Marketing Collateral 101

By Meg Guillory Burke

Our daily lives are saturated with advertisements and marketing messages. Practically everywhere you look someone is trying to capture your attention and sell you on the idea that what they have to offer is the best of the best. Estimates now show the average American sees over 3,000 of these messages every day, talk about overload! As a business in today’s market you are probably wondering how you are supposed to stand out in this crowded marketplace long enough to earn your potential customer’s hard earned dollar… well, it all starts with your marketing collateral!

What the heck is marketing collateral anyway?

Basically, marketing collateral is any Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.53.15 PMprinted element used to promote and sell your ideas, goods and services. Smaller businesses may have basic marketing collateral such as business cards, letterhead, envelopes and perhaps a brochure or a flyer; while larger businesses may have sales kits, catalogs, mail-outs, data sheets, charts and graphs, specialty products and more.

Whether your business is small or large, your marketing collateral is used to visually communicate who you are and what you do, to your target consumer. Your marketing collateral acts as part of your sales team and represent you to the public, so make them as good as your finances allow.

How do you create effective marketing collateral?

Set a goal.   Initially you must decide what each of your collateral pieces will be used for. Your business cards provide pertinent contact information and may be used in initial meetings with potential customers. A brochure may provide a brief overview of your company’s benefits and capabilities; while flyers or direct mailers could be used to promote a special event or sale. Letterhead and envelopes support brand identity and may be used for follow up communication or invoicing. Sales kits provide a more detailed insight into your business and/or services and can work as a secondary form of communication to keep your business top-of-mind and recognizable.

Develop a theme. Each element of your marketing collateral must work to convey
your company image and collectively. Implementing a consistent theme throughout creates brand recognition or an awareness of your business’ existence and availability. People buy from who they know; generally the more recognized brands achieve the most sales.

Consider your audience.  Most businesses have a specific target. A simple way to Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.53.47 PMdetermine your target consumer is to ask yourself who, what, when, where, why and how questions.

  • Who is your end user?
  • What do they do?
  • When would they seek your services or products?
  • Where do they live?
  • Why should they choose your business?
  • How can you reach them?

Answering these questions help you understand your audience’s demographics and psychographics, or what drives them to buy.

Determine your message.  Once you have determined who you are selling to, you must be able to inform them about what you are selling and then motivate them to make the purchase from you and not your competition.

It is imperative that your information and facts are accurate and truthful. Use proper grammar and check spelling and punctuation, something as simple as a misspelled word can reflect poorly on your company’s image. Include a call to action or incentive for your audience, such as a discount or special reward, as a way to track the return on your collateral investment. You can even generate a sense of trust by including past client testimonials or listing any performance recognitions your products or services may have received.

Remember to keep the message simple. Your marketing materials have a matter of seconds to capture someone’s attention, so make sure the benefits of doing business with your company can be comprehended quickly without causing any confusion.

Implement strong creative.  Are your marketing materials attractive and engaging? Do they persuade the potential buyer to inquire further? The look and feel of your materials greatly affects whether or not you make the sale, so every detail matters.Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 4.54.36 PM

There are countless ways to visually communicate your message and achieve a one of a kind look. For example, on a brochure, flyer or sales kit, use graphic elements, charts or graphs to make facts such as your capabilities, costs and/or business location stand out. Use photography or images to suggest reality in your customer’s mind. Then, add captions to help convey necessary details.

A unique shape or size can make your brochure stick out in a stack of hundreds. A catchy or humorous slogan could make your business memorable.

Even the paper stock you print your materials on can set it apart from your competition. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity, just be sure these creative aspects compliment your overall message and are consistent.

Don’t forget to include your logo on everything! Continually use the same color selections and font styles on all your materials. An inconsistent look can confuse your customer and negate your brand’s identity.

Seek help.  Not everyone is creative and witty; don’t let this defeat the effectiveness of your collateral! There is no shame in seeking help. Hiring a third party, such as an advertising agency, who offers solutions for copywriting, editing, creative development and market research can greatly improve your chances of creating successful marketing collateral.

