For years almost every marketer knew that they needed a brochure or sales kit to pass along to their target customers. Sure the format may have varied from a simple tri-fold to a more complex folder system with collateral sheets and tiered multi-page brochures, but just about everyone knew they had to hand out something. Then along came the Internet…and marketers began to ask if they should get involved with that…several years later and the consensus is a rounding yes, everyone needs to have a presence online. The question now is, do we still need those printed brochures and marketing collateral?
The answer isn’t the same for everyone, but generally it’s a yes. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you need a brochure or marketing collateral and if so, what form it should take.
Do you communicate with your prospects directly?
A lot of organizations still have face-to-face meetings, in which case, it’s great to have a piece to refer to as you walk through your pitch. This piece can also serve as a tutorial if the prospect needs to sell your product or service internally.
Are your prospects and customers aware of all of your services?
It’s easy for your clients to pigeon hole your company as great at X and completely miss the fact that you do Y and Z as well. When meeting with a prospect about one service, your brochure or collateral could serve as a reminder about other offerings.
Do you attend tradeshows?
With all of the competition for attention on the tradeshow floor, you have to give tradeshow attendees something to walk away with and a koozie and some candy is not enough. At the very least you need a line card highlighting your basic service offering and value proposition along with your phone number and website so that they know how to contact you and remember your name.
Are you relying on individuals to communicate your brand position?
Sales people are awesome and you can train them on your product but can you be certain that they are communicating all of the messaging points and brand positioning accurately at all times? Your marketing collateral should serve as a reminder to the sales teams and help keep your brand consistent.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you do need printed collateral and I’ll provide some examples in a bit. If you answered no to all of them then you’re still in the grey zone but it may be that digital communication is the best option for you…that doesn’t mean that you don’t need collateral, just maybe not the paper stuff.
No matter what form your collateral takes, be sure to give a lot of thought to the goal of each piece, the specific target, and the perception of value each should provide. A tri-fold brochure is a quick and easy solution but is not the best fit if you are looking to make an impression. Sizes, shapes, and number of pages should all be determined by the goal of each individual piece.
Sales Kit Folder System
Line Cards and Post Cards
Posters or multi-fold pieces
Within these options there are a lot of details to consider. I would highly suggest talking with your designer or agency to determine some of the following and how it will affect the perceived value or your product or service.
Offset v. Digital Printing
Paper Type – options may include textured paper, recycled paper, metal, plastic, and a mountain of other options
Emboss / Deboss
Binding Solutions: Saddle Stitched, Singer Sewn, Perfect Binding, Case Binding, Wire-O, Post Binding,
Keep in mind, that almost every printed piece can have a digital version. Talk with your design firm about creative email or downloadable versions of your brochure, collateral sheets and other collateral. If it makes sense, you could also create an interactive brochure or catalogue.
In essence, the answer to the question of what you need always comes down to a true understanding of who you are trying to target, what information they would like to learn from you, and in what format works best for them. If all else fails, ask!
What are your thoughts about printed marketing collateral?