Believe it or not, some INTERESTING stats on white papers.
I found this great blog that I read ALL the time, Michael Stelzner’s Writing White Papers. As you can imagine, the premise of the blog is about the art of creating and marketing whitepapers which he calls the Educational Marketing Revolution. He is really smart and writes some great stuff. People ask me what I recommend all the time, and I for one still recommend whitepaper syndication. (By the way as part of a marketing mix along with webinars, etc).
One thing about whitepaper marketing is that it is actual a bit ‘old school”, its been around for awhile and whitepapers certainly continue to face new lead generation types such as webinar, video, etc. Nonetheless, marketing spend continues to support whitepapers. Stelzner’s blog excerpted a quote from Don Hawk of TechTarget: “The number of orders for white paper-related programs increased by over 60% in Q1 ‘08 versus the first quarter of last year. “
Does this surprise you? When I was in lead development and inside sales management, I HATED Bitpipe and Knowledgestorm whitepapers leads. Those were the old days. If you or your sales people are still complaining about whitepaper leads, it is likely because you are processing them wrong and/or under the wrong expectations for these types of leads. What you need to know is that the best technology companies in the world ALL spend millions annually on whitepapers for lead generation and awareness, and that nurture marketing programs and lead qualification processes have given these companies the confidence to invest in whitepaper programs heavily. If your sales guys complain about whitepaper leads it is because you are actually sending them straight to them instead of nurturing them – and that my friends, is the bottom line.
I grabbed some cool statistics off his site about whitepapers:
A study by KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa found that users and marketing folks rank whitepapers as content they would register for. In fact, 79% of users said they will register for a white paper. That’s number #1 in the marketing mix according to the study.
Here is the breakdown. Nearly 2400 readers ranked their willingness to register for items as follows:
- White paper (79%)
- Case study (62%)
- Analyst report (56%)
- Product literature(45%)
- Demo (38%)
Interesting but not surprising, 72% of users said they were lured by a detailed pre-reg summary of the paper. Only 25% of the marketing professionals agreed. (Hello disconnect. By the way, Mr. Marketer, that statistic better be equal next survey or that proves that whatever one thinks about you, you live in La-la land)
What does this mean? Whitepapers still work as a form of lead generation. So when you say a “program didn’t work for us”, I hope it is measured after having gone through the proper lead qualification/nurture processes.