For an industry that’s all about creating understanding, marketing sure has some confusing terms. From complex concepts to unique jargon, marketing lingo is truly its own language. This can make understanding different strategies and practices quite difficult.
One of the biggest points of confusion we most often see is mixing up lead generation and inbound marketing. While many use these terms interchangeably, they are actually two distinct concepts. Understanding this subtle but important difference is critical to mastering your digital marketing strategy.
Here we look at what each of these concepts is and how it could help your business.
What is Lead Generation?
As the name suggests, lead generation is all about creating a demand for your products and services. It focuses on connecting with potential customers and encouraging them to engage with your business. It also lays the groundwork for a long-term relationship, priming them to make a purchase.
Lead generation is typically thought of in terms of the different stages of the marketing funnel. This details the journey that potential customers go on when making purchasing decisions and matches appropriate promotional activities to each stage. It also highlights the wide range of lead generation activities available.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing refers to the development and delivery of content that engages potential customers. The primary aim of this content is to build awareness and buy-in, so it needs to be relevant and educational. It also needs to provide real value to potential customers, incentivising them to engage with your business further.
Unlike outbound marketing, where the business initiates contact, inbound activities encourage and enable a potential customer to make the first move. As such, it needs to provide the right information, in the right places, at the right time. Activities and messaging also need to be consistent to help reinforce credibility and build trust.
Which is best for my business?
Most businesses could benefit from a combination of lead generation and inbound marketing activities. In fact, these two concepts work hand-in-hand as inbound marketing is one way to generate leads. Or, put another way, lead generation is the strategy, and inbound marketing is one of the accompanying tactics.
With that in mind, it’s important to give attention to both lead generation and inbound marketing. Equally, you can also focus on other complementary lead generation activities, like PR, sales enablement, and outbound marketing. Together, these create a comprehensive, holistic, and (hopefully) high-performing customer marketing strategy.
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