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Back to Basics

Back to Basics

A couple of recent projects have got me thinking about the process of creating marketing collateral. Often, when producing sales and marketing material, companies can get so caught up in the detail that they lose sight of the fundamental aim of their marketing, missing out on valuable sales leads as a result. So, I propose that we take some time to go back to basics.

A couple of recent projects have got me thinking about the process of creating marketing collateral. Often, when producing sales and marketing material, companies can get so caught up in the detail that they lose sight of the fundamental aim of their marketing, missing out on valuable sales leads as a result. So, I propose that we take some time to go back to basics.

For example, a highly conceptual piece of creative marketing is great, but if it contains no clear call to action for the reader, it is unlikely to obtain desired results. An eye-caching brochure with an exciting design is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, but it must also contain information about what you are offering, what the benefits of this offer are, and how to contact you for more information. It may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how often these basics are forgotten! As long as the fundamentals are there, you are then free to be as original, creative and conceptual as you desire – but first and foremost, the material needs to communicate your offer, your key messages, and your brand as clearly as possible.

Whether overhauling a website, creating a new brochure or designing an advertising campaign, a company or brand needs a “checklist” that it can use against all of its sales tools to ensure that this material is helping to meet business objectives.

The prominent marketer, E. Jerome McCarthy, proposed a Four ‘P’s classification in 1960, which has since been widely used by marketers throughout the world. These are Product (the right product that meets the customer’s needs); Price (a price that attracts buyers but is also profitable); Place (distributed adequately to the target audience); and Promotion (ensuring your market knows the product is available.) These four P’s are useful to bear in mind when building your messaging and positioning platform, and creating collateral to support this platform.

However, I propose the addition of a fifth P – PACKAGING. Not in the traditional sense of the word, but rather HOW you communicate your offer to the customer, from the copy and tone of your website and brochure to the imagery used to re-enforce your key messages.  Your four P’s need to be wrapped up in a clear, coherent, simple and consistent package in order to create the strongest possible communication with your target audience.

So next time you are reviewing a piece of sales collateral, take a step back and ask yourself the following questions first:

  • Who am I talking to – does this piece clearly communicate who the product is aimed at?
  • What is the value I am offering my customers – and is it clearly stated?
  • How am I different from the competitor – what are my Unique Selling Points and are they reinforced by this item?
  • Are my messages clear and simple – and do they prompt the reader to contact me or find out more?
by Shariq Sharif