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When is a Brochure the Answer?

Marketing is a science, although not exact. It's often stated that 50 percent of our marketing efforts are effective — we just don't know which 50 percent that is. What works best? Should we send postcards, advertise in the newspaper, take out billboard space or print a brochure? More often than not, your marketing material decisions will be based on your company, your products and your customers; but there are a few tried-and-true situations for which each marketing medium is tailored. This article answers the question: When is a brochure the answer? Simply put, brochures balance features and details. In other words, brochures are the answer when you want to make a big impact in a concise way yet retain the ability to back up your claims with supporting evidence. This is a very broad definition, which is why different types of brochures are developed to handle specific tasks.

Direct-mail brochures

Direct-mail brochures are mailed to customers: they're a happy medium between postcards and sales letters. Unlike sales letters, brochures do not have to be opened to begin dazzling customers with offers and imagery. And unlike postcards, brochures allow ample room to fully explain your features and benefits. Direct-mail brochures should be used when you have a specific offer and a specific action customers should take to redeem your offer.

Sales support brochures

Sales support brochures act as assistants for your in-person sales force. Unlike direct-mail brochures, they do not have to go into full detail. It is much more important for sales support brochures to highlight key features and benefits through headlines, bullet points and imagery such as photos, charts and graphs. Your sales staff can then point to specific parts of these brochures to add power to their pitch; and follow along with highlights to guide the conversation.

Inquiry response brochures

Inquiry response brochures are special because they are only sent once a customer has already contacted you to request more information. These types of brochures do not need to introduce your product — their job is to reinforce why a particular customer should purchase the product. They highlight benefits and back claims up with plenty of supporting data, and give information on how to make a direct purchase. They are also highly targeted — in fact, many companies maintain a specialized response brochure for each major product or service they offer.

Leave-behind brochures

Leave-behind brochures are just that — brochures left behind after a sales pitch. They are a concise summary of the key sales points and work to trigger memories of what was said during sales meetings. They work in tandem with sales support brochures to deliver a comprehensive message.

Point-of-sale brochures

Point-of-sale brochures are left in racks, on counters and anywhere else impulse purchases or pick-ups occur. One of the best examples of point-of-sale brochures is visitor information centers, but they can also be found many other places: department stores, grocers, banks, retail outlets — anywhere goods and services are sold. The key to successful point-of-sale brochures is to introduce something the customer did not previously know about, to clarify hard-to-grasp information, to upsell or to reinforce a message the customer has already seen. They are very diverse, but also very specific. Point-of-sale brochures should not be a company overview; rather, they should highlight one specific product or service. Brochures are one of the best ways to market, period. They can be timeless, used again and again. They can be broad, comprised of a company overview; and they can be detailed, geared to sell a specific thing. Successful companies employ brochures on several fronts for maximum impact. When are brochures the answer? The answer is, almost always!