What is the right approach to inbound marketing—putting forms in front of your content for lead generation purposes or leaving the content totally free for distribution purposes?

In an effort to tackle this question, Mike Volpe , HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, and David Meerman Scott , HubSpot’s Marketer in Residence, engage in a debate.

"At one level, yes, it’s great to have your content spread far and wide as much as possible. On the flipside, though, most marketers have goals in terms of the number of leads they need to generate and you are responsible to your boss," says Mike. In order to support the sales team adequately and give them something tangible to follow up on, a business has to use forms to generate leads.

David, on the other hand, believes it is more important to let your content spread farther by not putting any forms in front of it. "The analysis I have done around form versus no form has suggested that there is a 50:1 ratio whether people will download or not," says David. For example, if a behind-a-form offer enjoyed 1000 downloads, that same offer would have gotten 50 000 downloads if it were not behind a form.

Visit this page to see a transcript of the entire debate.

Since all the comments this debate provoked were so great, we did a random selection of 5 commenters below. The  Real-Time Marketing & PR  will be sent to:  Ralph Matthew Nelson Chuck Jones Lee Kirkby  and  John Stevens Thank you all for the participation!

Originally published Jan 18, 2011 9:30:00 AM, updated February 28 2018