It has been my experience that most businesses fall into either one of two categories when it comes to marketing and collateral material…They either understand how to leverage collateral material to add value to the sales and branding process or they don’t. I’ve personally witnessed any number of companies that have very little if any collateral material because it’s viewed as a frivolous expenditure of funds. Conversely, I’ve observed other companies who massively overspend on the development of their collateral material only to suffer from underutilization, or worse yet no utilization at all of the material created. In today’s post, I’ll provide some guidelines for getting the most bang for your buck with regard to your corporate collateral material…

I could probably author a hundred different posts on the topic of marketing materials…I could write about design, content development, brand continuity, etc. and could cover everything from business cards to wikis. However, in today’s post, I’m going to focus on the topics of distribution and metrics in order to provide you with the information that will allow you to most effectively quantify and leverage your return on investment.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with traditional printed material that can be used in pre-sales development via direct mail, trade shows, leave-behinds, etc. this is not where you’ll realize your greatest return. It is grossly optimistic to believe that printed collateral material traditionally distributed will create any short-term incremental growth in revenue, and even if you believe it can, you’d have a hard time proving it…

I’m a big believer in digitizing all of your collateral so that you can leverage distribution, add real value to the sales process, and most importantly have access to real-time analytics that are trackable and traceable. If you create digital copies/versions of brochures, case studies, opinion papers, research papers, white papers, articles, etc. they can be leveraged across a greater variety of distribution channels such as:

  • Being uploaded to your corporate website or stand-alone microsites;
  • Indexed on the search engines;
  • Used in e-mail campaigns;
  • Appended to blogs, wikis, newsgroups, and forums, and;
  • Used to aid in web conferences and online presentations.

By uploading your content to your corporate website or a stand-alone microsite you will not only improve the quality of your internet presence and enhance the user experience, but you can also turn the collateral material into a powerful direct marketing tool by using any of the following strategies:

  • Creating a direct revenue source by selling your research or information;
  • Using the information as an incentive to participate in a particular offering, and;
  • Using the information as a lead generation tool by requiring user registration in order to subscribe to a service or download the information.

As mentioned earlier in the post, by “webatizing” your collateral you will have access to metrics that can provide a wide array of qualitative and quantitative analytics that provide you with real-time information that is trackable and traceable. Another benefit of digitizing your collateral material is that it can be optimized with metadata that in turn will allow it to be indexed on the search engines and found via relevant keyword searches.

Bottom line…you can choose to market “old school” and just hope your collateral material gets used and that you receive some benefit or you can intelligently use digital collateral to mine for data, drive leads, set appointments, drive sales and enhance online visibility. The more visible your company, its products, and your staff are on the Internet the more likely you are to maximize your return on investment by increasing revenue, brand awareness, and mind share.