With most marketing conducted online, it shouldn’t surprise you the amount of content — also known as marketing collateral — your business is producing each week. Each of those pieces could be considered essential to your efforts in growing your business, but how do you know if you’re utilizing them in the best ways possible? Let’s start by defining marketing collateral.
What is marketing collateral?
Defining marketing collateral is pretty simple. Whether it’s print or digital, you can categorize anything you use to communicate your brand’s message as marketing collateral. And with most marketing happening online, the opportunities for you to promote your brand are endless. But knowing what marketing collateral to use when and who to send it to is half the battle — i.e., you shouldn’t be handing out white papers to someone who’s set eyes on your brand for the first time today.
How is marketing collateral used?
Knowing when to use your assets will depend on how marketing collateral is used overall. Generally, each piece tends to fall into one of the following areas of your business:
Collateral used for brand awareness is meant to educate potential customers. Any brand awareness collateral created should focus on your customers’ needs and showing them that you understand their problems. This type of collateral is also used to introduce your brand.
Creating collateral for lead generation will help your prospects decide regarding what you have to offer. These types of content pieces should prove your success with past customers, get contact information or provide extra information.
By now, any potential customers likely in need of additional info on the advantages your product or company offers over your competitors. To get them to click “buy” or move forward down the customer journey, you’ll want to create sales enablement content that provides additional details about your services.
This type of collateral is used to build and strengthen relationships you have with existing customers. Whether it’s reminder emails or support articles, they tend to be valuable tools that keep you in contact with your customers.
Types of marketing collateral by use case
Now let’s go through a quick overview of the different types of marketing collateral you can use in each of those areas.
Blog post articles can be used to help solve a problem, present a solution or answer questions for customers — without feeling like a forced sales pitch.
Social media posts are most effective when used to inform viewers or promote a product or service your business provides.
Infographics can be a standalone piece or included as part of an article or blog post. Infographics are great at getting you noticed because of the visual appeal.
Podcasts are a unique way to communicate with your audience. This type of marketing collateral can help tell your brand story to listeners who are always on the go or audible learners.
Fondly known as junk mail, direct mail is a physical piece of collateral used to communicate with customers. Use direct mail service as an additional channel to conduct a marketing campaign.
eBooks are longer than blog posts and go further in-depth on specific topics. Think of eBooks as slightly more detailed guides. Since eBooks can only be accessed in exchange for a prospect’s contact information, they’re an excellent conduit for lead generation.
White papers focus on more technical topics. They’re beneficial in attracting leads by delivering information at the point in the customer journey when prospects are considering your services.
Reports help stakeholders stay engaged as they access information like sales figures and company growth. They’re more effective when you use visual components.
Webinars are a simple way to communicate with your audience, offer free, valuable information, and increase your customers’ expertise. They’re also great as a resource for other marketing collateral.
A landing page is the starting point for collecting information as they often require prospects to fill out a form in exchange for a piece of content or to get on your mailing list.
With the recent shift toward a digital-first experience, business proposals are taking on more flair and personality companies are finding better, more interesting ways to convince clients to invest.
Product brochures can help increase sales by empowering you to showcase what you have to offer. They’re easier for audiences to get a quick overview of your products.
Case studies are used to highlight how your services have impacted customers in real life. They’re often used in partnership with a satisfied customer so prospects can visually see people willing to vouch for you.
One-pagers highlight what your business is about, the problem you’re trying to solve and what your audience can do for you. One-pagers are typically used when pitching to investors or for distribution among clients and partners.
Complex product? An explainer video can simplify your product’s functionality easily and intuitively. Post it to your homepage or share it on your social media platforms.
Newsletters are an easy way to stay in touch with your clients, keeping them up-to-date on new products or features while also driving traffic to your site.
Email is a great method of re-engaging customers to subscribe or complete a purchase.
Providing training videos to customers helps build customer relationships. Videos like these can be used to take customer service that extra mile if you offer a complex product.
Support articles are used to expand your customer service by providing explanations to issues other customers may have encountered or to answer frequently asked questions around certain features of your product or services.
Best practices for marketing collateral management
Start by taking inventory and organizing your marketing assets. Once you have a catalog of all your marketing collateral, you can begin eliminating unused pieces of content and then templatizing and customizing your most-used pieces.
With a solid library in place of all your non-digital and digital collateral, you’ll want to make sure these pieces are easily accessible and editable to anyone in your organization who uses them. Templatizing your digital collateral is also a sure-fire way to guarantee that all content with your name on it follows your brand image and guidelines.
With templates in place, it’s now a thousand times easier for you to customize your marketing collateral. Your templates will allow your teams to repurpose just about any piece of collateral you have stored.
With this understanding of how to use your marketing collateral, you can create more effective content and better utilize your existing marketing collateral. Still need a little extra help? Check out our ebook on effective content.