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A case against whitepapers

Forget the statistics that claim these marketing materials should still make up the majority of your inbound marketing campaigns for a minute.

Is no one else bored with reading page upon page of whitepapers that don’t communicate anything new? These ‘non-promotional’ PDFs promise to help increase brand awareness, drive sales and further  professional development. However, they often don’t live up to their claims.

So, in a world where everything is speeding up, why do black and white poorly constructed whitepapers stay at the top of B2B marketers to do list?

I have come up with three reasons. Whitepapers remain at the top because they are...

1. Easy to create.
These documents have been the backbone of B2B marketing campaigns from the beginning of time. Marketers, even those with only little experience, know the formula and understand what works and what doesn’t. Basically marketing departments are following the celebrated philosophy: ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’

2. Spacious.
Unlike social updates, infographics or blog posts, whitepapers give marketers the range to fit, or attempt to cram, all their company’s knowledge into one space. This allows businesses the room to put on quite a performance in order to prove they are the best in class. Yet, with an abundance of space many become rambling pieces of dialogue with no clear concise message.

3. Able to provide results.
B2B Marketing’s ‘The state of B2B content marketing 2013’ inforgraphic revealed that whitepapers are the second most effective content type. However, this doesn’t mean they are the only content that can produce results. Too many identical whitepapers are being produced and it’s getting boring – marketers need to think outside the box.

In 2014 it would be nice to see a few B2B marketers stepping away from the traditional to create fresh, innovative and interesting content campaigns that shake up the industry and prove once and for all that producing tonnes of whitepapers is unnecessary.