It’s common to wonder about what, if anything, differentiates lead generation from digital marketing. As this article shows, the two activities are somewhat distinct from one another; however, lead generation essentially acts as a support activity for digital marketing. At the same time, certain digital marketing techniques can work toward lead generation.

Digital Marketing: The Basics

The realm of digital marketing is a large one, as Investopedia’s Adam Barone points out. Essentially, any endeavor that makes use of the internet to attract potential customers falls under the digital marketing umbrella. Ads on desktop, tablet, and mobile web browsers and search engines all count, as do efforts made through social media and content marketing. Email campaigns, affiliate marketing, and video marketing are forms of digital marketing as well. It can even occur in video games, in apps, and through other avenues.

Digital marketing often works to target highly defined audiences. As an example, a dentist’s office that specializes in caring for children might hire a marketing agency to help them reach parents of potential patients in their nearby geographic area. 

Lead Generation’s Role

Digital marketing can be viewed as a way to guide customers all the way from discovering your company to making a purchase. Lead generation focuses on the first part of the journey: making customers aware of your business and interested in what it has for sale.

Certain parts of digital marketing are ideal for generating leads. Content marketing, for example, is a type of digital marketing that is particularly well-suited for the task. As an example of that at work, the aforementioned children’s dentist’s office might publish blog posts meant to attract clicks from area parents who have questions about caring for their children’s teeth. 

Other examples of digital marketing techniques that are suitable for generating leads include email marketing (especially when it targets specific prospects), search engine optimization with a local focus, and paid posts on social media. This is not an exhaustive rundown: There are many effective lead-generation tactics within digital marketing, and a creative marketing team will have plenty of ideas.