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.”

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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