, and if it's done well, readers will start to see you as a thought leader, follow you on social media, and begin to trust your brand.

2. Let Your Employees Do the Talking 

Demand generation may be something of a culture change for your marketing department. However, if you have business leaders and team members who are on top of industry news and have plenty of opinions to share, you'll have an edge to grow your business with a B2B demand generation strategy.  

Social media advocacy, i.e. using your own employees, and your social network, as influencers, is a great (and free!) demand generation strategy to try. And LinkedIn is a great place to try it out for your B2B audience.

It's essentially word-of-mouth recommendations, which has always been one of the most effective, valuable marketing tools, and works fantastically for B2B demand generation campaigns. 

Social media advocacy is using employees, industry partners, and fans of your brand to spread your messages. 

Using your employees for this works really well: they'll have their own networks of B2B contacts, fellow professionals on LinkedIn who like them personally and want to see them (and by extension your business!) do well.  

The key is to ensure your employees buy into your brand, meaning they'll be engaged and happy to share communications on their pages. It's not the sort of thing you can force on your team, and it doesn't have to be too frequent (once a week is enough).  

But by feeding them messages to share, linking to valuable blogs, and inviting them to put their own spin on your news, they'll become mini-thought leaders and good advocates for your brand – and add a lot to your demand generation programs.  


Headley Media colleague working on a lead generation campaign for a client

3. Combine Your Lead Generation & Demand Generation

In the current age, it's trickier to build a following online if you don't advertise: social media companies prioritize the businesses that spend money, while ranking on the first page of Google is much easier if you advertise.  

Take Facebook, for example: its complex algorithm means it's difficult for businesses to attract new followers through organic reach alone, or even get their posts to show up on users' feeds. But its advertising is scalable and flexible, allowing you to target lookalike audiences and making it more likely your posts will be seen.  

Happily, the ROI of digital advertising is unbeatably high these days. Google, for example, reports that for every $1 spent on Google Ads, $2 is generated. The fact that you can accurately measure where traffic comes from means ad spend is worth even more.  

As well as getting your name out there and building brand awareness, you can spend money to retarget existing leads and generate new ones. A B2B lead generation campaign can stimulate demand generation among a much larger audience than the leads generated and serves to nurture your leads as well.  

Content syndication, for example, allows you to publish valuable content to an entirely new audience, increasing your brand awareness and at the same time generating useful leads. Your content is hosted by a demand generation specialist on their own content library, marketed precisely at decision-makers and high-level professionals in the sector you want to target. More about that in the next section. 

Headley Media colleagues discussing demand generation and lead generation

4. Optimize Your Social Media Presence 

As a B2B marketer, the chances are you won't use all of the (many) social media platforms out there. LinkedIn is, of course, a great fit for B2B marketers, while we'd suggest some B2B technology businesses won't find much use for TikTok (yet)

Having said that, TikTok lends itself to creative demand generation ideas. Short-form video was one of the biggest marketing trends of 2023, and TikTok and Instagram are the fastest-growing social media platforms.

HubSpot reports TikTok can work for B2B brands as well as B2C, with 58% of B2B marketers planning on upping their investment in TikTok. So if you have funny, interactive content to put out, there's never been a better time.  

Whichever social media platforms you’re using, the key is to post but keep your content topical and educational-led. That means keeping your "branded" posts, the posts that shout about your products and services, to a minimum.

Another key part is and engage with people: answer all comments on your posts, and engage with their posts too. And get your employees involved in the action too, like we explored earlier!

Headley media colleagues in a meeting

5. Invite Followers to Webinars and Events 

This is the natural follow-up to giving away your content and posting regularly on LinkedIn.

Webinars and events – featuring education-led content over sales-led content – are great opportunities to generate leads and begin to nurture them, as well as generating demand.  

Events can be trade shows that you're visiting, industry conferences and dinners. Tell your followers you're going and invite them to book time with you. Don't forget this works both ways: you don't have to sit and wait for them to come to you. Chase up potential leads beforehand and see if you can book some face time.  

Having a webinar program is a great way to attract B2B leads and they're probably easier to set up than you think. Since their boom in the pandemic, webinars have not gone away: thanks to ease of attendance and their interactive format, they remain massively popular, especially among technology businesses

If you've got a good network of other businesses you work with, that network will come into its own when you do webinars – inviting pros from other businesses to your webinar, or getting them to host you on theirs, is fantastic for reciprocal lead generation and demand generation in B2B.  

