From Inbound Marketing to Demand Generation

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What is Demand Generation? What’s the difference between Demand Gen and Inbound Marketing?


Inbound Marketing and Demand Generation are not two foreign concepts, but complementary elements: Inbound is interwoven with Demand Generation, and comes to compose an effective and proactive marketing strategy, compiled with lead generation. To take advantage of these tactics and develop our business through web-marketing, we need to think globally, with an action plan combining several approaches, adapted to your business model, your objectives, and the available budget

Inbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing is a marketing tactic with a clear objective: to bring customers to Agorapulse rather than to pick them up. Moving away from traditional marketing, the idea is to create value-added, qualitative and relevant content, and to strategically distribute it through appropriate channels, to help our prospects in their research around our field of activity. This approach consists in bringing knowledge to prospects while highlighting our expertise. Inbound Marketing is therefore essentially based on an effective content strategy.

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Image source: HubSpot

Demand Generation

Demand Generation is defined as the set of digital marketing techniques used to generate interest in identified prospects for our solutions. It is, in a way, a mix of several web-marketing techniques (inbound, outbound, lead generation, and social selling) integrated into a structured sales process.

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Image source: UnboundB2B

Differences and similarities

Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing should not be seen as two different approaches to web-marketing, but as two complementary notions.

Demand Generation could be described as the “first step” to go looking for prospects who don’t know us at all, and Inbound Marketing as the “second step” to go looking for prospects who are already interested in our sector of activity, or who are already present in our customer portfolio. So, Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing work differently and do not activate the same levers.


Inbound is focused on marketing, while Demand Generation is focused on sales. Indeed, Inbound allows us to attract the attention of prospects, increase our visibility, demonstrate our expertise, improve our image and that of our offer by positioning us as a creator of value-added content. Demand Generation is part of a more complete marketing process that combines outbound and inbound marketing, with the ultimate goal of driving sales and generating revenue.

The Demand Generation is a global marketing plan, it encompasses several web marketing tactics: paid advertising, emailing, social networks, free trial, webinar organization, free white paper download… In the implementation, all the techniques are grouped together. This is why in many companies a demand generation manager will take care of organizing all these marketing channels and optimizing them to have a relevant sales tunnel. In this context, Inbound Marketing is one of the key tactics included in the spectrum of demand generation.


Inbound marketing, like Demand Generation, have a common goal: to generate interest in our solution, with different types of prospects, through targeted marketing approaches. The main goal is to develop the business.

Some Demand Generation techniques are actually Inbound Marketing tactics; for example, making white papers available for free download or creating Webinars can fit right into the Demand Generation box as well as inbound marketing. Demand Generation will simply integrate Inbound Marketing into a larger plan.

Both Inbound Marketing and Demand Generation allow our company to create new sales contacts, generate qualified and mature leads, to obtain a better conversion rate with customers who are more advanced in their purchasing process.

Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing optimize the marketing process and generate sales through an efficient and structured sales tunnel.

Inbound Marketing and Demand Generation aim to create quality relationships with our customers, which we can keep alive and perpetuate over the long term.