What Is Marketing Collateral?

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A team is coming up with a catchy marketing design.
A team is coming up with a catchy marketing design. (Image: Robert Churchill/iStock/Getty Images)

Marketing collateral includes print materials a company creates and distributes to promote its brand, products and services. Brochures, fliers, newsletters, fact sheets, technical papers and press releases are common examples of marketing collateral.

Brochure Benefits

Brochures are folded, standalone items or insert pages. A brochure typically includes several sections that outline a company or product. A product-based brochure might include features of the product, types of users, benefits, graphics and contact information. Brochures offer distribution flexibility in that you can send them to prospects in the mail, set up a display in your business or hand them out at meetings or events.

Usefulness of Fliers

Fliers are single-sided pieces that include a mix of images and words. Fliers also offer distribution flexibility. You can send fliers to prospects in the mail or drop them off at local companies and ask them to share information with their workers. This approach is effective for event promotion. Communities also have public venues and bulletin boards where you can place fliers. Though some towns have restrictions, you might have the ability to hang fliers on light poles in a business district.

Document-Driven Collateral

Fact sheets, white papers and press releases are more copy-driven types of marketing collateral. A fact sheet is a list of data or intriguing insights about a brand or product. White papers are research-driven, technical documents that emphasize the innovation behind a new product. Press releases include information for news media to present to readers, viewers or listeners. All of these types of media are intended for mass communication through media channels.

Newsletter Distribution

Companies use newsletters for both internal and external communication. As a form of marketing collateral, print newsletters are mailed to prospects or customers. Newsletters typically include announcements, current events and forward-looking insights. The primary goal of a newsletter is to keep fresh brand information in front of targeted prospects. Newsletters also help with customer retention by maintaining an ongoing interaction with existing customers. It is difficult for customers to forget your brand when you have a newsletter in their mailbox one or more times each month.

Drawbacks

Marketing collateral does present some challenges. First, with access to free digital promotion tools such as email and social media, companies sometimes hesitate to invest in print collateral. To stand out with an attractive, colorful design, you have to invest even more. Also, you often have a very low return on investment with marketing collateral. For example, the Direct Marketing Association indicated that direct mail had a modest 4.4 percent response rate as of April 2012, which means many of the brochures, fliers and newsletters you mail get tossed out or ignored. However, those rates are much higher than the average response rates of email campaigns.

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