by Lance Parman
Marketing collateral materials refer to those items that support your advertising and sales efforts, like brochures, sell sheets, newsletters, catalogs, annual reports, and presentations.
While the role of advertising is to create interest and generate a sales lead, the purpose of collateral materials is to make the sales process easier and more effective. To accomplish that, collateral must balance information and promotional content while supporting your organization’s brand. In other words, it’s the work horse of your marketing materials helping to familiarize customers with your products, services, and goals.
It’s important to put collateral before campaigns. Although a customer may see a billboard or television commercial before they ever hold a brochure or catalog, you should start by figuring out your collateral materials. These important sales tools are detailed and contain a comprehensive look into your organization and the products and services it offers. Once these messages are developed, it will help to inform and guide your next advertising campaign.
It’s easy to get lost in the details of a catalog or info sheet. Some products and services require a good deal of detail, and marketing collateral is definitely the place for it. However, it’s important to remember that the sale is not yet complete. That means collateral not only needs to inform, it also needs to sell. The more you are able to integrate your organization’s brand message, the better your collateral will persuade and help to close the sale.
Marketing collateral isn’t always developed at the same time. You might print a new brochure in January, release newsletters at the start of each quarter, and ship your catalog at the end of the year. If you’re not careful, each piece can look like it was created in a vacuum without any continuity from one item to the next. Corporate standards and a detailed style guide will define the fonts, colors, and design to be used for all your marketing materials. This will ensure customers recognize your materials and have a consistent experience throughout the sales process. It will also give the organization a professional image of expertise and competence.
It’s important to remember that your marketing collateral will not always be accompanied by a sales person. Its job is to explain complicated products and services in a way that people can understand…even when no one is available to explain it to them. Therefore, copy and design should help to simplify and describe information so that it is clear. Use images, charts, and other infographics when possible to avoid long paragraphs of copy. Keep pages clean with lots of white space. Too much information on each page makes information difficult to digest and unattractive.
When developing collateral materials, be sure to think about delivery. Research the cost of shipping to determine the most cost-efficient size and weight. Look at your competitors’ collateral and make sure your materials stand out. Most importantly, take into account both print and digital delivery so that you can satisfy each customer’s preference.
If you’d like to talk with Gazillion & One about making the most of your marketing efforts, contact us online or call (616) 842-7000 to get the conversation started.