You are now equipped with all the necessary knowledge to create outstanding, eye-catching, unique marketing collateral elements! Just remember, businesses are a dime a dozen, but with proper research and a savvy strategy, your business can stand out from the crowd!

5 Reasons Why You Should Be On Google Plus

 


Google-Plus

Google+ launched in 2011. Although its initial response was lukewarm, over the last year it has gained a lot of momentum.

It has several interesting features like video chatting also known as Hangouts, Circle Shares, Communities, to name a few. Here are the top five reasons why we believe your brand should be on Google+:

  1. Better SEOs: Google will weigh your content higher in its search engine if you connect it via Google+, a process known as Authorship. It’s relatively easy to setup and we highly recommend doing so. So, posting your blog content on the network will result in increased exposure.
  2. Video Conferencing & Live Streaming: Hangouts are a great way to get up to 10 people together virtually and free to discuss ideas and generally meet visually. This allows for a more personal experience. Also, the Hangouts On Air (HOA) feature allows for streaming video via Google+ and YouTube. HOAs have made it extremely easy for companies of all sizes to hold seminars, meetings and webinars and to broadcast podcasts with ease.
  3. No character limit: There are no character limits like 140 characters on twitter. This allows discussions to flourish and for stronger relationships to grow with your consumers/readers.
  4. Integrated Services: For example: Google Local is now integrated with Google+. Having a listing in Google search is no longer separate; instead it’s integrated into the Google+ business pages. Therefore setting up a business page can’t be ignored.
  5. Google Loves Google+: Google is completely dedicated to Google+. This means that it will continue to add features and place more emphasis on the network to influence the company’s other products.

If you are still not convinced, checkout Jeff Bulla’s reasons here!

 

Positive Impact of Social Media in 2013


We know social Media has made its mark when the mainstream brands around the globe are using their resources to make a statement and to even take a stand!

Social Media was used to its optimum potential in 2013. Few of the landmark campaign from around the world, that made ripples across the world are:

  • Pantene (Philippines) took a stand on gender inequality in the work place and society as a whole. They pride themselves in being a ‘woman-centric’ brand hence it was right on-point for them to unmask the double standards that exist which, over time, people have come to accept as a norm. With the help of social media the campaign gained momentum and crossed borders, resonating with women worldwide. Have a look below and decide for yourself:

  • Dove has been famous for decades for its positive and re-enforcing ad campaigns which always feature real women with real bodies. Hence, it comes as no surprise that they would use their resources and creativity in addressing one of the biggest issues looming over women world over: BODY IMAGE! This (below) compelling social experiment highlights how most women view their bodies and appearances. This became one of the most shared and blogged about campaigns in 2013.

    • Tanishq is a luxury jewelry brand in India. In the country, which is obsessed with fairness cremes and lotions and where most (if not all) ad campaigns are around ‘fair skin’, Tanshiq took a bold step (and a huge risk) by choosing a dusky model for their project. However, their story of bravado doesn’t end here. They also picked the subject of ‘re-marriage’ for their campaign which is unheard of and has to be a first for any mainstream Indian brand. This is a good example of how social media is a tool of brands which can help them take a stand and make a difference in their society. It can help brands change the mindset of their audience, even if it is one-at-a-time.

Social Media definitely has its short comings, but with companies using it wisely to help social causes and bring light to issues which get buried in documentaries and journals it is proving to be quite a boon when it matters!

What are your thoughts on Social Media and how has it impacted you?

Small Town Advertising – How do you do it?


By Kathy Rudkin

shutterstock_132470147Many people wish they lived in the reclusive existence portrayed in a Norman Rockwell town. You know the type – the ones he usually depicted in his paintings showing the quaint historical town with people relaxing at the sidewalk cafes with their faithful dogs beside them. Or the scene of the beautiful serene river where the children are playing and families are having an afternoon picnic, free from the hustle and bustle of city living. Sound familiar? The Texas Hill Country… obviously a great place to live and the reason many of us chose to move here. However, this same small town quaintness can also poise a challenge when it comes to making a living and promoting your business.

