Simplify collateral management with a marketing review – 5 guiding principles
If you are like many companies, you’ve probably accumulated a sizable library of marketing collateral in a mix of formats and styles. Just like an attic or overstuffed dresser, assessing what you have and how well it’s serving your current needs is worth the time and effort. There is a measurable return from marketing collateral management.
Given the dramatic shift in business priorities many industries are currently seeing, it may also be time to update your messaging to deliver enhanced results. And once you’ve completed your review, you’ll have an easier time with collateral management.
A collateral review can help ensure you have the right message for your target audience with the right look and feel. That’s especially important today when it’s more critical than ever to connect with prospects and customers. While getting started may seem difficult, it helps to have an organizing structure. Here are 5 principles to deliver results with marketing collateral management.
1. Ensure your collateral looks like it’s from the same company
Marketing collateral is …“a collection of media used to inform, educate, and guide prospects and customers about how their challenges can be solved.” 1
Marketing collateral has become more sophisticated. The presentation, palettes and purpose have all evolved. If your collateral was created at various points in time, your customers, prospects, employees and even job candidates may not realize it’s from the same company.
Why it’s important – “Marketing collateral lets every business speak for themselves. Every company, big or small, can get word of their business out quickly.”2 When viewers don’t have a holistic sense of your business, it dilutes your company’s influence and the power of your brand.
What you can do – Develop a look and feel that reflects your company’s unique value proposition and is recognizable across touchpoints. Create distinctive elements like brand templates, color palettes, fonts, imagery and icons for both print and digital content. Online marketing has important nuances and you should include web content and landing pages in your assessment. Doing so will also help with more comprehensive collateral management.
2. Make it about your audience; show you understand their needs and priorities
Because they’re so familiar with their own offers, businesses may think their communications speak directly to their intended audience. Try this simple test: Identify who is the focus of your messages. Is it your company and the products you offer, or is it your customers and prospects and how they benefit?
Why it’s important – Given the volume of marketing comms people regularly receive on their computer or smartphone, your messages could easily get lost or overlooked. “Digital Marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day.”3
What you can do – A proven way to engage your audience is to “lead with the win.” That means starting with the benefits to the target audience, instead of leading with your product or service. For example, how can they save money, be more efficient, or gain peace of mind? Don’t assume people will quickly grasp how your offerings can help them. Use words that are easy to understand, and connect emotionally through images and a down-to-earth tone. In your collateral management, take a look at what you are saying and how you are saying it.
With 79% of the American population now shopping online, digital sales and marketing collateral are more important than ever (and likely more important than traditional formats).4
Your digital assets should be a key part of your collateral review. Digital marketing – e.g., marketing via the internet – is especially important today because your customers and prospects are online – regardless of the device they’re using. Another reason to include digital content is the benefits it offers, such as the ability to more precisely target your audience and measure your results.
Why it’s important – “It is very cost-effective to use online marketing methods. This leaves room for a great ROI because you don’t have to spend much money to run a campaign. It doesn’t cost much to run a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign or social media ad campaign, compared to some traditional methods, which allows your business to have an opportunity to grow.”5
What you can do – Tailor your content for mobile and other digital channels with streamlined copy and smaller images. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to attract viewers, strategically using keywords that move your article or blog up in the search queue. And add social media posts to attract more viewers.
Email campaigns are also highly effective, especially when you measure your results to learn what does and doesn’t work. Make sure to include an effective “Call to Action” (CTA) (e.g., “Get Started,” “Register Now,” etc.) with CTA buttons. Consider adding a downloadable guide with a compelling description of your product or service. There are many possibilities when you use digital media.
4. Convey you understand and care – express empathy
How can you tell if existing collateral still works today? One of the criteria to apply is: Does it give customers and prospects a reason to care? That means showing you understand your audience – what they hope to achieve and the problems they want to resolve.
Why it’s important – Customers and prospects are savvier these days. They’ve looked around the web and done their homework. They know they have an array of options. So what can you do to gain their trust and attention? Expressing empathy is an effective way to attract viewers and develop or deepen your relationships.
What you can do – Tell stories that build an emotional connection and address what customers find helpful or frustrating. We’ve laid out a path to effectively express empathy in our blog, Empathy as a Superpower: 4 Steps to getting it right. As the post summarizes, “When you focus first on empathy, every touch point is shaped by understanding your customers on a personal, emotional level.”
Look around the internet at your competitors’ website and social media posts. How does your marketing compare? Does it look modern and up-to-date, or is it text heavy with outdated photos? Are you reflecting today’s diversity or are your images more relevant to audiences from the past? Assessing how your marketing comes across is an essential aspect of collateral management.
Why it’s important – Digital marketing requires a different look and feel than past print materials. It has less copy, more white space, and images are often more exciting and dynamic. It also offers a tremendous opportunity for exploration with clickable links and contact information.
What you can do – Review your copy and trim it so it’s short and concise. Add icons and other visual ways to break up the text, such as headings, bullets and callouts. Include images that are active and interesting. And of course apply the five principles for a more satisfying and modern customer experience on mobile, online, and in print as needed.
A review can lead to more effective assets, simpler marketing collateral management
“Your goal in every communication is to influence your target audience (change their current attitudes, belief, knowledge and behavior). Information alone rarely changes any of these. Research confirms that well-designed stories are the most effective vehicle for exerting influence.”6
While reviewing your collateral does take time, it also provides you with competitive advantages. Once your review is complete, you’ll have a select group of assets that are more focused, effective, and up-to-date. Not only are they likely to perform better, they’ll be simpler and more efficient to manage and update. Is it time to review your marketing collateral? By applying the five principles, we hope you’re prepared and excited to begin.
Ready to get started with marketing collateral management?
We can help you plan and execute a collateral assessment. And when it’s time to improve your materials, we provide end-to-end support — from topic planning and research, to copywriting, creative design, production and metrics.