Last month I was on the website of a major technology company, looking for basic information about a product. I entered the product name into the search field and the first page of links to come up were all related to developer's notes. Not exactly what I was looking for.
Going through the product menu was no help either, because the overview page I found there was so full of photos and fancy formatting and there was no option to get a simple print version.
Is this company trying to push prospects away (unlikely) or is it simply caught up in the trend-du-jour of web interfaces and content presentation that view a downloadable PDF document as belonging in the dark ages?
Especially for many technical decision-makers, an early question about a product is "what are the specs?" They want to see the technical information in all of its detailed glory in the form of a PDF catalog page, data sheet, or brochure that can be printed, email, or viewed side-by-side with information about a competing product.
They want a document they can markup, pass around in a meeting, keep in a paper file of project information for future reference.
But most of all, they want to document they can read in-depth and understand, something that's much harder to do on an electronic screen than on paper.
Moving marketing content to the web shouldn't mean leaving traditional print documents behind. You may not actually be printing them anymore, but in PDF form data sheets, brochures, application notes, white papers, case studies, and more all deliver value for your prospect's decision-making.