Don’t call it a white paper


Just heard a radio ad for an online university that offered a white paper to listeners as a lead generation tool.  The content of the white paper, given the ad’s intent and intended audience, was pretty good.  The fact that they called it a white paper, however, was off the mark.

The concept of white papers is more often seen in B2B marketing, but the idea of giving consumer product customers access to free, educational information isn’t exactly new.  It’s just that smart marketers never refer to those offers using industry lingo.  Instead, you’ll more often hear things like “special report”, “free money-saving tips”, and the like. 

Even with some B2B buyers, the term “white paper” isn’t exactly going to resonate.  For some audiences, IT buyers for example, an explicit white paper offer might work.  For retail managers or small business owners, probably not.

Reminds me of a Subway radio ad a few years ago that literally referred to its customers as “consumers.”  For internal planning, fine.  For creative, never.