Posted by on Mar 10, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them - From Brandwidth Solutions

by Deb Harrsch

“I want to put out a white paper, but I don’t have anything to talk about.”

Believe it or not, that is a real statement – and I’ve heard it from more than one client over the course of the past fifteen years.

I am always amazed when clients tell me they have nothing to talk about. Of course, you do!

I usually say, “Have you ever done a poster at a trade show?” The response is inevitably, “Well, yeah.”

Guess what? We can use that as the basis for a white paper!

What is a White Paper?

Let’s take a quick step back for a second and start with what is a white paper? Why are they important?

A white paper tends to be a focused, technical document which delivers information around a complex topic, and provides a company’s solution or viewpoint. It’s designed to help readers understand the topic and potential resolutions.

It’s not typically an overly-formal document, but it’s not casual like a blog, either. It usually delivers information around a process, a product, or an application. A white paper could also be based on an application note or a poster you presented at a conference.

But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a product or a service. Sometimes white papers are about big, broad topics and cover an industry like digital transformation, pharma 4.0 or AI. An example might be a white paper on AI and how it’s impacting markets.

Why Are White Papers Important?

This section is arguably the most important part of this blog post. This is why you want to use white papers in your marketing. They:

  • Educate not only your prospects, but also your sales team and the media
  • Provide decision-makers with relevant information when considering purchases
  • Produce qualified leads
  • Develop your reputation as a thought leader

And isn’t this what you really want from your marketing efforts?

White papers allow you to talk to your prospects about topics which are important to them. They explain your intellectual property via technical, process-driven content. While we obviously don’t give away your trade secrets, we do dive deep into your subject matter, demonstrating the processes you use to solve key issues for your customers.

Eccolo Media’s 2014 B2B Technology Content Survey reports that “white papers rank as the most frequently consumed content type (49%) when decision-makers consider a technology purchase.” With that many decision-makers consuming your whitepapers, it’s clear that they are an excellent lead gen tool for your marketing efforts.

While you shouldn’t “gate” or require a registration for your case studies or other literature or marketing collateral, your white papers are another story. Because the level of information and detail is more comprehensive, you can – and should – have a ‘register to download’ form gating your white papers. This gives your sales team an ongoing stream of qualified leads.

How Do You Structure a White Paper?

White papers are at least two to three pages in length – and more typically around four pages – or approximately 2,000 words. I always say that a white paper should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words. You don’t want to make them more than that, because people aren’t going to have time to read it. If you do have more information than comfortably fits into this format, you may want to consider breaking it up into several white papers focused on narrower sub-topics.

Great! So now we know how long a white paper should be – but how should you structure it?

When you think of putting together a white paper, especially a technical white paper, it will be focused in much the same way as you would approach a poster. Our typical formula for creating a white paper starts with a short abstract, which is essentially a lead into the conversation. We move on to providing information on all the elements that our client brought together to achieve the product or the service they developed. We then describe the process which created the product or solution and wrap-up with the results.

It’s very technical, and ultimately reads like a thought leadership piece.

An interesting way of adding support for the info in the white paper is to include one or more abbreviated case studies. This provides not only reinforcement of the topic and shows how your customers are using your product, but this tactic also provides a good entrance for those who are hesitating to register for the white paper.

How to Use a White Paper in Your Marketing

While people won’t give up their email and register for a case study, they are more likely to do so for a white paper, because it contains technical expertise. As I discussed earlier, white papers are a great download deliverable for lead generation. You can also use your white paper as a deliverable for gated content on third-party sites.

You should be using your white paper in your advertising as well. Whether you’re doing print or digital ads – be sure to develop a great landing page that finishes the marketing message from your ads. Once you’ve created the infrastructure, you can use the white paper in any ad you do – from trade journals to Google display ads. This gives the audience an opportunity to learn about a topic from you.

Caution! The topic of the white paper you use in advertising must match the ad or it won’t work. You can’t do a white paper on topic A and run an ad about topic Z.

By using a white paper in your advertising, you put your company in a thought leadership role. We’ve seen many situations where a prospect was not familiar with a particular company, but through advertising and white paper exposure chose to go with that company because they had discussed the topic before.

