Your marketing collateral gets sent out in the world to do one thing: act as an ambassador for your product or service, in place of you. This may seem like a big job for a piece of paper, but it’s a helpful way to think about the materials you create.
When you meet with a potential or existing client, you do a number of things. You make sure you are well prepared with all the information the customer could need. You dress in clothing that is appropriate. You anticipate their needs, and offer a solution to their problems. You may also cater to how they best like to receive information.
Chances are, you wouldn’t meet with clients just for the sake of meeting with a client – say, for instance, to show off your new suit. Likewise, you shouldn’t create and distribute collateral that is non-essential.
We all know that the biggest challenge for small businesses is the limited number of zeros attached to their marketing budget. Marketing materials can be expensive, and a single, well-produced piece has the ability to devour the entire budget. Given that billion-dollar marketing campaigns fail every day, how can you be sure to make the most of, and be successful with, the dollars you’re working within?
The answer? Limit yourself to only the essential items for your individual business, and produce them well with the resources you have.
Your Essential Marketing Materials
The easiest way to throw away your marketing budget is to create and produce marketing materials you don’t need. Since many pieces of collateral are paper-based, this not only leaves you with boxes of extra (outdated) materials, but also takes a huge toll on the environment.
Take some time to determine what marketing materials you do need, and stick to your list. It’s easy to want to “keep up with the Joneses” when your competition comes out with a new piece, but remember your focus should be on attracting and retaining a customer base, not matching the competition item for item.
Know your target market. Make sure you have a solid understanding of your customer base. From that knowledge, you can easily determine what the best way is to reach out and communicate with them. Are they a paper-based or techno savvy client group? Do they appreciate being contacted by email or mail? Are they impressed by flashy design, or simple pieces? How you communicate is often just as or more important than what you communicate.
Pay attention to costs. Do you really need a die-cut business card? Does your flyer absolutely require ink to the edges? Unique touches to marketing collateral can grab a customer’s attention, but they can also dramatically increase the cost of production. Keep an eye out during the design process and make strategic choices about graphic elements.
Make mistakes – in small batches. Not sure if that flyer is going to do the trick? Testing out a limited time offer? Small production runs may cost a little more, but you’ll avoid collecting boxes of unusable materials. Or, try a split run with type versions of the same piece and see what works best.
Keep the environment in mind. Environmental responsibility is on everyone’s mind these days – including your customers. Always question if a particular marketing item can be produced in electronic format. Consider eliminating plastic bags in exchange for cloth ones, printed with your logo; print everything double-sided; send electronic newsletters; use your website to communicate; and, use recycled paper and envelopes when you can. This is also less expensive for you.
Brainstorm your wish list. Create a list of desired marketing materials, and ignore expenses, clients, or any other constraint. Then, beside each item, indicate realistically if it is a needed, wanted, not needed, or electronic item. The next page includes a checklist to get you started. Once you have finished, re-write your list in priority order. This will keep you focused on the essentials only.
All of these considerations can help to improve your marketing materials on a huge scale. If you want to learn more, click below.