Marketing collateral traditionally refers to the printed materials a business distributes as part of a strategy to meet its overall branding and marketing goals. And marketing collateral now comprises digital marketing materials too, such as downloadable PDFs, white papers, online catalogs, and even website landing pages.
To effectively manage marketing collateral from concept to completion, a business must continually return to its marketing goals to ensure that the product meets its message and brand. But it must also put objectives, strategy, and goals before the final product. Consider this basic framework as a guide for marketing collateral management.
Put Strategy First
Senior Vice President of myPay Solutions, Jack LaRue, emphasizes that marketing collateral should always take a back seat to marketing strategy, in his discussion of collateral pieces. He says that marketers often begin with the collateral piece itself because it feels like a tangible goal, when in fact the branding and message should be the end and the marketing collateral the means. The conception of a collateral piece should fall in line with overall strategic development and include a way to measure whether your product matches your marketing goals.
Start With the WHY
You know your company needs marketing collateral, but do you know why? What are your reasons for developing the marketing piece—what do you hope to achieve? You may intend to accomplish a number of things with your piece—building your brand and credibility, offering product information or updates, explaining how your product or service is unique, and much more. A company should have specific objectives that work toward particular business goals when developing marketing collateral.
Who’s Your Audience?
Determine, understand, and get to know your audience in the early planning stages, as this will dictate everything about your presentation, including your design, layout, text, images, and overall message.
Chose a Format and Develop the Message
Your message and format go hand-in-hand, because the message must match the format, as well as the overall goal. For example, if your goal is to build credibility by providing expert knowledge, you will need to choose a longer-form product like a white paper of PDF, rather than a short form product like a brochure or postcard. With this format in mind, you can move forward with meaning and intention.
Develop the Design
Collateral developers want to start with design because it’s visually grounding, but this step actually comes near the end of the process. Design and layout should help deliver your message, rather than overtake it. Use powerful images that send your message visually. Return to your project objectives and goals: does your design meet or complement these crucial needs?
Project Measurement and Management
The project may be complete, but assessment and management are ongoing. It’s time to evaluate how the overall product and individual components meet the objectives and goals of the project.