5 Tips for Effective Marketing CollateralBy Lubna Sadik

My mom has always been an important role model to me.

I have always been impressed and inspired by the way she has successfully built a multi-national small business that changes the lives of so many for the better.

Her organization, Dyslexia CARE, is dedicated to meeting the complex needs of students with specific learning difficulties.

Their work not only results in significant improvements in students’ grades and academic performance, but also in the way they transform their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Recently CARE launched a new math-based program.

My mom was so excited.

Her team had done a fantastic job developing a robust, high quality, results-oriented program and they were excited to take it to market, but after heavily marketing the program, only four students signed up.

Excitement Turns Sour

But that excitement quickly turned into major disappointment.

When my  mom visited me last she told me enthusiastically all about the program. As she handed me the one-page marketing collateral she remarked,

We worked so hard, I just don’t understand why no one signed up?

A quick look at the marketing collateral and I knew instantly why no one signed up.

The entire CARE team knew the goals of the program:

  • They had a detailed execution plan.
  • They understood the objective of the marketing collateral.
  • They understood clearly who the target audience was and where to find the target audience.
  • They knew the collateral needed both a paper-based and digital distribution.
  • They also understood the budget and the restrictions of the size and quality of the marketing collateral.

Effective Marketing Collateral

So, with a well flushed-out who, what, where, when, and why plan what went wrong with the marketing collateral?

  1. There was no clear call–to–action. Marketing collateral should have an instruction provoking its target audience to take action. Prompts such “call us now,” “visit our website today,” and “find out more” can all be effective as long as the relevant contact information is clearly stated on the marketing collateral.  Provide a name, phone number, URL, or address for the specific program.
  2. The marketing collateral didn’t have clear key messaging. All marketing collateral should communicate the product’s unique value proposition.  Even though they knew exactly what the program was and what it would deliver, they failed to communicate it. The benefits should be clearly outlined for the product’s target audience.  The messaging should also include an exact description of the product in language easily understood by the target audience. The messaging should be able to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question for your target audience.
  3. The collateral lacked effective use of space/position. The effective use of space and positioning is crucial. Effective marketing collateral must be easy to read and must grab the attention of your potential customer immediately. Having a balanced composition, well positioned and sized text, and relevant and interesting images all help catch the reader’s attention.
  4. The  marketing collateral missed consistent branding. The branding for the marketing collateral must be consistent with the original brand. In the case of the CARE flyer, they tried to create a new brand for this specific program.  It was the first time the audience had seen it and could not associate with the original brand. The colors and the look and feel of the logo was completely different. It wasn’t a natural or complementary fit.  The marketing collateral should reflect the qualities of the original brand the target audience already likes, relates to, trusts, and knows what to expect.
  5. The marketing collateral failed to use the right tools. If you can afford a graphic designer to create your marketing collateral, great!  But typically small businesses have very small marketing budgets, but it is so important to use the right tools. Canva is a great effective and inexpensive to free option to create all sorts of marketing collateral. You can design a poster, a flyer, a letter, a Facebook cover, and many other social media options. Print quality can also make a huge difference in grabbing your potential customer’s attention.

I love my mom’s passion for her business. With a few tweaks to her marketing collateral, she can launch this new math-based service successfully.

photo credit: Big Stock Photo

Lubna Sadik

Lubna Sadik is founder and principal consultant at Socially Engaged Consulting Inc. She has worked in finance and marketing for more than 16 years at some of the largest multinational and Canadian corporations specializing in marketing strategy, strategic planning, competitive and financial analysis, and business communication.

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