The debate for white paper is intensifying in the b2b blogosphere about whether the white papers are still relevant for b2b marketing. But if you ask me, then honestly speaking, white papers are still an integral part of b2b marketing. This article will state you the reasons why white paper is still essential for b2b marketing.

From last few months I have been reading many blogs and articles where the speculations have been created that the end of white papers are not very far. Rather going with the speculation, I would say white papers are still valuable.
Before proving with some important data, first we need to understand what white paper is and how it works.

White Paper
White papers are a highly effective platform to convey the right mix of technical and marketing information to knowledgeable customers who make the final decision. A well written white paper educates your customer, differentiates your product and brings you closer to a sale with a self selected and interested audience.
For decision makers, white papers are the shortest and most efficient solution to evaluate a product and view independent research /surveys that support the products credibility. Decision makers look to white papers to answer the question – How will your product help solve my business needs.
A white paper (also known as an issues paper, position paper or thought leadership paper) frames certain issues that are of interest to a specific industry. White papers...
• Educate
• Clarify the broad outlines of an issue/topic to non-specialists
• Summarize the implications of new business development
• State specific approaches to a particular issue or market
• Introduce a new opinion/way of thinking to business

White Paper matters!
If you have the ability to create white papers that help your customers and prospects, and also get you leads and build credibility and trust, then white paper still matters. There are so many firms for whom whitepaper still proves itself empirically (downloads, time spent on page, repeat visitor of page) as a great way to educate less-ready leads and tell them about an emerging space, technology or service.

Battle-Proving Stats
As per latest trends:
• 54% indicate white papers are still the most important content to help make purchase decisions, greatly exceeding all other content such as analyst reports, webinars, user events and case studies.
• 41% indicate white papers as extremely important in influencing purchases.
• 70% of IT buyers used white papers to get information on enterprise technology solutions in the past three months.
• 77% of respondents responsible for either making b2b technology purchase or influencing purchasing decisions read at least one white paper in the first six months of 2011, with 84% rating white papers as moderately to extremely influential when making final purchasing decisions, and 89% passing along to others.
So, are these trends indicating a death of white papers? The answer is, white papers are and have been one of the top forms of lead generation. Here we go with some of the proved reasons:
Reason 1 - They are viral by nature. People pass them around, post them and email them to other people. Yes, you can do that with a link also, but there is something powerful about a packaged and polished PDF.
Reason 2 - Even the ones that suck, people still save them, people print them, people study them, and people use them to make decisions.
Reason 3 - And if you are talking about the future, then don’t forget about the IPad and the Kindle. People still love reading a good quality content. The white paper may change names (i.e. eBook) or access requirements, but it will never die.
So forget about the speculation, the reality is that white paper still rank as the first or second most powerful tools available to marketers. They still represent a concise and portable argument on a particular topic and can be tremendous lead generators.


Author's Bio: 

Linda Mentzer is a published author and senior marketing manager for an information management company that has helped sell thousands of software products on a global scale. With over 11 years of experience in electronic marketing techniques, Linda has authored articles for several leading business journals, worldwide.