Why We're Always Talking About White Papers

If you’re a marketer in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem and you’ve talked to us about your marketing investments, chances are you’ve heard us respond to whatever you've said with “Have you considered investing in more white papers?” Hopefully it was relevant to the conversation.  If not, apologies because we’re true believers and it’s hard to throw us off message.

I don’t consider myself an evangelist by nature. But when the evidence over several years is staring you in the face through dozens of Dynamics ISV marketing campaigns and even more raw data out of the MSDynamicsWorld.com database, it’s hard to reach any conclusion other than this: Dynamics ISVs generate more content marketing leads with white papers than with all other types of content combined.

Here’s some download data for a recent 6 month period on MSDynamicsWorld.com:

MSDynamicsWorld.com Content Downloads by Type

The red represents content that we actively promoted for clients. Blue represents the same type of content that was posted to the site (a free service for any Dynamics ISV) but was not included in any marketing programs (i.e., no special attention was drawn to it via site placement, email pushes, etc.).

When we first pulled this information, I knew that the promoted white papers would be the strongest content, generating from dozens to hundreds of downloads per month. But what I found even more interesting was that non-promoted white papers do quite a bit better than even promoted "non-white paper" content (case studies and add-on brochures, primarily).

In other words, our readers are seeking out white papers far more heavily than other content on the site. The demand is there for thought leadership content.

But on the flip side of that finding, we also know that white papers make up the smallest percentage of all Dynamics ISV marketing content.

Total ISV Content on MSDynamicsWorld.com

Now, no one is saying white papers are easy to create. They’re more difficult than add-on brochures because, let’s face it, no one can talk about all the great stuff in your product like you can.

And white papers are often harder to write than a case study, which is in many ways a success story about the great work your team can do. White papers require something more – taking your great ideas, research findings, best practices, and your formidable powers of reason and compiling them into a smartly organized and easily digestible document that is both informative and compelling to your target audience. No small task, but well worth some level of investment, especially if you take the long view (we’ll dive into the question of investment in future posts) and take some time to calculate the ROI of your marketing spend (another topic we'll be tackling soon).

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