Other ways to use your white paper in your integrated marketing efforts include:

  • Social media – Because your prospects and customers are likely following you on your social channels, you should promote your white papers on your social channels along with a link to the landing page.
  • Blogs – You can re-purpose some of the white paper content into a blog post, which also pushes to the landing page where visitors can download the full white paper.
  • Press Releases – If you’re doing a press release about a certain topic and your white paper addresses that topic, you can include it as a possible download in a press release.
  • Trade Show Follow-up – You do send out mails after a trade show is over, right? In a simple “thank you for stopping by our booth” email, you can include a link to the download form for the white paper.
  • Email Newsletters – In your e-newsletters you have another opportunity to provide your customers and prospects with a link to your white paper.
  • Lead Nurturing and eMarketing Campaigns – White papers are a perfect tool to use when nurturing leads. Whether it’s a lead you met through a show, social media, or a sales call, sending a white paper as part of an ongoing lead nurturing program delivers key information to prospects when you aren’t there.

When you think about it, one single white paper can provide an ongoing abundance of qualified leads for your sales team. Every download delivers a solid reference point. “This person downloaded my white paper, so they are really interested in learning more about this particular process or thought leadership piece.” It gives your team a warm lead to follow.

Are you ready to put white papers to work? Call us today and get started.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Aug 19, 2019 in Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Who Owns Your Website?

I always ask this question when I talk to clients about their websites. What do I hear? They proudly tell me that they own their website. Why? It’s because when companies develop websites, they tend to be internally focused.

What do I say back to the client when I get that answer?

I tell them that they don’t own their website. Their customers own their website. Websites are not about companies, they’re about ‘what’s in it for me’ – the customer.

Yes, the company owns the domain and they own the content. They own taking care of the site and updating it regularly. But, the focus of that website should be on their customers and their needs.

Your Customer and Your Content

Today, your customers are constantly reaching out to read through and interact with your content before they have a conversation with your salespeople. So when your customers visit your website, they should see themselves. They should immediately know that you know who they are and what they do every day.

If your website talks more about your company than the value your products or services bring your customers, then you’ve missed the point of a website.

Website Challenges with Multiple Markets

Some clients serve multiple vertical markets. It could be that your product works the same in multiple vertical markets but each of those markets has different workflows or pain points. So, when someone goes to your website, you need to ensure your site is organized in a way that is easy for your multiple vertical markets to find themselves (and, of course, the content that’s relevant to them.)

To make things even more challenging, your multiple verticals each may have several different individuals involved with the buying decision. This is an area where your persona marketing will need to be applied because – while the vertical is the same – the audience need can vary.

For example, in a buying decision for an enterprise software product, your customer will have the IT person who has to make it work, the manager who will need to know costs and how it will interrupt business while they’re making the changeover. Also involved for a variety of reasons is the department chair or the department head, the lab manager, and the laboratory staff who will need to know how they’re going to interact with that software. All of these individuals need to know that you know how they work and what makes them tick.

Choosing Your Website Audience

When you’re building your website, you have to decide who your audiences are. Are they your multiple verticals? Or are they the same target vertical but different audience personas within that vertical? And you need to address the audiences so that they can see themselves in your messaging. Remember, each one of the personas mentioned in the above example has a different need or challenge.

Now, you don’t need to build your website out to the point where you answer every question a potential customer could possibly think up. There would be no point in talking to your salesperson! The reality is that the salesperson is going to sell your product or service better than your website can sell it. But if you give your prospect enough ‘meat’ on the website to want more information, then they have a reason to talk to your sales team.

Website Messaging

The right messaging and value propositions are key to a successful website. You need to be able to tell prospects, within the first couple of paragraphs, why they should be looking at your website for any information on your product or service.

Many times, messaging and the value proposition get lost when companies get busy in the mechanics of building the site. This happens because we lose sight of our customer and revert to our comfort zone – making the site internally focused as opposed to appropriately externally focused.

A Story from the Trenches

We have a client, LabVantage, who makes software for multiple vertical markets. Their laboratory information management system (LIMS) platform is used in labs across many industries. While in some regards the backbone of the software is the same, each vertical market has a special need and most industries have a prepackaged solution.

In building their new website, we focused on developing the site for their target industry verticals. We were trying to achieve a clean, fresh, easy-to-navigate look and feel. So the question became, how do we build a navigation that speaks to all of those audiences?

We needed to speak to each of their vertical markets and explain how the software solution was going to benefit them. We worked with LabVantage’s sales, product and marketing departments to develop a value proposition.

