How is Lead Generation Different from Advertising?

May 1, 2023

Marketing is one of the most complex pillars of any business. Digital marketing made it cheaper and made customer targeting much easier for companies. However, advances in marketing may have made the process much more complicated. 

In the past, lead generation was basically a company’s sales team picking up the phone and cold calling potential clients. But as you can imagine from the reputation sales reps get today, this was probably not the best approach.

First forward to today and lead generation, advertising and marketing have become broader and avenues that each business needs to explore. However, anyone looking online for how to start a lead generation business will tell you there is a lot of confusion between lead generation and advertising, so let us first define these terms.


This is the communication you provide to your potential clients. It is basically you telling them about your business, your products, and how you are different from your competitor. While the ultimate goal of advertising is to get sales, the main idea is to communicate your brand message. Advertising goes hand in hand with branding, as the message you portray through your advertising will shape the image of your company. 


This is an umbrella term including everything involved in getting sales. It includes market research, ads, lead generation, and sales. In simple words, it is the process of promoting your services or products to your target market.

Lead generation:

Lead generation is part of marketing. It is considered the process of stimulating interest and developing a sales pipeline for potential clients. The goal is to convert a lead into a customer. Any marketing expert will tell you that it is much easier to maintain a client than acquire a new one. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to convert a one-time client into a recurring and loyal customer.

What is the Lead Generation Process?

As we have stated, lead generation is one pillar in marketing and perhaps the most important because this is the strategy that will lead to you making sales. But how do you make this process as streamlined as possible? What is the best possible route to success? 

With digital marketing constantly changing, it can be hard to imagine a formula that works and has stood the test of time. But while digital marketing tactics change, customer traits almost always stay the same. Meaning the lead generation template has stayed unchanged. 


Awareness is the first step to any good lead generation campaign. At this stage, you need to put the word out there about your product. Communicate what you do and why you are different from your competitors. Let your clients know where to find you and what your company stands for. 

Does this sound familiar? (check Advertising definition above)

The awareness phase is basically the advertisement phase where you communicate to potential clients about your products or services. At this stage, the main objective of your advertising is to put your name out there. While you may make sales and get leads, the main objective is awareness.


Once your potential client base is “aware” of your product, the next stage is client consideration. At this phase, people who are interested in your products or services will start inquiring about your services through more direct routes. 

For example, if you are a local business and appear in the 3-stack Google results, they may click on your business address or phone number. They may also fill your contact form and leave their personal information like their email address, phone number, and name.

At this stage, you can now consider the people who left you their details as leads!

But it does not end there; having a lead is probably the most delicate stage you can be in; your next step will determine whether they convert or reject your offer.

During consideration, remarketing and follow-ups are essential. However, being too pushy will lead to a lower conversion rate. At this point, you can call your leads and explain in detail more about your products. You can send them coupons through email blasts and social media remarketing tactics. 

The reason remarketing is so important during consideration is that you want your company to stay top of mind, which can lead to a better conversion rate. 


With your remarketing tactics in play, conversion is the next logical and perhaps the most satisfying step in the lead generation process. At this point, your potential clients make a purchase, and you can finally say you have made a sale.


But the process is not over once you convert, you now have a customer, but the key is to make them loyal customers. The best approach for this is to ensure once again you stay top of mind. You can do this by recycling your remarketing tactics, putting them in an email list, and using social media marketing tools like Facebook Pixel to retarget your ads.

Verdict: What is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Advertising 

As you can see, both Lead generation and advertising are under the marketing umbrella. The ultimate goal for both these marketing pillars is to get you sales. Advertising gets you awareness and branding, while lead generation helps you create a list of the best potential clients. 

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