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The Problem With Gated Content Campaigns

It’s just another transaction, right?

An email address for some quality content 🤝

What more could you want?

There’s something we’re forgetting here…

The customer!

Does giving away contact details mean they have intent to buy?

Are they ready to speak to sales and sign?

They loved the e-book, after all.

Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.

Let’s dive into the subject 👇

Transactional intent

When you download an e-book, you give away your contact details for a piece of content. 

It’s transactional!

Sales will then call you because of this source of intent.

So what’s the issue?

Liam Bartholomew, Global Head of Demand Generation at Cognism, explained:

“Transactional intent doesn’t really mean anything. I might be willing to hand over my contact details for a great piece of content. But I have no intention of buying.”

“I’ll give my contact details away for a quiz to win a chocolate bar!”

People get put off because they have no intention of buying. 

It’s not a good experience for the buyer either.

You might want to read a piece of content, but you don’t because a salesperson will hound you.

Previously, customers didn’t think like this. They’ve become programmed to expect this over time.

It seems lead generation is the natural response to aggressive growth targets.

Often companies are looking for the fastest way possible to generate leads.

Is this approach short-sighted?

Liam told us:

“Lead generation and content is just another form of outbound. If you launch a lead generation model, you might find you make some gains pretty quickly. But then it will peter out because ultimately there’s still no intent to buy.”

“If you’re patient with demand generation, you’ll reap the rewards later. Or you can be impatient for what seems like quick wins, to begin with, but it just doesn’t scale.”

With a lead generation model, you can keep the sales team busy but not efficient. 

Ultimately SDRs are good at their job; they get meetings booked. They can be hitting their target, but the appointments don’t go anywhere.

Liam explained:

“It happened during our journey. We were generating thousands of leads, and the revenue contribution was stuck at the same level. I’ll give away my contact details and turn up to a meeting, but I’m not going to sign. Very few of those leads will go on to become revenue.”

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Content isn’t fun

The problem with lead gen is that it forces you to create content that isn’t fun to consume. 

Fran Langham, Head of Demand Generation at Cognism, told us:

“We created a 100-page e-book on cold calling, and its primary goal was to generate leads. The content was good, but the format is way too restrictive. At the time, we didn’t think of distributing it elsewhere.”

Instead of leveraging creativity, you’re stuck with a boring format for bored prospects.

And does it even work?

If you like lists of people with inaccurate details and non-work emails…

Still not convinced?

Alice de Courcy, CMO at Cognism, makes the case for ungated content 👇


What B2B Marketers should be doing instead

Build an ungated media machine

A media machine, what does that even mean?

It’s about building your audience within your key subscriber channels.

For every company, this will look different. It depends on your persona and who you’re looking to speak to.

It involves creating processes that enable you to produce top-quality content consistently. This allows you to power many other areas of your marketing engine.

Without lead gen, you’ll have plenty of time for the new strategy.

There are three critical ingredients for a successful media engine:

  1. Quality of the content 
  2. A point of view 
  3. Consistency

Alice has particular standards for content. She told us:

“We don’t want to put content out there in the world unless you feel someone can learn something new. It should give them a competitive advantage; that’s the guardrail for quality.”

A point of view is essential; it helps focus on specific themes. 

Alice explained further:

“If you want to be known in your space, the most crucial ingredient is consistency.”

What if you have a small team?

Alice told us:

“Your team size shouldn’t prevent you from taking this approach. You just need to be more careful about where you focus your efforts.”

Repurposing is an effective hack. Content from live events and podcasts is excellent for this.

Demandism Live at Cognism is broken up in many different ways. Including podcasts, paid social, organic social, a newsletter and blogs.

Involving SMEs in content creation keeps your insights cutting edge.

Build ungated website journeys on your website

Is it easy to navigate through content on your site?

It’s a crucial question to ask yourself. 

Could you do things better?

Here are some things we’re trying:

  • Using Drift to highlight relevant content
  • CTAs and dynamic recommendations
  • Embedded video and audio
  • Interactive pages 

Build email nurtures on demand

Is it time for a Netflix-style email nurture?

The purpose of ungated content is to deliver it in the way it’s best consumed.

Can we judge when someone is ready for that next piece of content?

We shouldn’t be prescribing when anyone is ready for anything!

You don’t always have the time on your hands!

The idea of on-demand nurture is to access it as and when you want.

What could this look like?

Landing pages with a dropdown menu, providing options for content access.

You can access the content in one day or spread it out. The result is a tailored journey, offering maximum value to your audience.

Liam told us:

“I want to take the landing page further by making it more interactive. People can return when they want, even when the lead nurture is finished.”

Move away from compartmentalising content

In B2B, content is often only in the blog or under resources.

Elsewhere, you can’t find it!

So what is the alternative?

Liam told us:

“You could push the content out more widely. For example, relevant content on product pages. This way, your whole site is a media base for people to visit.”

Still want to gate your content?

Well, there’s another route to accurate contact data.

And it doesn’t involve a boring e-book…

Use a sales intelligence provider and move on from lead generation.

Or, you could speak to the best 👇

Generate leads your sales team will love


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