Our goal was to make certain that each one of those verticals were able to see themselves on the website – and more importantly on the LabVantage platform. We created messaging around:

  • what they want to do,
  • why they want to buy this software,
  • why a prepackaged solution is better, and
  • why they would want a web-based platform versus a non-web-based platform.

We also created a section that talked about the actual software platform, the technology and the architecture which addressed the needs of the IT staff and the individual making the case for buying the software.

At the same time, we created supporting documents (or collateral) – not just a brochure but white papers and case studies – that were focused on each vertical market. In this way, when the food & beverage lab person or the pharma lab manager or the oil & gas individual or the biobanking department visits the content they’ll react with “LabVantage understands my needs. They understand what I face every day.”

To make finding information as easy as possible for prospects, LabVantage chose to house this information in a Knowledge Center as well as in each individual vertical.

Another key area of LabVantage’s website for customers is their blog. They have an incredible blog targeted to their multiple audiences. The blog is important because it enables them to consistently refresh the content on the site to improve search engine rankings. It also offers regular new content addressing concerns, challenges and industry-related issues facing customer and prospects. We created a search feature specifically for the blog allowing customers and prospects search capabilities for topics of interest.

Our goal was to provide enough information for their buyers so they would reach out to ask more questions of LabVantage’s salespeople.

It’s all about the Customer.

Your website might look beautiful, clean, and professional but if it mentions your company name in every single paragraph, you’ll need to re-think your content. It’s not about your company, it’s not about your internal product department or your marketing department. Customers don’t need to see that. It has to be about what your customer needs to see on the website.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post: What You Need to do in Phase One of Your Website Development Project!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Science & Social Media: Does it Work?

Wheels create power and movement – and you definitely want to have movement in your marketing! So far, in recent blog posts we’ve talked about all of the sections of the Brandwidth Solutions marketing wheel except for one – social media.

Sometimes I hear, “Well, scientists don’t use social media.”

But that’s just not true.

Scientists & Social Media

Social media not only works in the B2B space but also in our science-based world. Our clients are talking to (and want to talk to) decision makers in pharma, healthcare, life science, and in the energy sector. They’re interacting with lab directors and managers, bench scientists, doctors, practice managers, I.T. administrators, C-level execs and others.

Scientists are just like the rest of the population.

They behave the same way we do when we’re searching for information. They all have smartphones, tablets and laptops, and they use them when they’re looking for the tools they need. They search the web for information – and they also search social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

That means they are looking at white papers, case studies, blog posts, conversations – all of which can be found online.

Social Media and Science-based Marketing

When I talk to potential customers about social media, I use this analogy because I think it helps science-based marketers understand how social media will fit in their marketing mix – and how it works.

Think about social media as a tree. You have the tree trunk, you have the branches and you have the leaves. For me, the tree trunk is the blog. That’s where all of your information resides – it’s your knowledge center. The branches are all of your social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the leaves are your customers who over time, through engagement with your brand, convert into leads.

The Blog Content Feedback Loop

Using analytics, you get ongoing feedback on the content you create. The more people who read certain posts and certain types of posts – whether it’s channel choice or content type – the more likely you will be to post that kind of material and continue the conversation.

Many brands want to push the conversations they are interested in promoting, rather than learning what the customer wants to know. But the analytics rarely lie, and the implications are clear: don’t post things people won’t read or share.

Here’s how that social media tree fits into your marketing mix.

Say you’ve created all of your marketing collateral about your product or service – your whitepapers, your case studies, your sales sheets, etc. You’ve done a press release about the new product or service, you’ve attended a trade show, set-up your e-marketing, and started doing digital and print advertising.

The key to making it all work is telling your story cohesively across all the marketing channels your customer is using to learn about your company. You need to provide information through your blog and social media that ties in all of your other content marketing elements, from white papers to press releases to awards to what you’re sending out on e-marketing as you’re generating leads. (Another bonus of a blog? Continually updating your website can improve your organic SEO!)

If you miss a marketing channel (on the ‘branches’ we talked about earlier) your customers are using to gather information, you risk ceasing to exist – and you won’t be part of the conversation when your buyer gets ready to make a decision about the product or service you offer.

All of this information needs to link back to your website. That’s where your customers are going to go before they even talk to you – especially scientists, since they always research their questions before they talk to a sales rep. It’s just their way.

Social Media Works

In the science and healthcare worlds, the sales process isn’t 24 hours.

