“When you look at Google Trends data, inbound marketing is still a highly searched term, while demand generation is searched much less frequently. But conversations with CEOs and CMOs show businesses are much more interested in a proactive demand generation methodology than an inbound methodology.”

An interesting observation from the team at Square2Marketing that draws attention, in my opinion, to two important points.

I believe confusing terminology plus media hype, drives behavior among time-strapped executives. Inbound has been a buzzy term that has created a lot of media exposure for years. Most executives may not identify with the term “demand generation.” Marketers use the jargon. Executives think macro – market awareness, pipeline growth, sales quotas, and closed deals.

I fairly in alignment with the mainstream definition which according to Wikipedia is, “Demand generation is the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services.” So my view of demand generation as an overarching focus while inbound, outbound and account-based marketing (ABM) are ways of performing it seems in alignment. As such, I believe that most companies across industries would benefit from a hybrid approach that includes elements from each.

I would caution anyone subscribing to a single methodology. Marketing and sales teams are tasked with goals to achieve within specific timeframes, budgets, and skill-sets. The best approach is to build a demand generation program that effectively fits the unique situation.

If you are a start-up and you need to gain quick traction, launching only an inbound marketing program will take too long. A better approach is to leverage your salesperson (or team) to start an outbound program. Depending on available resources, elements of inbound can be integrated. Even account-based marketing, at least a hybrid ABM version, could also condition the way outbound is planned and executed. Taking elements from each to build a demand generation program that meets your requirements may work out best overall.