Print Collateral Is Not Dead Yet!

August 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Advertising 

The familiar retort of Mark Twain to reporters that the rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated might very well apply to the perception held by many today about printed materials in advertising and marketing.

It is an exaggeration to say that print is either dead or dying, but let’s not kid ourselves. It is very much an electronic and digital marketing world. The evolution and refinement of the Internet and web sites alone have caused great shifts in the implementation and execution of advertising and marketing strategies.

In business and commercial settings, many traditional printed venues and collaterals of old have been replaced or downsized by an electronic or digital option. Newsletters are an example. Electronic newsletters have replaced or minimized the paper option for companies.

Electronic and digital options have taken over what were the traditional domains of print in our personal lives as well. The United States Postal Service reports that the volume of mail delivered each day has decreased dramatically presumably because more and more people and businesses are relying on electronic methods to communicate. The greeting card industry has seen a great shift by its dwindling customer base from printed cards to electronic greeting cards. The impact of the digital camera and its almost unlimited applications may be the most noteworthy. Remember when your cell phone was just for phone calls?

Nevertheless, like the rumors of Mark Twain’s death, the use of print collateral in an advertising strategy or program is far from dead. On the contrary, print collateral remains an essential part of the implementation of nearly every marketing and advertising strategy. Company Capabilities Brochures and Presentation Folders are among the most used print options.

No matter how stimulating or memorable the sales presentation, a quality leave-behind or take-away collateral piece that reinforces the quality of the product (or service) of the business is essential. Can you imagine the Cadillac dealer giving the would-be customer a single sheet of paper with a few specifications and numbers on it? No!

Since what is left behind or taken away by the customer must reinforce the message of how the company’s product or service will fulfill the dream, desire, want or need of the customer, then the quality of the piece must complement and reflect the quality of the product or service. The printed piece must not only look good, but it must be done right. Done right includes the right designs and colors, and maybe most importantly the right words and message.

With all the software available, it is tempting for business owners to do it myself. Many of the templates available are acceptable and may be adequate, but where the “do it yourselfers” fall flat is with the words and message or the copy as it is identified professionally. Word choice is a powerful element of advertising and marketing which should be left to professionals.

More than one version of the Company Capabilities brochure will be necessary if the business serves several target markets, segments, or types. If your business serves Residential and Commercial markets, or both Profit and Not-for-Profit organizations, or builds medical centers and churches, then a different brochure will be required for each customer segment or market segment. The needs and wants of a homeowner are different in many ways from the needs and wants of an office builder. The message of a Not-for-Profit organization likely will be much different from the message of a Profit organization. The particular requirements of building a hospital will differ from the particular requirements of building a church.

When presenting your brochure, product flyers, or your quotation or proposal to a customer, the contents should be organized and presented in a presentation package. A folder with pockets and a die cut for a business card is a common and practical option. As stated previously, appearance is important to reinforce quality and the message you wish to convey, so appearance is very important in the presentation package as well. Whether highly colorful with lots of graphics or clean and simple with your company logo is a matter of choice and appropriateness. Rely on your professional marketing representatives to help you make this choice.

And one more thing: the Presentation package has to “feel like quality” as well. Instead of 20 or 24 pound stock, go for the 30 or 32 pound stock. It’s a little more expensive, but it has a solid feel. A solid feel is important whether you are trying to build a relationship or a house. In short, look and feel the part. That is how you will be perceived.

There are many other practical applications of printed marketing materials including Direct Marketing and Canvassing applications. Thanks to digital technology, developing and producing print collateral is profoundly less difficult and much more affordable than it was a decade or more ago. This is just another way your professional marketing representative can assist you.

One thing is for sure. No matter how few or how many you print, they are of little value sitting on the shelf. Distribute print collateral without fail or hesitation. Specifically, not one piece of mail, or package, or product delivery should leave your business without at least one marketing piece inside.

You can learn more about D.L. Brown or submit questions and comments about this article at:

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