Any time you communicate with your target audience, you’re using marketing collateral. Your marketing emails, sales sheets, and website are different types of marketing collateral used for various purposes like attracting and converting new customers.
Every successful marketing strategy has thoughtful, valuable marketing collateral. Even if you don’t realize it, you use marketing collateral to communicate with prospective and existing customers.
But what is marketing collateral, and which type should you choose? It primarily depends on the stage of the customer journey, but there are several types of marketing assets you should have to communicate with customers for various marketing and advertising campaigns.
Marketing collateral is any type of digital or printed material or media asset you use for marketing and communications. It consists of various different types of media, including blogs, product pages, graphics, photographs, videos, and much more.
The assets used for attracting potential customers have evolved over time. In the past, marketing assets were primarily print materials like flyers, brochures, and mailers that supported sales.
While marketing collateral still supports sales, the digital transformation has propelled marketing forward, making way for new types of collateral for different mediums and stages of the customer journey.
The main purpose of most marketing collateral is to generate sales, but there are different types of collateral used at each stage of the customer journey. For instance, if your goal is lead generation, you might try a lead magnet like an e-guide. Meanwhile, if your goal is to bring customers back to your website, you might create a landing page for a retargeting ad.
It’s important to understand that marketing collateral isn’t just used for marketing. You can use it for internal corporate communications, HR strategies, and to promote new workplace initiatives among employees and stakeholders.
Types of marketing collateral
Marketing collateral has many different uses, and using the right type of marketing collateral at the right time can improve your efforts. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of marketing collateral and when you’d use them.
Print is the most traditional form of marketing collateral. Before the internet, print assets were the only options for supporting sales and educating consumers. Print collateral isn’t going away anytime soon. While it’s not as measurable as digital collateral, it does have its place and has been proven effective for attracting and converting potential customers. Some of the most common types of print marketing collateral include the following:
Everyone knows what a brochure is; you typically get them when visiting college campuses and businesses to provide you with a fast snapshot of important information. Any company can use brochures as a marketing asset because they’re convenient for your target audience. The next time you attend a trade show, consider using brochures so you can give your prospects more information that they can hold onto.
This type of marketing collateral is typically used for brand awareness, but it could be used throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey to provide prospects with more information about your brand or its products and services.
Flyers and posters
Flyers and posters are other portable options you can share with customers. They differ from brochures because they’re not folded. Instead, you may choose to use the front or both sides of a sheet of printer paper. This type of marketing collateral should be used to attract customers during the first stage of the funnel, and they rely heavily on design.
Every executive in your company should have a business card they can share with prospects they meet wherever they go. Business cards are convenient for both parties, allowing you to carry them in your pocket or wallet and hand them directly to prospects. Since they fit in your pocket, they’re virtually frictionless.
Business cards are typically best for when you attend conferences or trade shows, but it’s always a good idea to keep some on hand in case you meet someone who might be interested in learning more about you or your business.
A sell sheet is a visual representation of your business’s pitch and can support your sales team. It should include visuals like your logo, branding elements, products, headlines, and body copy that draw attention to your offerings. Sell sheets are typically used in the brand awareness and consideration stage because they detail how your solution solves a problem and focuses on the features and benefits.
Another type of sales sheet is a price list, a type of marketing collateral that relies less on graphic design and more on providing information. If you sell products and, for some reason, don’t want to list their prices on your website, you should have a price list. The price list can be used internally by sales reps and externally by customers who want to learn about your prices without asking directly.
If you invest in product advertising, you know the importance of being able to highlight your product offerings in a quick and simple way that’s easy to understand. Many companies, including retail and e-commerce businesses, use product catalogs to attract and retain customers. Consider this: A potential customer visits your website but they don’t make a purchase. However, they sign up for marketing communications, which include direct mail.
These visitors may return to your website, but you can remind them of your unique and high-quality product offerings by sending them a catalog. This gives them another opportunity to learn about your business and its products without being disruptive.
Digital marketing collateral is the more modern approach to marketing collateral. Now, brands can use a wide range of digital materials to communicate directly with their target audience in a way that’s considered more engaging and measurable.
With digital assets, companies can reach more consumers and measure the performance of their campaigns.
For instance, your website and landing pages are marketing collateral that supports your sales goals. However, unlike traditional print collateral, you can measure its performance by looking at metrics like traffic and engagement and making real-time changes based on real customer data.