We’re not selling a pen – we’re selling a $300,000 bit of kit or a $600,000 that’s an enterprise software platform. In some cases (outsourced drug manufacturing, for example) you may be selling a long-term relationship.

Sales cycles can run 6 – 18 months, and that means you need to nurture your leads.

If you’ve got that long of a sales cycle, you want to remind potential customers that you’re still there. You don’t need to talk to them every day (that’s not good), but you’ve got to stay in front of them and nurture them with useful information. It might let them do their job better, educate them, or provide them key information to make better business decisions. But you need to give them a reason to keep your company in their sights before they make a decision.

This is where your blog and social media excels – long-term lead nurturing and ongoing brand awareness.

For one major analytical equipment firm, a number of competitors had seized the online & social space and were driving the conversation in key markets. Several competitors had established blogs which were attracting hundreds of repeat visitors each month in search of relevant content. We implemented a social media program designed to (among other things):

  • Increase their visibility to analytical equipment decision makers in the life science industry
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Educate scientists and decision makers on new technologies
  • Increase reach in the life science industry.

We integrated the social media program with their overall marketing program. Via in-depth research, we identified the key content topics of particular interest to prospects.

In the first year, we increased their online reach to 100,000+ prospects each month, grew LinkedIn referrals to website from 0 to 300+ a month, increased social media referrals to the website 40-fold, and saw blog visitors expand to 1,000 per month.

The company established a dominant presence in the online space in fairly short order – all due to the use of targeted, well-researched content that appealed to readers. Scientists like information, so the use of the blog as a content anchor turned out to be a key success factor – giving the company the ability to expand the discussion beyond the short-form content common to social media.

The goal of marketing is to help drive sales.

It doesn’t mean you don’t need a sales force – you do. But marketing should partner and integrate with the sales team to increase brand awareness, identify & convert leads and grow revenue. Given the role social media plays in our lives today, it is a key tool in furthering these objectives – especially when your competitors are already there.

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Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Advertising: Print vs. Digital

 

What Works? Print or Digital Advertising?

A lot of people talk about advertising, and about print versus digital. I frequently hear “Oh, digital is much better because I can show ROI.”

Well, here’s a news flash – if you do print advertising right – you can show ROI for print too. ‘How’ is actually pretty simple. We use a vanity URL that drives to a specific landing page on a company’s website, e-marketing platform or automated platform, so the customer can track all of the traffic and where it comes from.

But what have we found?

The data we’ve generated shows that when you only do digital ads and you don’t do print ads, you don’t get as many hits. When you run both print and digital advertising campaigns, you receive far more leads.

 

 

Print Advertising

For science-based organizations, you do need to place some print advertising. You don’t have to do as much print as you used to, but you need to do some. The reason is: we (your audience) need to see messages six to eight times before it registers in our brains.

Imagine – if your customer is only seeing your ads digitally, then you are missing key opportunities elsewhere to deliver your ad message. Think about your customer – they’ll likely also be thumbing through a science magazine, or reading a trade publication (especially when that issue covers a topic specific to your market space).

The sweet spot for generating the most interest in a print ad is placing your ad right in the middle of a trade journal – with relevant copy that combines the editorial topics with what you do and what what you sell. When we work with clients to develop advertising campaigns and programs, we research editorial calendars to choose the most appropriate trade journals and where to place a customer’s ad.

 

 

What Advertising Doesn’t Work Well?

One ad. One time. Whether it’s digital or print, I don’t believe one-off ads work. (A one-off is when a company chooses to do only one ad and never does any other kind of advertisement in a publication or on a digital platform.)

I think it’s a mistake to run one ad and stop. What would your audience think? They see you once (maybe – since it takes six to eight times to register a message) and then even though they continue to engage with the channel where the ad appeared, they never see your company again. Did you discontinue your product or service? Did you go out of business? What happened to you? The likelihood of them becoming a customer pretty much disappears!

But, if we do agree to run an ad one time, we laser target it based on the editorial content running on the chosen platform. If that editorial content matches what you’re selling and what your market is, then that’s the place we want to be.

 

 

Digital Advertising – A Winner for Science Organizations

Digital ads are available virtually everywhere. The key to choosing the right digital spaces on which to advertise is traffic. For instance, does the identified trade publication receive enough traffic on their digital platform to justify the ad placement?

