Veteran marketers may tend to become jaded about the value of white papers, but that’s unwise. For one thing, they’re still influential. For another, not everybody knows what they are.
Eccolo Media has released its 2011 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, covering 501 executives of US companies with influence on technology decisions. I want to mention two findings in particular.
White paper consumption down, influence up
White paper consumption decreased 14 percentage points since 2010, from 76 percent to 62 percent.
However, white paper influence increased from 41 percent to 65 percent, as measured by the number of respondents who found white papers influential or very influential.
So, marketing managers may encounter internal resistance to white paper campaigns because “fewer people read them,” but those who do read them, rely on them more.
So, write better papers and assume that they’ll be of greater impact.
Not everybody knows about white papers
This one really threw me.
Twenty-eight percent reported that they began consulting white papers for the first time in the last six months.
So there you are, a marketing manager assuming that most decision-makers will instinctively reach for a white paper, when in fact 28 percent of your audience had never used one until recently.
Have that many people been promoted from the shop floor to management in the last six months? Unlikely in a – can we talk? – double-dip recession.
So, no matter how big the intended audience of your white paper, assume that it could handily be about one third larger.
Have a look at the entire report (free download) from Eccolo Media. It’s a good arrow to have in your marketing manager’s quiver.
photo credit: Jesse757