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When it comes to marketing, there are a lot of terms and strategies that get thrown around. It can also be challenging to keep up if you are not a part of the industry. In this post, we’re going to focus on two specific marketing strategies: demand generation and inbound marketing. What’s the difference between the two? What are their objectives? Who uses them? We’ll answer all of these questions and more, so that the next time you hear someone mention either demand generation or inbound marketing, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about.

What is demand generation?

Demand generation is the practice of increasing consumer demand for a good or service. It is also sometimes known as lead generation or acquisition.

The demand generation process usually starts with market research to identify potential customers and then creates a marketing plan to reach them. The plan will include tactics such as advertising, public relations, events, and direct marketing. Once potential customers are aware of the product or service, they may be encouraged to visit the company’s website or contact the sales team for more information.

The goal of demand generation is to create interest and eventually convert leads into customers. To be successful, businesses must carefully craft their message and target their audience. They must also track their results so they can adjust their strategy as needed.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a type of demand generation that specifically focuses on attracting customers or clients to your company or organization through various digital channels. It’s a relatively new concept that’s often seen as an alternative to more traditional marketing efforts, such as outbound marketing, which typically involves interruptive tactics like cold-calling or purchasing advertising space.

Some common inbound marketing activities include creating and distributing valuable content (like blog posts, ebooks, or webinars) across multiple channels (like your website, social media, or email list), optimizing your website for search engine visibility, and developing targeted campaigns designed to attract specific types of prospects.

The goal of inbound marketing is two-fold: first, to attract strangers and turn them into visitors by providing them with valuable content; and second, to convert those visitors into leads by getting them to take some kind of action (like subscribing to your email list or filling out a contact form). Ultimately, the goal is to close those leads into customers or clients.

The difference between demand generation and inbound marketing

Generating demand for your product or service is essential to any successful marketing strategy. But what’s the difference between demand generation and inbound marketing?

In short, demand generation is the proactive process of creating interest in your products or services. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is a more reactive approach that focuses on converting interested prospects into customers.

Both demand generation and inbound marketing are important aspects of a holistic marketing strategy. But which one ought should you prioritize first?
Here’s a more detailed look at the difference between demand generation and inbound marketing:

Demand Generation vs Inbound Marketing: The Key Differences

1. Focus
Demand generation is focused on creating awareness and interest in your products or services. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is focused on converting interested prospects into customers.

2. Approach
Demand generation takes a proactive approach, using strategies like content marketing and lead nurturing to generate interest. Inbound marketing takes a more reactive approach, focusing on optimizing your website and conversion funnel to convert leads into customers.

3. Tactics
Common demand-generation tactics include paid advertising, trade shows, webinars, and email campaigns. Common inbound marketing tactics include SEO, content marketing, social media, and lead conversion optimization.

4. Goal 

The goal of demand generation is to build an audience of potential buyers who are aware of your products or services and interested in learning more. The goal of inbound marketing is

Pros and cons of demand generation

Demand generation and inbound marketing are two approaches to driving growth for a business. Both have their pros and cons, which should be considered when deciding which approach is best for your company.

Demand generation is the proactive process of creating interest in a product or service through marketing activities. The goal of demand generation is to generate leads that can be converted into customers. Pros of demand generation include that it can reach a large audience and that it can be customized to target specific audiences. Cons of demand generation include that it can be costly and that it takes time to see results.

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting customers to a product or service through content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. The goal of inbound marketing is to build relationships with potential customers and convert them into customers. Pros of inbound marketing include that it is less expensive than demand generation and that it builds trust with potential customers. Cons of inbound marketing include that it takes longer to see results and that it requires more effort to maintain over time.

Pros and Cons of Inbound Marketing

A great way to draw clients and expand your business is through inbound marketing. However, there are some pros and cons to consider before you start using inbound marketing techniques.


– Inbound marketing is an effective way to reach potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer.
– It might be more affordable than other types of promotion, such as paid advertising.

– Inbound marketing provides a way to build trust and credibility with potential customers through informative content.
– It can be used to nurture leads and move them through the sales funnel more effectively.


– Inbound marketing requires ongoing effort and regular updates to be successful.
– You may need help from a professional to create high-quality content that will attract leads.
– No guarantee leads will convert into customers, even if they are interested in your product or service.

How to Decide Which is Right for Your Business

There are a few key considerations to take into account when trying to decide which marketing strategy, demand generation or inbound marketing, is right for your business. The first is your budget. Inbound marketing generally requires a smaller budget than demand generation since it relies heavily on content creation and SEO which can be done relatively cheaply. However, demand generation requires a bigger budget as it includes paid advertising and often requires hiring specialized agencies.

The second consideration is your target market. If you’re targeting small businesses or consumers, inbound marketing may be a better fit as it’s geared towards building relationships with potential customers. However, if you’re targeting larger businesses, demand generation may be more effective as it’s focused on creating leads and driving conversions.

The third consideration is your sales cycle. Inbound marketing is best suited for shorter sales cycles as it’s designed to attract and engage potential customers who are ready to buy. Demand generation, on the other hand, is better for longer sales cycles as it involves nurturing leads over time until they’re ready to purchase.

Finally, you need to consider your overall goals. Inbound marketing is great for building brand awareness and generating leads, but it may not be as effective at driving conversions and closed deals. If your goal is to increase sales and grow revenue, demand generation may be a better option.

So, which is right for your business? It depends on your circumstances but hopefully, this guide has given you some food for thought.


Inbound marketing and demand generation are both important pieces of a successful marketing strategy. Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers to your brand, while demand generation focuses on creating interest and demand for your products or services. Both strategies are important for driving leads and sales, so it’s important to use both in tandem to see the best results. Thanks for reading!

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