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Lead Generation Vs. Digital Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Written by BatchService 

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You have probably seen many of the same terms thrown around when people talk about marketing and lead generation, especially digital marketing. That is because many of the same tools are used in each area of your business, but they are not the same efforts. You can use marketing to build leads, but many lead generation strategies do not overlap with your primary marketing goals. While both use campaigns, it is common to have goals in each area that have nothing to do with the other.

Lead Generation

This category of activities gives you active leads to work, and it encompasses every step of that journey. Some of your marketing efforts contribute to lead generation, and others are directly a part of the process, but it is not the same process as marketing. Leads represent potential transactions. Building them is about more than just making sure potential customers know your business; it is about identifying the people most likely to work with you in the immediate future.

  • Research into specific communities and their needs
  • Direct outreach to notify potential leads of opportunities to make contact
  • Cold calling and similar approaches

The specifics of lead generation depend significantly on the industry, and the goal is not always to generate leads for sales. Some trading and investing leads are opportunities for acquisitions. One clear example is real estate, where leads are often sought for investor acquisitions, but marketing focuses on finding buyers for improved properties. In this case, marketing supports lead generation and vice versa, but they address different sides of an investor’s supply and demand needs. By contrast, lead generation for insurance is often about identifying customers likely to buy a policy; the same audience is targeted in marketing campaigns.

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing represents the full range of marketing efforts you make online. They might drive lead generation, but often digital marketing is about building a broader awareness of your business. This can lead to word-of-mouth referrals, but it does not have the same goals. Of course, like any marketing campaign, your digital marketing efforts are driven by goals. That means you can make a campaign designed to build leads. Still, it’s equally valid to develop a campaign to get a broader reach on blog articles or increase interaction with your brand in your community more generally.

How They Are Similar

Both marketing and lead generation bring your brand to the audience, but they work for different purposes. They have a lot of overlap, including advertising to achieve their goals. You can also set up marketing materials like a website or social media account to act as lead generation portals if you are savvy. Any point of contact potential customers or inventory sources have with you can wind up being a lead generation tool or a marketing and outreach tool. That’s why both rely so heavily on your CRM software and social media.

How They Are Different

Both of these strategies are about building your volume of business. Still, one is focused on identifying the immediate opportunities you can capitalize on, whereas the other is about long-term brand growth. They can overlap, and in most industries, they do, but that is not a prerequisite for either term.

Key Takeaways

Both lead generation and marketing are essential, and they dovetail in meaningful ways when you have a coherent strategy to make the most of their overlapping efforts. However, they are not the same thing, and your business needs a formal strategy and a tactical process for each one.

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