The importance of grey marketing

grey matter

It’s not black or white, it’s grey.

You may think that marketing is black or white, but there is a whole grey area that you may not be considering. In traditional spaces black and white could be print and electronic media, or information that you experience with relative ease.

But there is a little-known area of grey literature which can be as relevant to your business as any other information if not more so but is not available through traditional publishing platforms.

If you understand using blogging and e-books to position your company, grey literature could be even more powerful. It’s grey, because it taps grey matter at a deep, cognitive level and the outcome is valuable research that stands as authoritative material beyond reproach.

The term grey literature refers to research that is either unpublished or has been published in non-commercial form.

The Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature in Prague in 2010 arrived at the following definition:

“Grey literature stands for manifold document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats that are protected by intellectual property rights, of sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by libraries and institutional repositories, but not controlled by commercial publishers; i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body.”

Examples of grey literature include:



Working papers

Policy statements and issues papers

Conference proceedings

Pre-prints and post-prints of articles

Theses and dissertations

Research reports

Government reports

Geological and geophysical surveys


Newsletters and bulletins

Fact sheets

Often these are put together by academics, advocacy bodies, and private companies to name a few. Because these resources are so highly prized, they are much harder to access. Libraries and research houses and universities are some of the places where you can find this material. There are some that are available in PDF download from the internet by regular search mechanisms and through web indexes.

And then there are those that you pay for. Here you have to be careful of the bias that may exist as the motive for the research might have a desired outcome, for example the efficacy of a drug in curing cancer or contributing to cancer, as the case may be.

So, where’s the opportunity? The opportunity is two-fold. You may access these resources to edify your own position and you can be the provider of these types of documents to strengthen your position as the most relevant in your industry.

Conferencing is a ready resource for this information. Papers presented at conferences provide some of the most relevant and up to date research and could position your company as a leader in its field.  What could be easier than recording conference presentations and packaging them into usable documents such as white papers and research reports?

Almost every industry has an annual or bi-annual conference and the material can be drawn from each presentation. This is a particularly important area and often missed as conference material is only available to delegates who attend at the time and place. The value of the material is not necessarily recorded and preserved for longevity.

According to the California State University, “In the future, grey literature will be even more important. “In a world in which free trade and instantaneous communication have eliminated many of the barriers to information flow, grey literature is gaining greater importance as a source of information for much of the world’s population (Weintraub).”


Why not be a part of it? reporting

Iza Grek

Iza is an award-winning journalist. She has worked in advertising and communications for more than 20 years. A Word or 2 has been in operation since October 2014 and continues to thrive, serving customers writing and editing services across the board from blogs to speeches and e-books.