Marketing in a small town can be similar to throwing Jell-O on a wall… how do you do it and make it stick? How do you grow your business with limited resources, limited mediums within a limited market?

As we all know, the Hill Country has a different way of life as well as conducting business; therefore, many “traditional” methods of advertising – just don’t work here. Getting to know your community and how the market works will give you an edge in knowing how to reach them.

Many years ago, I ran across an advertising poem that made a profound impact on me. It is as accurate today as it was the day I read it:

Why Is It?

A man wakes up after sleeping

under an advertised blanket,

on an advertised mattress,

pulls off advertised pajamas,

bathes in an advertised shower,

shaves with an advertised razor,

brushes his teeth with advertised toothpaste,

washes with advertised soap,

puts on advertised clothes,

drinks a cup of advertised coffee,

drives to work in an advertised car,

and then, refuses to advertise,

believing it doesn’t pay.

Later when business is poor,

he advertises it for sale.

Why is this?

(author unknown)

 Owning an advertising agency, I frequently see clients who are desperate and on their last effort to make their businesses work. I am often amazed at what they have – or more likely have not – done to insure the success of their businesses.

In the last 16 years, we have work many different types of clients and have been exposed to many industries. Not only do we handle national clients with large budgets, but also the “mom and pop” type businesses that comes in for help on a local flyer. Regardless of the size, the key marketing essentials that work for a million dollar account are the same basic essentials that work for the local company with limited funds. The key is to prioritize, stop wasting dollars, stay consistent and get a plan. Many times in our effort to save money, we actually spend more in the long run.

  1. Logo: In a small community, this is probably your best-spent advertising dollars. You want to appear “legitimate” and therefore creating a professional logo is crucial. Many times, I am astonished to see what people consider a “logo.” Refrain for having the 10th grader down the street, who can use a rudimental graphic program, build your most important aspect of your business – your branding. Really think about how your logo is going to be used, who you target market is, and what message you are trying to convey. This tells who you are and what you do. Don’t make people guess what you do. The logo should tell it.

Your result should be vibrant, vital and purpose-driven logo that reflects your company. Once determined – stick with it. This is your brand and a representation of your company. From this point forward, all your materials should be consistent in look, feel and color. When people see it, they immediately recognize it and know what you do. It becomes part of the community.

  1. Branding: Once your logo & color scheme is determined, your next step will be branding – letterhead, business cards, signs, specialty packaging such bags, tags & other in-store items. Again, consistency! Handing out business cards that you have printed off your home computer and crookedly cut – don’t portray an image of professionalism. Business cards are one of the least expensive items you can produce. For under a $100, you can have professional cards that represent and tell what your business does –many times it is your first and only impression to your customer.

In a small town, quality signage is critical as well as one of the most important aspects of bringing awareness to your business. How often have we driven by and noticed the hand painted sign by the business owners themselves and immediately base a poor opinion about their business, just by the sign. If you don’t have budget to hire a graphic artist or an advertising agency to help you with this project, most sign companies do have design departments that can walk you through this phase of marketing and get you positioned in the community right off the bat.

