Marketing and sales collateral are essential to every business. Printed materials are effective ways to communicate with your clients, customers, and prospects. Their effectiveness can be significantly diminished, however, if your content and branding are out of date.
It’s easy to take a “set and forget” approach to your marketing materials, especially when you’ve expended time and energy to create all that collateral in the first place. Stale content, however, may not be sending the message you want to send. That’s why it’s important to regularly audit your marketing materials.
Why should you audit your collateral?
Marketing materials that are out of day or irrelevant may not adequately represent your business. If your company’s branding has changed, your outdated collateral may be confusing for buyers. Erroneous or incomplete information may cause frustrated consumers to disengage.
Ensuring that your collateral is fresh and up-to-date will reinforce your brand message and showcase your company’s value proposition.
When should you do a collateral audit?
Every business should perform regular audits of all marketing collateral. Annual audits are most common but for some companies that audit should happen every quarter. Quarterly reviews will allow you to catch necessary updates and provide opportunities to capitalize on seasonal promotions. This is also the perfect time to align your collateral with new trends.
Beyond those routine audits, there are other critical times when a collateral audit is warranted. Those include:
- When new products or services are launched
- With any company rebrand or logo update
- Before every industry event or tradeshow where your collateral will be distributed
- With any change to contact information, location, website, or social media
As businesses begin ramping up post-COVID, now is a great time to perform a collateral audit. Chances are that some aspect of your business has changed over the past year and should be reflected in the materials you use to communicate with buyers.
How do you tell when your collateral needs a refresh?
As you audit your collateral, there are some important things you should consider to help determine if updates are needed.
Are materials consistent with your branding?
Review your current sales materials to see if they are consistent with your current branding. Each piece should fit seamlessly with visuals on your website, email, and social media. Brand recognition is important and is difficult to achieve when your collateral isn’t coordinated.
Do they speak to your target audience?
Are you using customer-centric messaging on every piece of collateral? Your message should align with what your customers and prospects care about – their needs, challenges, and pain points. If you use imagery with photos of people, ensure that those images will resonate with your target audience. Think in terms of age, ethnicity, family status, and lifestyle. Customers and prospects want to feel represented and to understand that you are prepared to engage with people in their situation.
Do they have a clear call to action?
The most effective marketing collateral will include a clear call to action. Give buyers a next step. Whether it’s “Visit us online” or “Call for a free estimate,” each marketing piece should include a CTA that prompts consumers to take some action.
Do they reflect your current offerings?
Businesses evolve. The recent pandemic forced many companies to change the way they interact with consumers. Your marketing collateral may be geared toward a pre-COVID business environment. Take a look at how your business has changed and be sure you’re communicating those changes in your collateral.
Do they include your contact information?
Don’t forget to tell buyers how to reach you. Many consumers prefer to pre-shop online before visiting a brick-and-mortar business. Be sure you’re letting them know how to reach you digitally.
Don’t let your collateral fall behind
As you start the process of auditing your collateral, don’t forget to include your team in the review. The audit is the perfect time to consult with your sales team to discern what collateral they need. What’s on their wish list? What’s worked for them in the past?
This might also be a good time to survey your existing customers. What collateral resonated with them? What CTAs moved them to respond?
Keeping your sales and marketing materials fresh and pertinent is essential to remaining relevant with your target audience. If you haven’t revisited your collateral in a while, now is the time to do so. And don’t forget to make a plan for regular audits in the future.
(And once you’re through with your collateral audit, it might be time to take a look at your business signage too!)
Learn more about the branding services we provide.
Download a copy of our Brand Refresh Checklist.