A quick word about traffic: you shouldn’t be simply looking for the highest level of traffic (say 100,000 viewers). You need to look at the quality of traffic – is it the right targeted niche audience? You don’t need 100,000 viewers if only 3,000 of those viewers are your target audience. If I can run ads on a website where all 3,000 of its viewers are my audience, well then – that is the best place for my customer’s ad.

 

 

Google Ads: AdWords and Display Ads

Which should you choose, Google AdWords (now Google Ads)  or Google Display Ads?

What gives you the most “bang for the buck”? We’ve been working with clients, and in quite a few instances we’ve moved them away from Google AdWords and into Display Ads.

Let me explain why.

When you build a program for Google Ads, you have to build with key phrases. We used to say ‘key words,’ but since people ask search engines questions it’s not single words anymore … we now use key phrases. And when we build an Google Ads program, we also build it with negative phrases – meaning your ad is not shown to anyone who searches for one of the negative phrases.

Brandwidth Solutions had a client that did Vitamin D testing in patients. When we built their campaign, we created the negative phrase ‘milk vitamin D testing.’ The client’s audience was not people who wanted to test their milk for vitamin D, or measure the levels of vitamin D in their milk. Using a negative phrase allowed us to prevent ‘milk testers’ from seeing the Google Ad.

The reason we moved to Display Ads is because the costs per click in the Adwords auctions have risen too high to be a cost-effective advertising option. In some industries, prices have soared as high as $25 per click, and many marketing departments don’t have budgets for that level of spending.

Google Display Ads function somewhat similar to Google Ads in that you define key terms and phrases, and also create negative key terms and phrases. But, in this case, it’s for people who have already searched for your type of product. It’s all about relevancy.

When an individual who has searched for your product is playing solitaire, a display ad pops up for something in which they are interested. It might be an ad for a trade show, since they have searched for related products or services.

The cool thing about Display Ads? The cost per click is user selected. That means you can choose a fee as low as five cents per click. You should know that a per click cost that low will affect not only where your ad appears but also the time of day it appears. But with a display ad campaign you get clicks and impressions – but you only pay for clicks.

So, let me give you an example.

One software client had traditionally used Google AdWords. We expanded their program to encompass both Google Display Ads as well as their AdWords program. In a one-week period, they had 77 clicks for AdWords ads. In less than one-third that time – 48 hours – they experienced 111 clicks using a Google Display Ad. The Google Ad was priced at $2.83 per click, while the Google Display Ad was 50 cents. So, in less than 1/3 the time, they grew clicks by 30+% for about a quarter of the cost.

But there is a trick to Google Display Ads (and Google in general!) Google makes changes in their ad requirements and in the way those ads must be created all the time. You need to stay up to date with Google changes and the format they are looking for. Currently you need to build your ad in Google’s internal tool unless you have been approved to build them outside their platform in HTML5.

 

 

Making Your Advertising Work

For advertising to work – to produce leads and show real ROI – you need to do more than produce a pretty ad with good copy and a phone number.

You need to have a full system set up to support the ad and an automation process to gather those leads. It’s all part of the wheel that keeps your marketing moving forward.

When we develop ad campaigns for clients – whether digital or print or both – we make certain that the ad is linked to a customized landing page created specifically for that campaign which tells the potential customer what to do next.

We don’t just provide a link to the customer’s website. If you drop people on the homepage your website, you have created two problems which ensure that your ad campaign won’t return a good ROI:

  1. You haven’t finished your marketing message; and
  2. You haven’t told your potential customer what you want them to do next.

You want your ad campaign to generate leads. That customized landing page is the mechanism by which you do that. In the best case scenario, we’ll develop a landing page that allows your potential customer to download a white paper. This gives your potential client valuable information they are clearly interested in AND it gives you a name and contact information for your sales team to use for follow up.

One quick thought, ask for a name, company name and email address. Don’t ask for 20 different pieces of information – no new lead will give you that much information. You’ll lose them.

Ask yourself: “Is my job to encourage them, so they keep looking at us? Or is my job only to get a few leads?” If you ask for lots of personal information, you won’t get very many leads.

Once you have those leads in your system, you’ve thanked them for registering and they have access to your white paper, you’ve completed your first step in nurturing that new lead.

Developing an ad campaign with a full marketing support system behind it is the best way to ensure that your advertising works and returns an ROI you can justify.

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Raise Your Profile with Public Relations

public relations, PR, marketing

Public relations

Have you ever wonder how your competitors get those great article opportunities? Or why they are always mentioned in the press about their product/ service? It’s because somewhere they discovered the use of public relations.

