White paper is an informational document handed out by firms as part of their marketing efforts. These papers aim to highlight or promote a particular product, service or solution in order to gain new clients and customers.
White papers are made and written to inform the target audience about the service, product, methodology and technology.
Some people confuse white papers and manuals, but these two are different. White papers are pre-sales informational tools unlike manuals that provide step-by-step support for new users.
White paper explained
The main objective of a white paper is to encourage customers or clients to buy the service, products or methodology. White papers are most commonly used in B2B selling. B2B stands for business-to-business where firms try to sell their products and services to other companies. White papers are useful marketing tools since it is used to convince potential clients that a certain service or product is superior compared to others and that the product or service is well-suited for a certain business need.
White papers that are used for B2B selling come in three categories or types. The first is the backgrounder type which is used to discuss the technical features of a product or service. The second type is the numbered list which is used to highlight discussion points or tips of the products and services. The third type is the problem/solution white paper that introduces the solution to a certain technical or business challenge.
Some confuse white papers from other marketing tools or materials like brochures. Brochures, for example, are often flashy and contain heavy sales pitches. A white paper, on the other hand, is more persuasive as it points out factual data about the product or service, making it more persuasive compared to other marketing tools. It has more substance compared to other marketing tools or materials.