As terrifying as it may be for many sales and marketing executives to admit, today’s buyers have more control over the sales process than ever before. The Internet has dramatically transformed buyer behavior. Your prospects have access to vast amounts of content, and they want it on their terms.
In a prophetic 1998 Fast Company article, Seth Godin (who coined the term permission marketing) said, “We are entering an era that’s going to change the way almost everything is marketed to almost everybody.”
Gone are the days when your prospects would read glossy, image-laden brochures that are all about you. Your savvy, educated and overworked prospects will only invest time in reading your materials if your words offer value. They no longer tolerate traditional interruption marketing methods. They want you to educate them.
“The interruption model is extremely effective when there’s not an overflow of interruptions,” said Godin. “But there’s too much going on in our lives for us to enjoy being interrupted anymore.”
Not only is there too much going on in our lives, but also we have greater access to the content that will educate and entertain us.
Enter the white paper. White papers have become a powerful marketing tool because of two important qualities. First, white papers give readers the information they seek. They offer quality, relevant educational content. Second, white papers allow marketers to establish thought-leadership and earn readers’ attention and admiration by becoming their trusted advisors.
For businesses that see the demise of their interruption marketing methods, white papers are crucial. More importantly, white papers provide enormous opportunity. Among many benefits, they allow marketers to:
- Demonstrate expertise
- Establish thought-leadership
- Show competitive differentiation
- Demonstrate ROI potential
- Generate qualified sales leads
- Earn analyst and media exposure
- Support sales and marketing objectives
In short, white papers allow you to enter into an educated, informed conversation with your targeted buyer.
The above is an excerpt from “How B2B Companies Can Earn Trust and Establish Thought Leadership with White Papers: A White Paper on White Papers,” by Maureen Monfore, MM Copywriting.