  1. Advertising: How do I get my message out? In small community, there are ways to reach your market.
    1. Websites: This immediately establishes creditability and can be its own marketing tool. In today’s market, we are Internet driven. For example… you make an appointment with a doctor, you go online… want to see a concert, you go on line…looking for tile, you go online. We are a generation driven by, as well legitimize businesses, based on the look and feel of their websites. Again, put some of your advertising dollars into this. The cheapest avenue is not necessarily the best avenue. They are many companies out there toting themselves as “web development companies.” Look at their website! If their website is poor, than it is a waste of money. Research who you use, get references, look at their portfolios, visit with customers who have used them and bid it out. Be sure to tell your web developer of future growth and your future wish list. This ensures that your design can grow with you. A good website should last your 2 to 3 years before needing a fresh look.
    1. Newspaper: There are many ways to reach out in small markets. Newspaper and direct mail being a large percent of your annual budgeting. We are surrounded by small communities in this area, which have loyal readers and reasonable rates for display ads. Local newspapers, typically have a loyal reader that takes the paper for several reasons; 1.) to see what going on in their local government, 2.) find local activities and local businesses to use, and 3.) to see who made the paper that they know. The goal in newspaper is to stand out. Don’t crowd your ad with everything in your store trying to get the most bang for your buck. This is a common mistake and will blend you right in with the rest of the paper, basically throwing away your advertising dollars.  Don’t be afraid of white space and clever headlines. Add spot color to pop off the page. Spend a little more to get a larger ad. Position it in the right area – request where you would like your ad to fall in the paper.  And last, but not least, don’t limit yourself.  Expand your advertising dollars to other regional areas – go into other town newspapers as well.
    1. Direct Mail: What better way to get your product out then to hand pick your user and tailor your message specifically to them – having plenty of real estate to do it. Did you know that you can produce a 6 x 11 postcard and inexpensively as you can a 4 x 5?

There are many secrets to direct mail that can make a significant difference in getting noticed. First, get an eye-catching message. Think it through. Don’t waste money, get a professional involved. If no one responds to your direct mail, then you didn’t save money.

You will only have a split second to catch someone’s attention and only the clever, colorful and best-designed pieces make the cut.  Go large – a 6 x 11 postcard towers over the standard #10 envelope and mails under 20¢ bulk rate. Print on a 100# cover instead of a coated card stock – you will save hundreds of dollars by simply choosing your paper correctly. And most of all, hire a mailing house for your list, labeling and your postage.

Your list is the most important part of your direct mail. You need to narrow down who your market really is and sharpen that down to a primary target market and a secondary market. You also do not have to do all the mailing in one mail out. For budget purposes, buy your entire list to save money on the minimal list cost, but mail in increments as your finances allow. This also allows you to tract what is working. If you own a business that you can give a discount or an incentive, this is always helpful in the tracking and future planning of campaigns. Be sure that you have realistic expectations. A successful direct mail piece should generate a response rate of 2-4%.

Many people try to save money by doing their own labels and mailing themselves. This could not be further for the truth. You are paying first-call postage as well as your valuable time spent doing it. A mailing house in the long run will save you money. Mailing houses are set up to mail in large quantities. They have systems that ink jet the address right on the card as well as the postal bar code. This will significantly drop your postage costs by simply adding the bar code. In fact, it drops is so much that it will typically pay for the cost of the mailing service. Also, most mail houses have established bulk rate permit numbers that they will let you use. This will also be a substantial savings going bulk. They do require you to pay the postage at the time of mailing to use their permit number. Keep in mind; if you are promoting an event, bulk rate mailing takes longer to be received so you will need to adequately back out the date you need them to arrive in homes.

Your business can grow substantially through consistent advertising, having a marketing plan as well as community involvement and word of mouth. Your goal is to prove that you are resource and not just someone providing another unnecessary service. Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Advertising is doing.

In the next few months, we will be addressing many other avenues for marketing in a small community such as: PR, radio and TV, billboards, specialty items, events, other local resources as well as community involvement.

Those of us who enjoy the peace and serenity of living in a small town atmosphere still need to address and realize that our chosen lifestyle demands success and long-term growth in our business… our livelihood.

Social Madness Campaign

Hello Rudkin supporters,

We are participating in the Social Madness campaign in the ‘Small’ business category. And we need your help. Click upon the image below (or simply click here) and vote for Rudkin Productions.

RudkinProductions_SocialMadnessIf you are active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin connect with us there and the more you interact with us, the more you help us improve our chances of winning. Once we make it to the Phase 2 of the campaign we will pick a charity we will be supporting should we win. Stay tuned for more updates on that!

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