Definition: A white paper is a written document that informs the recipient about the benefits and specifications of certain ideology, product or service. It is an informational piece designed to provide a detailed description of something being offered.
What Does White Paper Mean?
This term was initially employed to define government or politics-related documents that aimed to convince the population about certain ideas, normally to promote an agenda or a political campaign. Nevertheless, the term has been adopted by the marketing community as a way to identify a sales or marketing document that comprehensively describes a solution, a product or a service.
There are basically three types of marketing-related white papers: backgrounders, numbered lists and problem/solution papers. Each of them have a different purpose but they all contain factual information to support the benefits and applications of what is being sold.
Backgrounders have a deeper technical description that contains the main attributes, components and parts of the product.
Numbered lists often include tips and frequently asked questions answered accordingly to increase customer’s acceptance.
Finally, problem/solution white papers are normally presented to deal with specific needs of certain target groups by describing the way the company wants to deal with it through its product or service proposal.
Extreme Audio Co. is a company that manufactures professional audio devices such as microphones, amplifiers and musical instruments among other products. The Marketing Department was recently formed to create white papers for each of the products sold by the company. Since many of them are designed for professional sound engineers, the company requires backgrounders to describe all the technical specifications of the products they sell.
The Marketing Department conveyed a meeting with the Engineering Department to fully understand what each of these products does, how does it do it and what are the components employed and what are the main competitive advantages each product has compared to the competition. The company’s executives believe that this will help the Sales Team to address and respond to many of the customer’s questions easily.