White Paper Review: Aryaka’s The WAN Optimization Perfect Storm

I learned on Twitter that Aryaka have recently launched as a “provider of the world’s first cloud-based application acceleration and WAN optimization.”

Cloud-based products and services have been bubbling up all over the place this year and so I was curious to see if white papers are already in this startup’s marketing mix.

And indeed they are – three, at the time of writing.
(Click here for Aryaka’s white paper page. )

There’s a novel twist in the email list-building process. I registered for free and got the download link for the pdf. Then I decided to download the other two white papers. To my surprise, the sign up form asked for additional registration info on both the second and third downloads.

As a technology marketing copywriter I can understand why they’re building an email list (heck, I even write email copy) but I would be very interested to see the results of split testing on registration versus no (or limited) registration.

OK. Now for the white paper.

I’m going to comment on the following:
Title; Length; and Suggested Modifications

1) Title
I really liked the title:
“The WAN Optimization Perfect Storm”

It’s brief, conveys the problem, and hints at a solution – increasing the probability that a reader will at least scan to find out what this solution might be.
Adding a subtitle that highlights the complexity and cost of existing hardware-based appliance solutions for enterprise organizations might be worth testing.

2) Length
At just 10 pages (8 of actual content) this is an ideal length for a pre-sales white paper to have a chance of being read by the target audience.

Although text-centric, thought has been given to the intelligent use of sub-titles, bullets and side-bar summary information for the skim readers.

3) Suggested Modifications:
Note that I’ve used the word ‘modifications’, instead of ‘improvements’. Without testing and monitoring the results, no one can say for sure how visitors will respond to online marketing content.

a- Remove the Table of Contents:
This adds nothing to the document but an extra page – readers will skim the document anyway.

b- Reduce the Buzz Phrases:
For example, “continuous scalability” on page 5. This is the sort of panic that occurs when some senior expat manager mandates desktop video conferencing between sundry Asian locations… because NY/London already have it. Yet, said manager becomes surly and blames IT when emailed the ‘expensive’  WAN quotes required to deliver the same service.

c- Eliminate the Vendor Sell:
The final three pages are mostly about “Aryaka Networks’ Unique Solution”. Unfortunately, this turns the white paper into more of a sales brochure, when there’s great potential to use it as part of a ‘thought leader’ campaign aimed at early adopters of this ‘Network as a Service’ (NaaS).

d- Add a ‘call to action’:
The last page has what almost every other b2b white paper has – an email address and a phone number to call. The problem here is that many prospects will not want to open a direct communications channel with a vendor at an early stage in the buying process. They already have more than enough sales pitches to field from their incumbent vendors!

What I would do is add a big, unmissable link to a specific landing page on Aryaka’s site that contains their vendor content. The landing page is where readers interested enough to click through can learn more about the technology, features and benefits, and also get access to customer case studies.

Finally, some questions for WAN/cloud services technology marketers:

1– Do you think vendor-specific info should be pruned from a pre-sales white paper?

2– What do you think about making use of landing pages as a call-to-action at the end of the paper?

3-What results are you getting from testing the download and follow-up responses to b2b white papers released with and without registration?

– Mark McClure

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About the Author
Author: Mark McClure - A freelance b2b case study and white paper writer to the computer networking industry. Based in Tokyo, Japan. About the 'Samurai Writer'.

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