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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Discover the Value of White Papers

Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Marketing Tribe Leader Marka taught rookie customer-service rep Aetius how to create an excellent “baseline study” in advance of a case study. This week, Marka shows Aetius how white papers can function as effective informational pieces for B2B companies. Remember, fire = print.

Six months after creating a baseline study for Sully’s Stonecarving Factory, Aetius checked in with Sully. Sure enough, the business was on track to achieve the annual $5,000 Drachma savings it had estimated—all from using FEI’s FireStarter Kilns.

“I was thinking about Sully’s,” Aetius said to Marka one day as they lunched in the break room. “I bet a lot of similar manufacturing businesses are bleeding Drachmas because they use their kilns inefficiently. We should write an article explaining how FireStarter kilns can help these businesses greatly reduce manufacturing expenses.”

 “How about a white paper?” Marka suggested.

“A what?”

“In B2B marketing,” Marka began, “Companies often put out white papers. These are extensive formal reports that demonstrate how a certain solution can be used to solve a common business problem.”

“Like a research paper?” Aetius asked.

“Kind of. White papers are informational pieces that educate FEI prospects about specific solutions. By demonstrating FEI’s expertise on important industry topics, they enhance our thought leadership status.”

Aetius was a little confused. “So how do white papers help us sell?”

Marka was indignant. “The point of white papers is to educate, Aetius. That said, FEI’s white papers will always focus on solutions we offer ourselves. But we can never mention the FEI solution by name. Instead of titling our white paper ‘FEI’s FireStarter Kiln Makes Stonecarving More Efficient,’ we’ll title it ‘Long-Burning Kilns Make Stonecarving More Efficient.’”

”I get it,” Aetius said.

“White papers can elevate FEI’s thought leadership,” Marka said. “To accomplish this, white papers must take a formal tone like that of a research paper. They must also, of course, contain excellent ideas. White papers should be more understated than our typical marketing materials. We can include graphs and pictures if relevant, but no flashy graphics, big calls-to-action, or anything like that.”

“What do we do with the white paper once it’s done?” Aetius asked.

“We distribute it to customers as appropriate,” Marka said. “We arm our sales staff with the white paper, send it out in response to inquiries...if it’s good enough, maybe we even try submitting to manufacturing-related pubs like StoneCarver’s World.”

“This has been enlightening, Marka!” Aetius said. “I’ll contact Sully’s again to gather the data we’ll need to create this white paper.”

“Fantastic! Can you get me another cup of coffee while you’re up?” Marka asked, joking.

Next week: FEI ace designer Cecil shows the FEI tribe how to effectively use white space in design.

Today’s FIRE! Point
White papers are excellent informational pieces that can also elevate your company’s thought leadership.

FIRE! In Action: Vircom Uses White Paper to Generate Sales

The anti-spam software developer released a white paper called “Why Spammers Spam.” The whitepaper cost just $1,700 to create but generated almost $100,000 worth of sales.

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