The courageous CMO: Does not gate content
Gating, or using lead capture forms to capture data, is one of the leading methods of lead generation in digital marketing, especially in B2B marketing. Here, the company gathers information about potential buyers and stakeholders by offering content such as articles, videos, whitepapers and eBooks in exchange for personal information, such as name and email address. The company uses this data to take leads through a segmented customer journey, increase conversions, and measure and optimise various marketing efforts across channels.
A roadblock between company and customer
Today, gating as a strategic tool faces many challenges. People want knowledge, enlightenment and entertainment quickly and easily. They are less willing to give away personal information. The lead capture form is a barrier between the company and the audience. The content can have excellent quality, but if this form makes people change their minds because they are not ready to buy at that moment, the company risks that not enough people see the content in the first place.
An article published by Forbes points out that gating should be used late in the customer journey and that CMOs considering using gating should focus on two questions: What are the company’s overall marketing and business goals? And is the brand strong enough for gating to work?
The brand needs building
In increasingly challenging markets, it is precisely the brand that most companies should prioritise; This requires the company to spend time building a good reputation and establishing itself in the market. Andreas Thue, CEO of Iteo, believes that this should be at the heart of every company’s long-term marketing strategy:
“Companies that want to succeed need to invest in branding. They must provide people with valuable content that acquaints them with their business and what they can offer without requiring anything from people too early in the customer journey. A strong brand provides integrity, builds trust and allows the company to be considered a preferred partner and supplier over time,” says Thue.
Branding is at the top of the “funnel”, allowing companies to assess the quality of leads before they become sales-ready. Then you can also decide what measures should be implicated in the various channels in a better way.
Good content increases visibility
For branding to succeed, the company must make itself visible to a broad audience, preferably outside the main target groups. Sure enough, countless measurements show that open content generates more views than gated; it strengthens SEO rankings and increases spread to their networks. High-quality content is a prerequisite and should be high on the priority list.
Ville Murtojärvi is Head of Digital Marketing at the international B2B agency, Luxid, BBN’s partner in Finland. He and his colleagues constantly see that other methods provide better lead generation for their customers, both in quantity and quality. Therefore, he rarely recommends gating to his customers. “A courageous CMO should be confident that the content is good enough to create leads and sales.” Ville says that providing free value creates trust and warms up the audience, making them more ready to ‘commit’ later.
Collect data in other ways
Among the different ways to collect data, Murtojärvi gives this example: “A short and engaging introductory video can provide data on who has seen the video and how much they have watched; This can indicate a potential customer base, which may then be offered something else, such as a carousel ad. The further along the customer journey, the stronger the interest of the audience that stays behind without you pushing a purchase. When you later request information through, for example, a webinar invitation, you know that the audience is genuinely interested,” says Murtojärvi.
Ultimately, it boils down to the question: When we know that gating can buckle the bones of branding — and we can acquire leads in other ways — does gating belong in a modern marketing strategy? For Thue, this is a done deal – there should be no gating on the creative elements that are highest up in the funnel.
Five reasons why you should ditch the lead capture form
Better organic visibility: Open content can lead to better SEO, lower bounce rates, and higher conversion rates – in short, your business becomes more visible online and creates more traffic among a wider audience.
Reach new customers: People are less willing to share personal data today, especially to a brand they don’t know. Don’t lose potential buyers who can find free content with a competitor. Instead, build trust, give them value, and let them get to know you without asking for anything too soon.
Better spread: Is sharing content that requires your friends and acquaintances to share their contact data equally tempting? Most likely not. Lower the threshold for your audience to share your content with their networks in channels like Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
Less fake data: You have no guarantee that people will provide accurate information, and a contact list full of fake email addresses or phone numbers provides no value for further marketing.
More effective methods: Today, several alternative ways exist to collect valuable data about your audience, including through open content; This allows you to build both a possible customer base and your brand simultaneously.