It looks like Avaya Data Networks, having digested that sumptuous Nortel meal, are positioning their convergent network solutions around a marketing meme tagged as ‘Fit for Purpose’.
That wee gem is not the subject of today’s post because there’s plenty of copywriting gold to be panned in one of Avaya’s recent white paper offerings.
My white paper ‘senpai’, Jonathan Kantor, alerted me to yet another example of multinationals running rough shod over the educational marketing opportunities that white papers deliver, with this provocative post:
How to Lose Your Reader on the First White Paper Page (Dec 2016 update: Site offline)
It’s an interesting read of what can happen when the temptation to shoehorn mini-case studies into what could have been an authoritative white paper has resulted in a cross between a sales brochure, data sheet and case study.
Somehow I doubt that’s what Avaya’s marketing folks had in mind. But that’s how I’m reading it.
Are White Papers from Venus and Case Studies from Mars?
Or something like that!
The point being that a well-written and visually attractive white paper will capture the marketing high ground in a prospect’s mind simply by giving away credible information about a problem-solution of interest to that prospect.
And all without trying to ram the vendor’s own gee-whiz, alphabet-soup concoction down their gagging throats. That’s not why they signed up for it in the first place.
The white paper needs to be as subtle in vendor positioning as Aphrodite was in selling her very obvious charms. To borrow a dating metaphor, it’s often what you’re not showing that gets the most attention…
Some technology companies would do well to carefully review what they’ve put on very obvious display, long before the mating ritual’s even got to the hand-holding stage.
As for the case studies?
Well, in working with Casey Hibbard’s mentoring program, it’s as plain as daylight that the extended social proof that case studies bring is a key component of helping future customers see what’s in it for them.
And, for the life of me, I can’t see how mixing customer case study elements in a white paper is building credibility in the prospect’s mind.
More likely he/she is thinking, “I’m being propositioned, again. Phew!”
I’d encourage you to check out Jonathan’s post. I was excited enough to leave a comment almost as long as this blog post!
– Mark ‘white paper agony Uncle’ McClure