You could also try hosting your own in-person events, for example focus groups and round tables for product research within the market you want to target. These often work best with a mixture of existing clients and new-to-brand prospects, so they're great for B2B demand generation, as well as practically improving your business.

Two Headley Media colleagues in a meeting

B2B Demand Generation Services  

The beauty of demand generation for B2B is that it gives a name and structure to a lot of the marketing functions you're probably already carrying out.  

It allows you to see the way your brand awareness activity links up to your lead generation activity, helping you plan lead and demand generation campaigns together, to enhance them both.  

One of the most effective B2B demand generation services, and a way to drive lead generation at the same time, is content syndication.  

This method sees a B2B demand generation agency host your content – whether it's an eBook, whitepaper, case study or research report – on their own content library, used by professionals in the sector you're targeting.  

B2B professionals shaking hands in a meeting

B2B Demand Generation Strategy Examples 

What does a great demand generation strategy look like?

Think about what appeals to you as a B2B decision maker. When was the last time a communication from a business really resonated with you, and spurred you to click a link or read another post? 

With that in mind, here are a few recent examples of B2B demand generation campaigns in action:

Hosting webinars

Put together experts from different sides of a successful collaboration and you've got webinar nirvana. A single webinar can be repurposed at least a dozen times for B2B demand generation - into a YouTube replay, a podcast, a blog or two, and at least three LinkedIn posts.

For example, the below podcast from e-Comas was created from a webinar.

Screenshot of a LinkedIn post showing a podcast episode from e-Comas

Guest Speakers

Your charismatic expert in the C-suite should be a guest of honor on associated brand webinars. Make sure they're talking to their peers and positioning themself as a thought leader, because these are fantastic for raising your brand awareness among other brands' networks. 

Screenshot example of a demand generation style video on LinkedIn

Posting Ungated Content

The classic demand generation strategy: blogging and posting useful stuff (but not so useful it should be gated) on social media is a great way to raise your brand awareness and position yourself as an expert in the field. 

Display Advertising

Running B2B display ads on search and social media can be a fantastic signal boost for your brand.

Even prospects who don't click on the link will become more aware of your content and messaging, particularly if it's relevant to their business interests and research - and that's what demand generation strategies in B2B are all about. 

Content Syndication

A classic form of outbound lead generation, content syndication also works really well as a demand generation tool. Prospects who see your content but don't become a lead - either because they don't download the content or they don't consent to hear from you - still benefit from the digital demand generation effect. 

Below is an example of an eBook hosted on one of Headley Media's IT Corporate content syndication platforms.

A screenshot example of an eBook hosted on one of Headley Media's IT Corporate content syndication platforms.

Headley Media's Demand Generation Services

As a demand generation company, Headley Media own content hubs for professionals in six technology sectors – IT, cybersecurity, HR, marketing, finance, and electronics.

Decision-makers in each of these markets use our content hubs to find resources. They are used regularly by a huge audience, who become familiar with the brands whose content is featured. Each piece of hosted content includes the brand's name and logo, so even if our reader doesn't download a piece of content, they will see the headline and the business that put it out, which gives more brand recognition. 

Demand generation agencies like us run content syndication campaigns, so each piece of content is gated.

When a reader does download a piece of content, they have to fill out a content download form with their business card details. We then authenticate their details and deliver them to the client in a list of leads – explore our full lead generation process for more information. We can also nurture leads, by exposing them to more of your content, or by sharing more information about their buying intent.  

Not every reader that sees your content will consent to become a lead, but they'll still have heightened awareness of your brand. Plus, you can combine your lead generation activity with B2B display advertising campaigns via Headley Display. Display ads are a great example of demand generation.

How Content Syndication Generates Demand

Through our content syndication programs, we target audiences via:

  • Email promotions
  • Landing pages
  • Post-download messaging, and more.

Each additional touch point within every content syndication campaign builds our clients' brand awareness while generating leads – which makes content syndication a highly effective B2B demand generation strategy.  

The trick is to find a reputable B2B demand generation company that can nail content syndication for lead generation and generate demand at the same time.  

Don't be taken in by any phony B2B demand generation agencies: ask about their reader journey.

We recommend checking that they will host and distribute your content via their own content syndication platforms. It's also super important to make sure they validate your leads before delivering them to you.

And remember, any B2B lead generation supplier you choose to work with should be able to answer every question in our Quality Lead Generation Checklist.