Why do White Papers Fail? Reason #1

Reason #1 – Sales Pitch

Reason #1 Why do White Papers Fail

White papers represent a significant investment of resources. Despite being a powerful tool when marketing to technical people, many white papers fail to return on that investment.

There’s a reason white papers are effective with engineers and similar thinkers. They like to research a problem before making a decision, and they don’t respond well to hype or attempts to pull an emotional chain. In fact, such techniques may very well backfire with an engineer.

This type of person isn’t shopping for a product, but instead are looking for the solution to a problem. A well-written white paper will educate the reader and offer solutions to that problem. While it’s obvious the solution you offer will align with your product, it isn’t necessary to put a spotlight there.

If you offer a solid solution, the engineer is smart enough to figure out who to call. After all, if you’ve just built credibility and trust, so you’ve become an authority. You don’t need to thrust the phone number into the engineer’s face. The call to action at the end of a white paper is subtle, or even implied.

If the so-called white paper ends with a sales pitch, most likely the engineer will discard the paper and consider it a waste of time. If the sales pitch is in big and colorful letters that proclaim the product’s greatness, the engineer probably won’t even pick it up.

Sales pitches have a place in marketing and sales. A white paper isn’t that place.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

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