Digital collateral helps businesses reach a wider audience at a lower cost. Some of the most popular types include the following:
Every business needs an email marketing lead nurturing strategy because it’s cost-effective and offers one of the highest returns on investment (ROI). Your emails are collateral because they’re used to communicate directly with consumers.
Additionally, the elements you use within your email are also marketing collateral. For instance, the brand photos and messages used to nurture leads and convert customers are themselves considered marketing collateral. Then, once you put it all together to create the actual email blast, it becomes its own type of marketing collateral.
Email marketing is effective across the funnel. You can use it to increase brand awareness about your products or services, convince existing customers to return to your website and convert customers by sending abandoned cart reminders.
Many service providers use presentations and sales decks to help explain their offerings to prospective customers. Sales presentations or sales decks are common with B2B and SaaS providers because they provide quick overviews of the product or service offering while giving the customer something they can look back on if they have any additional questions.
Sales presentations are usually supplemental, but for complex products that require you to sell directly to a customer, they can be helpful tools.
Every social media post you make is considered online marketing collateral. However, your overall social media marketing strategy is also collateral. Your profiles, collection of posts, profile pictures, and bio are all important marketing collateral that helps you communicate with your target audience.
Every time you make a post, you’re creating content that serves as a valuable asset to your business and its customers. Everything from branded social posts to the captions you use is your own branded marketing collateral necessary for communicating with your audience.
Blogs are another type of marketing collateral that can boost brand awareness and drive conversions online. These articles educate your customers and provide them with value beyond trying to get them to make a purchase. Instead, you want your business to use blogs to build trust and become a thought leader. The more helpful customers believe your blogs are, the more likely they’ll be to purchase your products and services.
Blog posts don’t have to be directly related to your products or services. Instead, they should inform customers about topics that interest them about your niche or industry.
eBooks and guides
eBooks and guides are downloadable assets typically used for lead generation. When someone visits your website, you can promote your guide and ask them for information such as their name, phone number, email, business name, and so forth. Giving potential customers a free piece of educational content that’s actionable and provides useful information can help them through the funnel.
You can also use the information you’ve collected to communicate with your audience in other ways. Make sure your visitors opt-in for email marketing, SMS marketing, or any other type of communication. Then, you can use this information to start communicating with them regularly.
Infographics are highly visual and engaging and can prevent information in an easy-to-understand format with illustrations, graphics, and charts. This type of marketing collateral is also sharable, meaning you can use it on your website, in blogs, or on social media. Depending on your business, you may even use infographics on print materials like flyers to relay information in a way that’s easily digestible.
Infographics fit into every stage of the marketing funnel, whether you’re trying to attract brand awareness or convert website visitors into paying customers.
Other marketing collateral
Many types of marketing collateral are either digital or print, but they can be both or neither. Let’s take a look at a few other types of marketing collateral you can use to promote your business and communicate with potential and existing customers:
Billboards, print media, search engine marketing (SEM), native ads, and display ads are just a few types of advertising you can invest in to grow your business. These advertisements, whether they’re on the radio, television, search engines, or in your favorite magazines, are types of marketing collateral you use to promote your business and communicate with customers.
Testimonials are the most common form of social proof because they’re easy to get. Customers leave you reviews all the time, whether you know it or not, but you can also gather testimonials from existing customers to give prospects more of a reason to trust your brand.
Consumers typically look at reviews before deciding to purchase a product. Even if you have beautiful brand photography and elegant product descriptions, your customers still want to know whether your business can be trusted to deliver on its promises. Testimonials can help potential customers take action by giving them proof that your business and its products and services do what you say they will.
Case studies are typically digital assets, but they may also be in print materials used to pitch prospective customers. A case study is a study of a person, group, or event, and many businesses use them as social proof because they’re a step above testimonials.
Instead of telling prospects about what other customers have said about your business, you can show them how your business helped another succeed using a case study with real data. Case studies are typically used in the middle of the funnel to help convince prospects to take action.
White papers are another middle-of-the-funnel tool used to promote a product or service and persuade buyers to take action. They’re more in-depth than case studies and stand to educate a target audience about a particular topic.
White papers are different from other types of marketing collateral like eBooks and case studies because they’re more comprehensive and less flashy. They rely heavily on research but can include graphics and infographics to help make information more digestible.
