Let’s say you have the world’s best business idea. Production costs are low, demand will be high, and nobody else is filling your market niche. There’s only one problem: Due to a 1,000-year-old curse, you’re not allowed to use images or words to communicate information about your product or company. How far do you expect to get?
This silly scenario illustrates a real point: It’s tough to reach your sales goals without the help of marketing collateral. Business owners rely on a healthy mix of creative assets known as marketing collateral to generate leads, build customer loyalty, and increase sales.
Learn more about the types of marketing collateral and tips for creating effective creative assets.
What is marketing collateral?
Marketing collateral refers to any creative asset your company uses to promote your products, services, or brand.
Marketing collateral describes a wide range of digital or printed materials. It can be foundational to your brand identity (like your logo or mission statement) or specific to an individual campaign (like an infographic explaining the health benefits of a revamped lemonade recipe). Essentially, any communication that supports your marketing efforts represents a piece of marketing collateral.
6 tips for creating effective marketing collateral
Creating marketing collateral is a critical part of any marketing strategy. These six tips can help you create effective marketing collateral for your company:
- Identify your goals
- Research your audience
- Reinforce your brand identity
- Connect marketing and sales efforts
- Get creative
- Remember the big picture
1. Identify your goals
Are you trying to educate your audience about a new product line? Promote an upcoming event? Generate leads? Different types of marketing collateral are better suited for different purposes. For example, an ebook or white paper can generate leads for your company, while an email or direct mailer is better suited for promoting an upcoming event.
It’s also helpful to think about what problems your marketing materials can help solve. For example, if your customers are confused about a particular service, you might consider developing a set of infographics to distribute across key marketing channels.
2. Research your audience
Evaluate your target audience’s media consumption habits to concentrate on the marketing channels they’re most likely to engage with. For example, active social media users could benefit from online marketing collateral such as marketing videos or downloadable case studies. Your audience's needs, preferences, and decision drivers will help inform the messaging and design of your assets as well.
3. Reinforce your brand identity
Although marketing collateral can give you the flexibility to play with look, feel, and messaging, effective marketing collateral also reinforces your overarching brand identity. Consult your brand guidelines to keep your brand consistent across all of your marketing materials. Consider how the visual elements, messaging, tone, and voice reinforce your brand image.
4. Connect marketing and sales efforts
Your marketing team will likely be intimately involved in creating marketing collateral—but what about your sales team? Effective marketing plans consider how different pieces of collateral will generate leads, nurture potential customers through the marketing funnel, and eventually convert their actions into sales.
When in doubt, ask your sales team members if they have the collateral they need to support the sales process. For example, you might consider adding sales presentations or one-pagers to your collateral library.
5. Get creative
As long as you’re consistent with your brand guidelines, an isolated piece of collateral can allow you to experiment with both message and form. For example, if you have a kombucha company, you might give away coasters or koozies featuring your business’s website and contact info. You can also engage with consumer trends. If your target audience is into astrology, consider a long-form blog post with an associated social media campaign that pairs the ideal kombucha flavor to each zodiac sign.
6. Remember the big picture
Taken together, your print and digital marketing collateral represents the bulk of your marketing presence. Regularly review your collateral library and marketing strategy, identify gaps in your communications or messaging, and create additional collateral, as needed.
Types of marketing collateral
Marketing collateral can be broken down into two main categories: digital and print.
Digital marketing collateral examples
Digital collateral can be particularly effective for ecommerce business owners with geographically dispersed audiences and online sales channels. Here are a few common types of digital marketing collateral:
- Blog posts. You can create blog posts to capture leads, build brand loyalty, and provide value to target audiences. For example, you might publish a short announcement post introducing a new product line, or write an extended blog post designed to grow your ecommerce site traffic.
- Web pages. Every page on your website represents a piece of digital marketing collateral that you can use for specific purposes. Landing pages can help capture leads, for example, and product comparison pages can specifically target users in the final phases of product selection.
- Videos. Short-form videos, like commercials and explainer videos, can answer specific questions, introduce your customers to a new product, or help your audience understand how to use your product.
- Emails. Email newsletters, drip campaigns, and customer service email flows can help businesses stay in touch with current customers, attract new customers, and drive audiences to specific landing pages or other types of digital marketing collateral.
- Case studies and white papers. Case studies and white papers provide in-depth information relevant to your target audiences’ interests. You can publish content about your products or services or use these items to support a larger content marketing strategy that isn’t necessarily directly related to your core business offerings.
- Sales presentations. Digital sales presentations or pitch decks can help your sales team sell products or convince prospective customers to hire your company.
Print marketing collateral examples
Although digital marketing has increased the forms that marketing collateral can take, printed marketing materials are still a critical part of many companies’ marketing efforts.
Here are a few common types of printed marketing collateral:
- Brochures and sell sheets. Brochures and sell sheets are concise documents that provide an overview of your business, product, or service. Although there are no hard rules about size or format, brochures are often branded tri-folds that provide an overview of your company, and sell sheets are often one-page documents that detail the benefits of a specific product or service.
- Business cards. Physical business cards remain a convenient way to share information about your business. Consider including a QR code linked to your company’s website, along with your name, role, and contact information.
- Direct mailers. Direct mail can reach audience segments that are less active on digital channels. Consider sending postcards or product catalogs to key audience segments.
- Promotional products. You can use promotional products (like a branded pen, t-shirt, calendar, or coaster) to thank existing customers for their loyalty, stay top-of-mind with your current customer base, and attract new customers to your business. Products that recipients use and display in public are more likely to raise brand awareness.
- Displays. Point-of-purchase displays include physical signs, product towers, and product displays placed throughout a brick-and-mortar store. Similar to point-of-sale displays, which are placed near the cash register, they encourage customers to make additional purchases.
Marketing collateral FAQ
How do you determine which types of collateral to use for a specific campaign?
Consider the following factors to choose a collateral type for a marketing campaign: Campaign goals Target audience demographics and habits Campaign budget Critical campaign messages Choose a collateral type that fits your budget, meets your target audience’s needs, and is suited to your intended message.
How do you measure the success of your marketing collateral?
Your measurement strategy will vary according to collateral type. Although you can typically track the success of online marketing collateral using digital marketing metrics, tracking print marketing collateral can be more challenging. Some businesses add QR codes or distinct URLs to printed materials, allowing them to identify web traffic generated by print collateral.
How often should you update your marketing collateral?
Some types of marketing collateral need to be updated more frequently than others. For example, your company’s logo is considered marketing collateral and you may only update it once a decade—if ever. A sell sheet or product catalog, however, will need an update every time you tweak your product or service offerings.