White Paper

Reviewed by Sujaini | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

What is a White Paper?

A white paper (whitepaper) is an information document usually provided by a company or non-profit entity to advertise or illustrate the functionality of a solution, good or service. White papers are often written as marketing and sales documents which entice or convince potential customers to learn more about or purchase a specific product, service, technology or methodology. White papers are intended to be used as a pre-sale marketing tool, and not as a user manual or other technical documents developed to support the user after making a purchase.

Basics of a White Paper

A white paper is intended to promote a specific product, service, technology or technique, and to influence the decisions of current and prospective customers. Many white papers are designed for marketing purposes related to B2B (business to business), such as between a supplier and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. The white paper is used to notify and convince the other organisation that a specific offer (such as a technology or product) is superior to solve a particular business issue or to overcome a specific challenge.

There are three critical types of white papers about B2B marketing: backgrounders describing the technological features of a specific offering; numbered lists highlighting tips or points about an offering; and white papers problem/solution, which incorporate an improved solution to an accessible business or technical issue.

White papers are distinct from other marketing materials, for instance, brochures. While brochures and other materials may be flashy and include apparent sales pitches, a white paper is aimed to provide persuasive and factual evidence that a particular offer is a superior approach to or the resolution of a problem or challenge. White papers are usually at least 2,500 words long and written in a more scholarly format.