Since the early 1990s, the term "white paper" has also come to refer to documents used by businesses as marketing or sales tools. White papers of this sort argue that the benefits of a particular technology or product are superior for solving a specific problem.
These types of white papers are almost always marketing communications documents designed to promote a specific company's solutions or products. As a marketing tool, these papers will highlight information favorable to the company authorizing or sponsoring the paper. Such white papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, or to educate customers.
There are three main types of commercial white papers:
- Business-benefits: Makes a business case for a certain technology or methodology
- Technical: Describes how a certain technology works
- Hybrid: Combines high-level business benefits with technical details in a single document
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