#FivetipsFriday More Memorable Company Literature

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.48.17 PMYour company’s literature – sell sheets, brochures, corporate overviews, and more – can on some occasions serve as your handshake with existing or potential customers. If you cannot be there in person as someone is learning about your company or your products, your company literature should do an adequate job of getting all of your desired messages across. Unfortunately, company literature has in some cases been grouped with tactics categorized as “traditional marketing.” In other words, you might think of literature as being old hat or behind the times. You might think of company literature as something that needs to be out there for utilitarian reasons, but in terms of creative presentation, it’s just not that important. We beg to differ. While your competitors might be confident with the status quo, you could truly stand out if your customers and prospects found your communications memorable and creative.

How can you accomplish that objective? Here are five ideas.

1. Invest in a high-quality stock

Despite the fact that our culture is becoming increasingly digital, there still is a tactile experience to handling hard copies of literature. While people may not know factually that certain stocks are more expensive than others, the way high-quality paper feels makes a difference. Consider the opacity (no show-through), finish (gloss or dull coat) and weight (text or cover).  It matters.

2. Invest in a high-quality printer

Even if you select a fine stock, if your printer does a poor job, your piece will reflect poorly on your company. A good printer will focus on quality control issues. For example, they will work with you to make sure your finished piece won’t get marred by fingerprints. They will make sure artwork doesn’t bleed through from one side to another. For brochures, they will make sure your piece is folded and bound together evenly. Are you likely to hear compliments from customers on any one of these individual traits? Probably not. But there will be a tangible sense that your company took some care in producing the finished sell sheet or brochure or folder. All of that in the end contributes to your brand’s strength.

3. Make it about the customer, not about you

Imagine you have a choice between two sell sheets. One is titled, “Why we are amazing.” The second is titled, “How we can help you solve that problem.” Which would you select? The choice is obvious, and yet most corporate literature touts the company’s products, services, and brands with very little emphasis on what any of that really means to the customer. This can easily be changed, of course. Familiarize yourself, as a company, with what your customers consider to be their greatest obstacles. How can your products or services assist them in overcoming those difficulties? That content will help differentiate your company from those that are simply about self-promotion.

4. Invite people to bring the conversation to your social media channels

Corporate literature as a marketing tactic may be viewed as static or as a “one way communication channel,” whereas social media is often characterized as more dynamic and more permissive of two-way communication. These two worlds do not need to be mutually exclusive, however. Help your literature stand out by offering prompts in different places inviting people to join conversations via Twitter or on your Facebook page. For example, if your corporate brochure offers a section called, “Looking to the future,” you could include a question like, “What would you like to see from us in the future? Let us know on our Facebook page and reference this brochure.” Not only will this tactic make your literature more interactive (a bonus for those who pick it up), it will also help you track how many people are truly engaging with the content. More than that, by filtering people from a brochure into the more personal world of Facebook or Twitter, you can put a face and name to existing and potential customers.

5. QR Codes. Yes, QR Codes.

We know that QR codes are not the most popular marketing tools out there, but we believe this is mainly because so many companies have simply slapped QR codes onto everything without offering an indication as to why anyone should even scan the code. The fact is that if you have a lot of information you want to convey but you don’t want to develop an extremely copy-heavy piece, QR codes can be a great way to accomplish both objectives. QR codes can link to product demo videos (a way to make the piece more interactive), key pages of your website, social media channels (especially so that a person can follow you easily if they are interested in doing so) and more. Because QR codes are trackable, you can also ascertain, again, how deeply people are engaging with your content.

Some social media practitioners might have you believe that “traditional marketing is dead.” This is needless hyperbole. Opportunities to think outside the box are more numerous than they ever have been before. How will you stand out?

2 comments on “#FivetipsFriday More Memorable Company Literature

  1. Good reminder to all that this is not an “either or” proposition, relative to traditional versus new media, but “both, well integrated.” For some clients, particularly B2B clients who have an extremely focused, and numerically limited, set of prospects, marketing materials – what in big agencies I think are still derisively referred to as collateral (and they think “collateral damage to our creative reputations”) – can be the both the primary branding and communications opportunities.

    Because of that, I would suggest moving your point 3 to the top of the list in priority – making sure there is a customer-centric, benefit-oriented strategy leading the way. And yes, great creative will set you apart, if only because there is so much crappy collateral out there. I also appreciate you making the case for good paper and printing… the tactile charms of a high-quality printed piece, placed personally in a prospect’s hands, are not to be underestimated.

  2. Literature, literature? You are generous, my friend!

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