A white paper is a type of document that addresses a specific topic of interest and generally has a unique type of organization or format, a clear purpose and a distinct audience. In many cases, white papers are associated with the government and can include authoritative reports or other information that is otherwise important to specific governmental audiences. In fact, reports of all types can be considered white papers because they typically address a specific issue or topic and the information collected on that issue or topic delivered to its appropriate audience. The information that is delivered in a white paper is often used by the organization or audience that it is directed at for the purpose of supporting decision-making processes.
The white paper is especially important in marketing where they are often used to inform specific stakeholders on the results of marketing research and more importantly, to persuade them on how to respond to those results, for example where the best place is to enter a new market or which product or products to lead with in a specific market. The persuasive nature of the white paper is used not only in marketing but also in other areas of business or organization that depend on the delivery of key information for example on how to solve a specific problem, make a necessary change or even how to most effectively proceed with the status quo.