Are you your industry’s best-kept secret? Or are you trying to break into a new market? Do you want to share your company’s expertise with industry journals?

What is PR?

Wikipedia defines public relations as:

pub·lic re·la·tions ˈpəblik rəˈlāSHənz/

Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public.[1] Public relations may include an organization or individual gaining exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment.[2] This differentiates it from advertising as a form of marketing communications. Public relations is the idea of creating coverage for clients for free, rather than marketing or advertising. An example of good public relations would be generating an article featuring a client, rather than paying for the client to be advertised next to the article.[3]

 

There are a few important threads in this definition:

  • Managing the spread of information
  • Exposure to audiences
  • Different from paid advertising

Public relations comes in two main formats – press releases and article opportunities. There is an art to press releases and we have discussed them in these three previous blog posts:

  1. Why Editors Don’t Read Your Press Releases
  2. 4 Key Essentials of a Press Release That Gets You Noticed
  3. Why You Shouldn’t Talk About Your Product or Service

 

Why Use Public Relations

The purpose of public relations is to inform your audience that you do something. The goal is to develop a PR strategy that keeps your news flow consistent and provides information on what your customers need to know (which would be how your product or service solves their challenges.)

 

What Should Your PR Program Contain?

Your public relations platform should include press releases and articles- thought leadership articles. Most importantly, it should also have articles from your customers about how your product or service enabled them to do their job or solved a task they couldn’t solve without you.

Press releases need to inform publication editors not only about your company but how your company enables their readership. It can’t just be about your latest new widget – it has to tell them why this widget helps their readers. They can’t translate information to their audience if you don’t help them.

Thought leadership articles prove to readers that you understand what they do and how they do it. Articles like these show potential customers that you have experience in their industry and can help them get their job done. A great example of a valuable article is one that features a client. By having your customer tell their story you validate your understanding of your customers’ needs.

Public relations is the second stop on your journey to mastering the MarCom wheel. Learn to raise your profile as a thought leader here.

 

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Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Why You Still Need Marketing Collateral

marketing collateral, Brochures, White papers, Case studies, Sell Sheets, FAQs

Marketing Collateral, Brochures, White papers, Case studies, Sell Sheets, FAQs

I’m often asked- are brochures still a thing to do? Or are they passé?

My answer to my marketing clients is this:

Customers are on a journey. Your marketing needs to provide signposts along the way, steering prospects down the path to your products and solutions. Collateral, like brochures, is the beginning step in telling a story about your product or service. In marketing collateral like brochures you don’t just want to tell your feature/benefit story, you want show the value that your product or service will bring to your customers.

Types of Marketing Collateral

Marketing collateral should be your platform to tell your story. This platform can come in many different forms:

  • Brochures
  • White Papers
  • Case Studies
  • Sell Sheets
  • FAQs (which are very helpful for a disruptive technology)
  • Tailored pieces for a specific application- letting customers know you know what their challenges are.

See Your Collateral through Your Customers’ Eyes

We are often so focused on our newest feature or benefit we forget to look at collateral from our customers’ point of view. Try looking at your latest brochure with these questions in mind.

  • Have you left enough white space so their eye gets a rest?
  • Did you deliver the “What Is In It For Me” in the first paragraph?
  • Did you forget to use great graphics that enable them to understand what you’re explaining?
  • Are you telling them why they want to look at your product/ service?
  • Have you mentioned what your product or service will add to their daily routine or how will it make their job/ task easier?
  • Did you tell them what the net return will be for their company?

How to Use Marketing Collateral

The next question I hear a lot is: “How do I use these tools?” Here are some ideas:

  • As follow-up to conferences/tradeshows or sales calls – use not just a piece of literature but a white paper and or case study as well.
  • Use public relations to let the press and community know that you have a unique application note or white paper.
  • Use eMarketing to develop a longer conversation with customers through a lead nurturing program.
  • Use your collateral assets in both print and digital advertising
  • Use it to update your website.
  • Incorporate it into your social media

Collateral should always be used as part of an integrated approach. We often tend to get siloed on a specific task and we forget to integrate into our overall marketing what we develop for that task. Using marketing materials will help your customers understand what your value is. They’ll see it in different formats that fit your brand and remind them why they should consider your product or service. And they’ll be reminded what value you bring to them.

Do you have questions about what marketing collateral you need and how to use it? Visit us here and learn more about how we can help you.

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