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Some 44% of B2B companies gate content, but why is that the case? While it’s a safe assumption that it’s about acquiring more leads, there are also other benefits, according to a recent report [download page] from Walker Sands.

It’s true that close to two-thirds (62%) of the B2B marketers surveyed for the report who gate content cited earning qualified leads as their reason for doing so. However, more than half (53%) said they used gated content to add prospects into an automated marketing program.

Gated content is a way for 45% of respondents to add an air of exclusivity around their content. And, as ROI remains a key metric for marketers, gated content is also being used as a way to prove content ROI by more than one-third (36%) of those taking this approach.

Of course, there are challenges to using gated content. Notably, it acts as a barrier for prospects from giving accurate contact information. In fact, half (49%) of all the marketers surveyed said that having to enter personal information at least sometimes stops them from downloading content, including 3 in 10 (31%) who said it always keeps them from doing so.

The numbers are even more of a challenge when it comes to higher level marketers. Some 45% of those respondents with the title of Vice President or higher say that having to give personal information always stops them from downloading content.

Perhaps even more counter-productive, a study from NetLine Corporation revealed that almost half (47%) of VPs from enterprise-level companies actually give their personal email instead of their business emails when downloading gated content. While personal emails can be more evergreen than business ones, a key problem with prospects using personal emails, especially those through services like Gmail and Yahoo, is that it makes it difficult to trace the individual back to their organization.

Top Content Goals and Factors for Success

On the general subject of content, the top goal for producing content for 3 in 10 B2B organizations (29% share) is boosting sales/converting customers. While this was by far the single biggest goal for organizations, they also produce content to build relationships with new customers (19% share), increase brand awareness (18% share), maintain relationships with existing customers (16% share) and earn more credibility through thought leadership exposure (12% share).

To achieve these goals marketers look at various factors that are important to the success of their content programs. Some 23% of respondents believe that content being relevant to target audiences is the most important factor.

Content relevance can be beneficial in influencing decision-makers, with a separate study of B2B decision makers showing that half (47%) highlighted the importance of being supplied with specific information relevant to their current job.

The quality of content (21% share of respondents) was the second-most important factor in driving success cited in this latest report, followed by content standing out from competitors (19% share), the speed of content production (13% share) and diversity of content types (12% share).

Subject matter expertise is also a leading factor for some respondents. The importance of thought leadership is something that B2B organizations should not overlook. Prior research has shown that thought leadership plays an important role in the decision-making process and helps to build trust, increase admiration and provide clues for potential buyers.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The report is comprised of results of a survey of 300 B2B marketers with active roles in their companies’ current content programs.

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