New Study: Marketers Spend Budgets on White Papers

By Michael Stelzner

According to a new study by B2B Magazine and Junta42 Match, about a third of marketer’s budgets are spent on custom content creation.

Among that portion of the budget, half is spent on white papers.

Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 said, “Business marketers continue to invest more in their own content marketing, but knowledge of the industry or the practice doesn’t seem to have budged. Clearly there is a need to educate marketers looking to deliver relevant and compelling content to their customer and prospect base.”

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  • Jacques Snyman

    Content is King, we all agree on that. When looking at the quoted figures one gets a 17% odd allocation of marketing budgets going directly towards creating white papers. This is a substantial share of the adspend and one has to ask the question whether to subcontract this out, or employ an inhouse writer. We chose the latter option and it has worked wonderfully well for us.

  • Mark Albright

    Is this budget percentage growing or has the average stayed the same? We have played with the idea of creating multi-media/Web2.0 versions of our white papers to stand apart from “the crowd”.

  • Michael Stelzner

    Mark – Good question. I am guessing it is growing… – Mike

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Mark…there have been quite a few studies on content spending. According to the Custom Publishing Council and Publications Management, spending on content was (I believe) 19% of the marketing budget back in 2004/05. 24% in 2006. They completed their study for 2007 and the number was 27%. The Junta42/BtoB study says 30%. Yes, definitely growing.

    Also, 42% of marketers increased their spending on customized content marketing activities in 2008. Only 12% decreased their content marketing spend, while 46% left their custom budgets unchanged. This trend will only continue. Relevant, compelling content is not just nice to have, it’s a necessity.

    Hope this helps. – Joe

  • Troy Bingham

    We too are looking at using webinars, and other multi media to add some spice to our educational marketing.

  • Brent Applegate

    Makes sense!

  • Michael A Brown

    Hi Michael! Great content! An observation if I may: despite the infusion of money into white papers for lead gen, too many B2B marketers are under-funding and mismanaging the “next step” … the business phone call that follows the white paper.

    Indeed, in my Business To Business By Phone consulting and training practice, I find that many callers who contact white paper recipients have never seen the paper themselves, do not know what would provoke a prospect to request the paper, and therefore struggle to open and conduct an appropriate and engaging dialogue.

    I urge marketers to consider not only the content of white papers, but also the context and continuity in which they are applied. And above all, make sure the callers who will speak with white paper recipients are prepared for substantive conversations.

    Michael A. Brown

  • Mac McIntosh


    Is the research saying they are spending 50% of their “content creation” budgets on white papers, or is it saying that 50% report that is one of the (primary?) things they spend their “content creation” budgets on?

    Maybe Joe Pulizzi can help clarify.

    Mac McIntosh

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Mac…good question.

    The findings state that 50% of business marketers are creating their own white papers. The chart lives here
    and lists what types of content activities marketers are engaged in (but not by budget or revenue spent).

    We are going to try to get a bit more granular for the next study.

    Hope that helps.

  • Bagrep

    Good observations. What you have stated are all true. There is nothing better than the white paper but depends on how much budget you have or else you won’t be able to benefit at all.

  • fatsgone

    It’s undeniable that it is effective but I think that we do need to keep up with the times. Like Mark did mention above, a multimedia/web hybrid of white papers may just be the new thing, more effective and convenient than conventional white papers.

  • SEO Company

    I would agree and would suggest that this number is rising. A large part of the work I do for clients is sourcing out the right expert to write custom, meaningful content for the client. The larger the business, the higher percentage of quality custom content seems to be needed.

  • VeraBradley

    Like one commenter said, content is king. With content and facts to write about, one can produce quality articles. So i guess its not a suprise that marketers spend so much on those.

  • Natalie Brahan

    You’re right VeraBradley! without a good content and facts no article will be a good enough. hence, spending by marketers so much is an effective way..