This blog is a guest post from Chris Yuhasz, President of POV Solution, and a result of a collaboration with Widen.
Marketing is about delivering the right message, at the right time, to the right person. No matter what your business is, you can’t run a successful marketing campaign without creating high-quality marketing collateral first.
The term marketing collateral refers to the physical items and digital media that your message lives on, whether that’s a printed flyer or your website.
There are dozens of ways to present your message. You could create billboards, videos, flyers, blogs, mailed postcards, or emailed newsletters, just to name a few.
For a new brand, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. If you make the wrong decision, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.
But there are a few questions that will help you decide where to invest.
1. Who is the target audience for this piece of marketing collateral?
Some audiences respond better to digital media, some prefer print collateral, and many respond best to a combination of the two.
It’s easy to trip up when defining your audience, says Jason McAloon, senior graphic designer at Widen.
“I think a pitfall to avoid is the idea that a campaign or piece, needs to talk to everybody,” he says. “That leaves a lot of room for too much generalization and not enough expertise. A more targeted and personal approach I believe carries a better return on investment, because the customer feels that you are speaking to them and you actually have something to add value to their lives.”
2. What is the message we want to give them?
Sometimes, your message is quick and to-the-point, and could be communicated in a few words on a postcard. Other times, your message involves explaining a complex topic in order to help your customers understand your product, and an explainer video or in-depth case study are the best media for that message.
There are a few types of marketing collateral that 99% of businesses will need to invest in.
“For me, I see the digital collateral must-haves being a blog and social media, customer stories and case studies, and product guides,” McAloon says.
The print must-haves vary a bit more from business to business, but at POV Solution, we find that flyers, business cards, postcards, and pocket folders never go out of style.
When crafting your message, you need to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes, asking not only what media form is the best for them, but also, what message would actually be interesting to them?
“Viewers want something that adds value to their day,” McAloon says. “I see a huge importance of telling a meaningful story, over telling people what to do.”
3. How will we use this collateral to grow our business?
If you don’t have a plan for exactly how you will use the marketing collateral that you create to raise awareness of your brand, or educate your customers, or convince prospects to buy, then you shouldn’t spend time or money creating that collateral.
Your marketing collateral needs to equip your sales team with items to leave behind after a sales meeting, or videos or case studies to email a prospect after a meeting, or keep current customers happy by helping them get more value out of your products. Your social media efforts need to keep customers engaged with your brand and serve as a way to enhance your customer service.
The end goal of your marketing campaign is to grow your business, not to get more followers on social media, or to deliver more postcards, or get a video to go viral on YouTube. Those tactics can sometimes help you grow your business, but if you let them become the goal on their own, they can become a major distraction.
Revisit these questions at every step of the campaign
These three questions aren’t just relevant at the beginning of a marketing campaign. It’s important to constantly evaluate the results of your marketing efforts, and ask yourself if you’re reaching the right audience, if you’re delivering the message in a format that will get their attention and provide value to them, and if your efforts as a whole are making a difference in your bottom line.
Chris Yuhasz founded POV Solution as a basement desktop publishing business 27 years ago in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. POV solutions provides printing services from Cleveland, Ohio, servicing clients coast-to-coast with commercial printing, graphic design and spot UV printing for finishing services.