BatchBlue knows how to reach out and deliver value up front. I'll admit that I had no idea what BatchBlue was before early 2008. There are too many great companies out there, and I don't know them all! So, how cool is it that Michelle Riggen-Ransom reaches out to me, citing applicable posts I've written over the past few months, then offers me a really informative "blue paper" on social media? (It's like a white paper—only blue.)
This turns out to be a great way to deliver value. Brian Clark of Copyblogger has made this his model all along. Deliver great content and value, and then make your offer on the other side of it. In this case, Michelle and Adam Darowski and the team have software to sell for contact, task, and communications management. But they lead by giving us a useful paper to consider. For some, there's not a lot new in the document, but it's a good resource, well formatted, and looks shiny and useful.
The old way of marketing was to put up a "free white paper" and hope that people would give you their e-mail address so that you could market them into submission. The new way is to create useful information or tools and share them for free with your community, without attempting lead capture, then hope that this goodwill translates into links (which help you with search) and also potential prospects.
For more on this mind-set, see the book Inbound Marketing, by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.