Because businesses feel compelled to divert more marketing funds into websites, social networking and other digital properties, many inevitably question whether print-based campaigns are still worth the investment. However, despite the evolution and success of digital campaigns, they do not offer comprehensive services for reaching customers, expanding brand presence and telling the company’s story.
For that reason, print marketing collateral still needs to be a component of a company’s overarching strategy. However, print collateral can be a tightrope walk. The organization needs to have enough print product to get results and fulfill certain areas of need, but too much spending constitutes wasted money and resources. Regardless of industry, any business can benefit from some form of print marketing collateral. To determine the right degree of budget allocation, organizations must examine their brand’s circumstances to see which forms of print can be of service. The following are the three stages of this process:
1. Investing in Essentials
Nearly every business should invest in three essential forms of print: business cards, one-sheet summaries of essential products and services and brochures to be used in the sales process. Virtually all of these can be used on a regular basis and will expand a brand’s visibility and recognition while helping bring prospects deeper into the sales funnel.
2. Choosing Supplementary Materials
Certain print marketing collateral will only help companies that target certain branding and sales goals. White papers, for example, are strong print products that only help companies looking to position themselves as thought leaders or experts in their field. Similarly, case studies can be effective in certain sales circumstances, particularly for businesses that sell services to clients. Other supplemental print materials may be useful when businesses take part in trade shows and other events. Print can help dispense information and stick with prospects long after they walk away. Ultimately, each business has to decide whether these forms of print can contribute to its overall marketing goals.
3. Choosing a Level of Investment
Within the context of print collateral, brands can focus their strategies — and set their degree of investment — by reviewing certain details of their business. Target consumer bases, for example, are important. Audiences that skew older tend to be more responsive to print partly because their digital presence is limited, making print a more influential medium. How information is gathered can also make a big difference. For example, if materials are frequently distributed at trade shows, the print materials need to be available in higher quantities. However, if print collateral is only made available on the sales floor when requested, it might require a lower investment and the use of print on demand.
The key to print, however, is making sure an organization does not run out of collateral in a time of need. Because there is no expiration date, a little extra inventory never hurts. But when a company is swimming in materials that serve its brand no purpose, it is losing money.