Survey says: Don’t trash those white papers yet

I love it when research comes out to back up my positions.

A couple weeks back I posted a blog called Old Marketing Channels Never Die – the premise being that with all of the buzz about social networks, videos, infographics and other content formats and channels, the traditional channels cannot be abandoned.

So now I find that Everything Technology Marketing did a survey of B2B marketing professionals on the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing community to identify the top marketing formats and channels.  If you haven’t seen it, I’d suggest you peruse the data.

The point that jumps out is that the content formats that are rates as most ‘effective’ are old familiars:

  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Live presentations
  • Online articles

And live events, websites and email are still the most effective channels.

Yet there may be an inherent bias built into the survey if participants can only judge the content formats with which they have significant experience. Some of the newer content forms (blogs, podcasts) have a high number of ‘neutral’ ratings. I have to assume that is because the marketing professionals who answered the survey hadn’t yet worked with those channels. And no one is really effective right out of the gate with a new format.

Also, look lower on the chart and you’ll find many marketers having success with newer channels and formats. Video in particular is deemed effective by two-thirds of those who responded to the question, blog postings nearly 50%, and eBooks about 30%. You can either take comfort in the strong performance of familiar forms, or pay attention to the success that others are having. I’d suggest the latter.

What’s the take-away?  Don’t abandon the tried-and-true marketing methods like live events, and white papers, but find ways to leverage these efforts in other marketing channels and formats –  make a video from your live event, or a series of blog posts from your papers. At the very least you’ll start learning what works well in the new formats and channels.

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