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Marketing Watchdog Journal
  September 2009, Issue 67

Amy Bills  
Behind the Scenes Lead-Generation Best Practices
Put a Face on Your White Paper ... And Reap the Rewards of Better Engagement
By Amy Bills, Director of Field Marketing, Bulldog Solutions

The video white paper is the convergence of three powerful forces at play in the BtoB marketing world:
  1. The pressing need to provide useful information, not just a sales pitch, to prospects
  2. The impact of rich media for message delivery and engagement
  3. The never-ending (it seems) drive to make good content work overtime by repurposing it for consumption in more than one mode
As part of our Behind the Scenes series, in this article I'll share some of the development considerations behind our new video white paper format, with the intent of providing some insight into how we as marketers addressed these three powerful forces. is the final product: A video white paper called "Defining Your Audience: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Buyer Personas."

Our Challenge: Harnessing a Powerful Tool

At Bulldog, we've always believed white papers are powerful lead-generation and brand-building tools for highlighting thought leadership in areas where our prospects and clients are struggling. They're an ideal forum to explain complex topics; they're viral because they're easy to pass along; and they lend themselves to other iterations, from e-books to blog posts. Prospects have never been more savvy about marketing messages and never so in control of what they want to read and hear. Thus, useful information is very, very powerful.

In fact, last month DemandGen Report quoted TechTarget on the power of white papers as a top content source for a buying decision: "The (white paper) format continues to be one of the most successful response drivers during the recent economic downturn."

The standard way to deliver a white paper for a lead-generation campaign is to put it behind a registration interface, and then deliver a PDF to the registrant. And this is very effective. But we wanted to offer the white paper content in a rich media format as well. We know that rich media can be a powerful tool to put a "face" on a concept. And we know that our prospects consume content in many different ways. So we wanted to deliver that content in more than one mode, to give prospects the opportunity to consume it in whatever way they prefer. That means a white paper in PDF form becomes a live Webinar; a series of blog posts; a trade show presentation…and a rich media piece.

Our Solution in Two Phases

Video White Paper Phase 1: Back to Basics

Our first iteration of a video white paper was very basic. We recorded the white paper's author giving a synopsis of the white paper content. This gave viewers the opportunity to see the summary, albeit a long one, and then decide whether to download the entire white paper.

But this solution fell short on a few counts:
  • The registration interface was separate from the video.
    1. This meant people interested in the white paper had to be driven to a separate registration form, and it was difficult to link that call to action to the video in a compelling way.
    2. It also meant we were not able to make a connection between video activity and a white paper download, because there was no integration between the video and the registration for the white paper. So we were very short on data about how effective the video white paper was in driving people to register for the PDF.
  • The linear video format limited our ability to be creative with the presentation of the information.
New Video White Paper: Registration Integration

We solved the first set of issues by developing an interactive Flash format with embedded registration. In this new format, we offered four video segments of the white paper—segments of information we felt were compelling and could stand alone, but also be tempting enough to encourage people to engage further. The use of four videos solved the second issue, as we had a bit more flexibility with the shorter videos than we’d had with the single, longer one.

With embedded registration, we delivered a short preview, then asked people to share some basic information before viewing the rest of the videos and, if desired, downloading the white paper PDF. Rather than the "all or none" approach to registration, we created a graduated "give-get" with a balanced exchange of value. In doing so, we accomplished a scenario along the lines of the best practices recently noted by Eloqua CTO Steve Woods:

"We generally recommend an equitable exchange of information. Honestly assess how valuable the information you're offering is...Once you've made that assessment, you can ask one, two or three questions of that buyer. If you ask that minimal number of questions, generally people will be more up-front about it, and you can build a profile of them without asking them to submit a 20-field form."

We'll continue to adjust the video white paper format as we collect data on how prospects are behaving. In the meantime, we'd love to hear your comments via e-mail. For more insight into the process and development of our own demand generation initiatives, look for the Behind the Scenes logo throughout our site, or visit the Behind the Scenes microsite.

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Amy Bills is director of field marketing at Bulldog Solutions, the lead-generation optimization and management company. Visit to learn more.

Marketing Watchdog Journal is a monthly newsletter from Bulldog Solutions, a lead optimization and lead management company dedicated to helping our clients generate more, better leads and turn them into revenue. We welcome your feedback on this newsletter's content and design, and encourage you to share your ideas for topics you would like us to cover in future issues. Please send your comments or questions about Bulldog Solutions to Amy Bills, director of field marketing.

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