Traditional white papers are likely the staple of your content marketing portfolio, and for good reason. According to a recent IDG survey, 84% of buyers leveraged white papers as a key resource to help them make a purchase decision.
Across the buyer’s decision-making journey, white papers are leveraged:
- 35% during the early Discovery phase, for finding new ideas and potential solutions – helping answer “Why Change?”
- 23% during the middle Consideration phase, assessing the priority of the issue and creating a short list of vendors, helping answer “Why Now?”
- 10% in the final Decision phase – determining which solution can best deliver the lowest cost, least risk, and best value solution, helping answer “Why Your Solution?”
Your current white papers just don’t have the same impact they once had … but why?
Here’s a couple of reasons we may be seeing the change:
- Marketing overload – Buyers now receive 32% more marketing campaigns than they did just five years ago (SiriusDecisions). Likely your traditional white paper fueled marketing campaigns are getting lost in a sea of look-alikes, with little to differentiate your white papers from the hundreds of others.
- Short attention span theater – The typical white paper is just too long. The typical white paper is now more than 10 pages according to IDG, lengthened to address more complex challenges and solutions, and the need for different stakeholder and vertical focused messaging. And the content, its just too text heavy for today’s more visually stimulated audience.
- More frugal – Buyers today are inflicted with Frugalnomics, and respond more favorably to business / bottom-line oriented content. Yet most white papers remain too technical and don’t have the value messaging and quantification that today’s buyer demands.
- Make it personal – The Internet and other consumer technologies have spoiled B2B Prospects with the expectation that they can get any content they want fully customized and tailored to their personal preferences. However, traditional whitepapers are one-size-fits-all with little personalization and lagging relevance.
Evolving to Interactive White Papers
An Interactive White Paper (powered by Alinean) is a web application that uses a Prospect’s own profile to intelligently filter, create, assemble and deliver a fully personalized, more concise white paper
- Company Name
- Size (number of employees or revenue)
- Role of the buyer in the decision making process
- Assets and spending
- Personalized – to include just the the right challenges, opportunities, solution recommendations and case studies
- Concise – because content is filtered to only include that which is deemed most relevant to the buyer’s role and needs
- Rational – including content which typically quantifies the “cost of doing nothing” and value of proposed solutions
- Emotional – to include more customized visuals and video to stimulate buyer interest and provide emotional buying triggers matched to the buyer’s role in the decision making process and challenges.