White Papers: beware the cynical prospect

Despite White Papers having been a staple product in marketing for perhaps 20 years, many companies are only considering them as a possibility for the first time. I’m not going to knock that – if it’s an angle which hasn’t been exploited in your market sector, go for it. White Papers remain a brilliant way to build your prospect base and show your technical authority at the same time. They are pieces of marketing collateral which you can get written for the cost of a page advert in a magazine and which will work as a conversion piece for a long time.

However, there’s one important thing to remember: White Papers have been abused in recent years by businesses with a short-term outlook. There are a lot of prospects out there who’ve been sent some rubbish with a “White Paper” label slapped on it. So if you’ve produced a genuinely good White Paper, giving prospects a properly informed insight into a technology or an issue, then make sure they know how useful it’s going to be. This could mean showing excerpts, or the contents. When it comes to assessing your customers’ attitude, always assume the utmost cynicism.

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