Jul 29th 2013
By Jack LaRue
Collateral is the "stuff" of marketing: brochures, postcards, fact sheets, and the like. Collateral pieces are tangible things that we're all familiar with, so they're easy to talk about. That's probably why so many marketing meetings start with somebody saying something like, "We need a brochure!"
This sounds good, but it's backwards. It puts tactics before strategy, and that tends to lead you down an expensive path to failure.
It's much better to put strategy first. What, exactly, do you hope to accomplish with your marketing piece? Collateral pieces can have countless goals, but I've found they tend to fall into three broad buckets:
- Lead generation: A piece that's designed as an initial contact, with the goal of getting prospects to signal interest or request additional information.
- In-depth information: These marketing pieces are provided to customers who have requested additional information about your firm. They're often longer and more in-depth.
- Thought leadership: These marketing pieces include information that's not product or service related, such as tips or explanations of compliance issues and procedures. Thought leadership pieces are provided to customers and prospects free of charge in order to build goodwill and to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This is also known as the "content" in "content marketing."
Once you've determined what you want your marketing piece to accomplish, there are two more important items to consider:
- Audience: Who, specifically, will receive the piece?
- Delivery method: How will you get the marketing piece to your ideal audience?
Too often, firms design and purchase marketing pieces because they're cool or because other firms have them. But without a solid strategy behind your piece, it's likely to end up collecting dust. Thinking through these few points will not only improve the performance of your marketing pieces, it will save you time and money as well.