‘Collateral’ is one of those technical marketing terms that means a lot to marketing people, but very little to others. Collateral traditionally refers to all the material a business uses to promote themselves such as brochures, business cards, stationery, newsletters, advertising, annual reports, mugs, pens and so on.
In today’s digital age, Marketing Collateral also refers to your website, e-news, social media, content marketing, blog articles and videos. Either way, connecting with your target market through collateral follows the same basic rules and since it can cost a lot, it stands to reason that you want to get it right to get a result.
If it’s got your logo on it, its marketing collateral and forms part of your overall brand identity.
First impressions count
Make sure your business is represented well. Your customers will make snap decisions about your business based on the marketing collateral you share. As you are no doubt trying to build a brand, every piece of marketing collateral will say something about your brand’s identity and help consumers make decisions about how they ‘feel’ about doing business with you.
Pictures tell a thousand words and if you choose the wrong images, you simply won’t’ connect with your target market. Whilst there are plenty of stock images out there, not all are created equal. Sometimes it is better to pay a few dollars and find images that speak directly to your market. I’m sure you can tell if a stock image is downloaded from a generic site, or worse still, pulled off Google Images and the cardinal sin is if it has a watermark on it or is highly pixilated. A great designer will help you avoid those pitfalls, but if you’re confident, there are plenty of inexpensive options out there.
Today more than ever, images and design will capture (or repel) your client very quickly. If your target market is ‘women 30-40’, why would you show pictures of younger or older women – or men? Instantly your market will make an assessment as to whether you are speaking to them and the image will convey that faster than anything. Knowing your Target Market Avatar will help guide you in making decisions about the images you select.
I recently wrote an article on how colour attracts your target market. Think of the stores in your local shopping centre. It’s pretty obvious that some are trying to attract specific consumers by their colour. Even better still, look at the cereal aisle, nowhere better than here can you ascertain how colour can be used to appeal to certain markets. Colour tied with imagery will powerfully impact a person’s impression of your brand and what it stands for.
This extends from your offline collateral all the way through to your online content. Obviously your website and digital content is an extension of your brand. Go for consistency between all of your collateral and align it with your client avatar. If you’re unsure, reach out to your target market and ask them. My short course on “How to Nail your Target Market” will help.
Choose the right collateral
We’ve all been recipients of marketing collateral at some point. The mug, pen or brochure. If you are spending money on any marketing collateral, make sure it is going to connect with your audience. A printed calendar, for example, is probably useless if your Targe Market is Gen Y as is a slick mobile APP if you are trying to market to Baby Boomers.
I often see business owners create collateral that they like and in many cases, it’s not what their Target Market wants or likes. This is a consistent theme with many of my clients and I usually suggest running a quick poll with your Target Market (through Mail Chimp or via a Facebook poll) to ensure that what you are about to create is what your audience wants.
A little thought on the design of your collateral will have a major impact on the success, or otherwise, of connecting with your Target Market. After all, as a small business, you need to ‘connect’ with your customer every time.