Branded swag, also known as promotional products, can range from pens to t-shirts and everything in between with your logo on them. While it might seem like a major expense, swag marketing turns your customers into brand advocates. For instance, if you give your customers free t-shirts, they might wear them while they’re running errands and for more casual days, which means increasing your brand awareness because everyone who sees them will see their shirt.
Swag is a great way to get on top of your customer’s minds. Everyone loves free products they can use, and swag increases brand recognition and engagement.
Marketing collateral is crucial for any business. Whether you invest in a primarily digital strategy or purely organic marketing, you need marketing collateral to support your goals and grow your business. Here are a few reasons why marketing collateral matters:
Enhance brand awareness
Great marketing collateral will help your company build brand awareness. During this stage, your customers either know they have a problem but don’t know the solution, or they don’t realize they have a problem. At this point in the customer journey, they’re exploring their options and not ready to make a purchase.
Marketing collateral can enhance brand awareness to help attract customers to your business. For instance, if someone is looking for premium dog food for their pooch, they might start with a Google search, where they find your blog.
Marketing collateral examples that can be used in the brand awareness stage include blogs, eBooks, infographics, flyers, and business cards.
Generate leads and sales
All the marketing collateral your business uses should support your sales goals. Assets used to capture leads include white papers, eBooks, guides, testimonials, and case studies, all of which can help during the decision-making process.
Of course, not every customer in the funnel will convert, but you can use marketing collateral to guide them through the funnel and help them make a purchasing decision. To convert customers, you might use email marketing, product pages on your website, and sales sheets with important information they can use to determine if your product or service is right for them.
Build credibility and trust
The only way to increase sales and customer loyalty is to build credibility and trust. When your customers trust you, you’ll be on top of their minds when they need your products and services. Marketing collateral can be used to build credibility and trust.
Thought leadership articles in national publications, press releases, and blog posts can be used to build trust and increase your credibility.
Support customer engagement and retention
Engaged customers are happy customers who tend to spend more and come back repeatedly. Always keep your customers in mind when creating marketing collateral. Your collateral should always keep your customers engaged, which means actively communicating and building a relationship with your brand to foster loyalty.
One of the best types of marketing collateral to increase customer engagement is social media, which allows you to communicate in a more personal way.
Your marketing collateral supports your sales goals; without it, you can’t engage your customers. Unfortunately, many businesses have a lot of content they’re not using to effectively guide customers through the marketing funnel. Here are a few tips to help you create and use your marketing collateral more effectively:
Know your audience
Every brand and business has a target audience. If you want to create personalized marketing collateral to use in promotional campaigns, you need to know who your target audience is. You can collect information on them using your website, sending surveys, or investing in market research to learn more about your audience before you begin designing collateral.
Consistent in design and branding
Brand recognition requires consistency in design and branding. You should use your logo, brand colors, taglines, and other branding elements regularly in your marketing collateral to help it stick in your customers’ minds.
Your branding shows off your company’s unique personality and voice, so it’s crucial to stay consistent so customers can easily find and recognize your marketing collateral.
Focus on benefits, not features
The features of your products and services are important, but they’re not the most important element of your marketing collateral. Instead of focusing on features, consider focusing on the benefits to your customers. You create products and services because you’re trying to solve a customer’s problem. Addressing their pain points in your marketing collateral is more impactful than highlighting the features of the product, especially if your goal is to increase brand awareness.
Once you’ve hooked your audience, you can highlight the specific features that might interest them and their benefits to ensure customers that your solution is the best.
Use high-quality visuals and copy
The main goal of marketing collateral is to support your sales goals. However, that doesn’t mean you should be salesy at all times. Consider where your customers are in the funnel and find the best types of assets you can use to increase engagement and generate interest.
Whatever you decide, you’ll need high-quality visuals and copy that convince customers to take action. If you’ve invested in branding, you should already have some messaging options, taglines, logos, and other visuals to support your marketing efforts.
Measure the success of marketing collateral
Marketing collateral supports your business goals. Any time you create content, take photos, or make a new social media post, you’re creating marketing collateral. But is your marketing collateral working? Is it helping you increase sales and attract more customers? The only way to find out is to measure it.
With Mailchimp, you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing collateral, including your website, specific web pages, emails, and much more. Learn about your audience and create targeted campaigns that increase sales. Try Mailchimp today.