White Papers- Information at a Price?

As we are revamping our white paper program here, the debate has begun:  Should people have to provide information about their firstborn to receive a white paper?  Looking around the industry, it seems that most authors require a sign up to download the paper.  But why is that necessary?  As a marketer, adding barriers to convey a message seems counterproductive.  Seems that the necessity to provide your name, email address, etc. would make you feel like a target for potentially unwanted contact.  Most internet users have become accustomed to getting information they want, when they want it, with no strings attached.  However, marketers covet contact information as a source of potential sales, and many view the information in a white paper as a valuable ‘product’.  Therefore, they view your contact information as the ‘price you pay’ for that productGiving up the coveted contact information of a potential customer would be somewhat painful to many. 

The main questions seem to be: Would you be more apt to read a white paper if you were not required to provide detailed information about yourself and your company?   Would you rather have access to the information in the white paper that is of interest to you (and may help you with a purchase decision) without the added pressure of knowing you will be contacted by the publishing vendor?  Or are you at the point where being contacted is okay and providing information isn’t a deterrent?  Fess up, how many of you have used pseudo names and contact info or have experienced someone else providing bogus info?

ERP Professionals—what are your thoughts on this topic?  Do you have clients that are scared to offer personal information, or do you think it wouldn’t make much difference either way?

What are your experiences and thoughts?

Posted by Lindsey Shinners, Director of Marketing, ProfitKey International
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4 Responses to White Papers- Information at a Price?

  1. Don Hebert says:

    I dislike having to provide contact information in order to read a white paper. If the white paper and/or the company providing it have something of value to offer me, a relationship might continue in future. If not then badgering me via the information I leave will not be useful.

    • profitkey says:

      Thanks Don. Good to hear an opinion from someone who reads whitepapers. We are starting to lean towards not requiring a sign up– waiting for others to respond.

  2. Greg Bakker says:

    I also do not like companies that make me give out info in order to learn about their company. I am “just looking” and will contact the company when I have questions.

    • profitkey says:

      Great to hear your opinion, Greg. We have a suspicion that many others might feel the same way. We want our potential clients to have as much valid information as possible so they can make a conscious decision and reach out to us when they are ready without receiving hounding, unsolicited calls or emails. Do you usually read whitepapers if providing information is required to do so?

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