Without Demand Generation, Lead Generation Doesn’t Stand A Chance 

Published: March 15, 2024

Only 5% of businesses are in the market to buy your products or services at any one time, meaning 95% of businesses aren’t currently in a buying cycle. This surprising concept — known as the 95:5 rule — means that brand building activities such as public relations, social media and advertising mostly hit B2B buyers with no immediate buying plans. While it may seem counterintuitive to prioritize brand marketing for out-of-market prospects, it’s key to growing your customer base over time.

Why Does This 95:5 Rule Matter?

If buyers don’t know your brand when they are ready to make a purchase, it’s too late. Eighty percent to 90% of B2B buyers already have a set list of potential vendors in mind before starting any research, and 90% of the time they end up choosing a provider from that list. That’s why it’s critical to build awareness and create a preference for your brand with the 95% of future buyers: When they are ready to buy, you want your brand at the forefront of their mind and on their short list.

Battle Between Short-Term & Long-Term Marketing Activities

Business pressures of building immediate pipeline and sales impact often tempt marketers to focus on short-term lead generation activities with in-market buyers. However, you can’t fall into the trap of looking at your website analytics and thinking your demand generation activities are falling short because they’re not immediately engaging prospects to take further action.

Out-of-market buyers read news articles and blogs to stay informed and educate themselves and, because they’re typically not be ready to make a purchase, they’re not clicking and going deep into your site. However, they often save the article for future reference or remember the source when the time comes.

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The Difference Between Demand Gen & Lead Gen

Some marketers and executives use the terms “demand generation” and “lead generation” interchangeably. Yet, there are important differences — mainly in their strategic focuses. Demand generation extends beyond brand awareness to target potential clients, while lead generation homes in on capturing prospects actively entering the buying cycle.

While lead generation is essential for engaging the 5% currently in the buying mindset, demand generation ensures your product or service is on the radar of the broader market. Brand awareness in demand generation is about making your brand known and creating an association with a specific product or service.

Both Demand & Lead Generation Are Essential to Grow Your Business

This go-to-market (GTM) framework shows how both demand generation and lead generation approaches are essential to growing and retaining your business. The marketing and sales execution funnel navigates a strategic journey from educating potential buyers about a brand, its products and services to the crucial phases of selling and customer relationship management.

Early Stages

In the initial stages, marketing efforts are dedicated to generating demand for your brand among a broad audience. Brand building activities such as public relations, media relations, top of funnel content, social media and websites focus on attracting attention, raising awareness and providing valuable information to potential customers. These efforts should all be aimed at educating prospects about your brand so they develop a preference for your product or service.

Middle Stages

As prospects and buyers progress through the marketing and sales execution funnel, marketers can capture interest and interact with a more targeted audience through a variety of lead generation activities. These initiatives include strategies such as email marketing to trade show leads, developing middle of funnel​​ content and producing your own events (including webinars and podcasts) to identify and capture potential clients who have expressed explicit interest in a product or service.

Late Stages

Next, the focus shifts toward conversion and sales activities, where the emphasis is on showcasing the unique value proposition and addressing specific customer needs. This is when sales and subject matter experts engage in conversation and conduct individual meetings with the prospect to learn about their business issue, propose recommended solutions and submit a formal statement of work.


Once the prospective buyer becomes a customer, the relationship transitions to the post-sales phase and effective customer relationship management comes into play. This involves:

  • Delivering ​on your company’s brand promise;
  • Producing ​high quality products and services that solve the client’s business issues;
  • Providing excellent customer service;
  • Maintaining ongoing communication​; and
  • Emailing personal and relevant content with new insights.

Ensuring client satisfaction to foster loyalty is essential to generate repeat business and client retention. The seamless transition from education to sales and subsequent relationship management is integral to building a strong, enduring connection between the brand and its clients.


Marketing strategies that include the right mix of demand and lead generation activities are essential for business growth. Demand generation focuses on increasing your brand awareness targeted at the 95% of buyers that are currently not looking for a solution, while lead generation focuses on capturing the 5% of prospects who are active buyers.

Focusing on attracting attention and creating awareness of your brand with a wider audience positions your businesses for long-term success by staying top of mind when people are ready to buy.

Veronica Zanellato Kido is a marketing communications specialist and president of Kido Communications, a boutique PR firm that focuses on high-touch campaigns. With nearly 20 years of corporate marketing and public relations agency experience, she has worked with startup and large-sized technology product and professional services firms. Kido has successfully built brand identities; created effective and compelling positioning and messaging; and developed and implemented global marketing communications and public relations strategies.

Posted in: Demanding Views

Tagged with: Kido Communications

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