Study Shows Marketing Power of White Papers

    March 27, 2007

White papers bring great value to those seeking them, according to a major study of more than 4,000 business-to-business marketing and business professionals.

This is especially true in the technology world, where white papers are one of the leading sources of lead generation.

If you have been wondering whether white papers or case studies should be part of your marketing mix, be sure to read further.

In a new study, How Technology Marketers Meet Buyers’ Appetite for Content, KnowlegeStorm and MarketingSherpa reveal some amazing insight into what both marketing pros and technology buyers think about white papers.

Some key findings include:

White papers are the most frequently read content: At the top of list, 71% of survey participants indicated they read/consume white papers more than case studies, product literature, articles from industry journalists, analyst reports, company websites, webcasts, blogs, online video and postcasts.

White papers are highly viral marketing tools: Nearly 3 in 5 technology professionals (57%) pass white papers along to colleagues and coworkers—more so than any other marketing tool. Case studies were listed 5th, at 47 percent.

We asked Matt Lohman, director of market research for KnowledgeStorm, why he thought the pass around factor of white papers was rated so high. He said:

White papers tend to be widely accepted as credible resources for thought leadership and subject matter expertise. It’s natural that they would be a popular type of content to share, especially during the research phase of the buying cycle, when there is the greatest amount of general information gathering.

Marketing professionals under utilizing white papers: Only 35 percent of marketing professionals sited white papers or analyst reports were offered as an incentive in more than 50 percent of their promotions. Case studies and product literature were cited as the more common marketing materials, with white papers coming in third.

This study clearly supports the value of white papers in the marketing mix. Readers love them and pass them around. Marketing professionals should continue to develop marketing programs around white papers to benefit from the viral nature of these super marketing weapons.

What are your thoughts about this study?