Reason #9 – Wrong Voice
Would a salesman use the same presentation script when speaking to a group of engineers, a group of accountants, and the board of executives? Of course not, so why would white papers be any different?
A white paper is written for a specific audience and shouldn’t be forced into multiple roles. The accountant doesn’t usually speak engineering, nor does the accountant care about the same things an engineer cares about. The accountant wants to learn about the return on investment in language the accountant speaks every day.
The engineer, while probably understanding the fiscal aspects, is far more interested in whether a product or method will solve a problem, and will read minutia and very technical language without hesitation.
The board of executives, while likely consisting of people educated in finance, engineering, or a variety of other subjects, simply doesn’t have the time to get into details. They need executive summaries that give the high points but never talks down to them. If an executive wants more details, the executive will ask for it, either from the vendor, or from the underling who originally evaluated your product.
Go ahead and use the resources to put a white paper into the proper language for each intended audience. After all, engineers may evaluate the product, but they generally don’t get to write the checks.
This post originally appeared on my LinkedIn account.