In this series of articles, we look at the various components you need to include in a successful marketing plan. When done well, a marketing plan acts as a roadmap to success. Amongst other things, it gives you a step-by-step plan to follow as you grow your business. It will help you to find and engage customers, increase the likelihood of investment opportunities, and set up your supplier chains.
In part 6, we explored “Offers”. This time, we take a look at “Marketing Materials”.
What Are Marketing Materials?
In the ‘Marketing Materials’ section of your marketing plan, you need to consider what materials you can use to make your potential customers aware of your products/services. In short, marketing materials are the promotional items you use to get your brand out there. They include:
- Business Cards
- Compliment Slips
Every business benefits from using marketing materials. There may be some businesses out there that don’t use them, but I’ve never heard of them…and that’s probably why!
How to Get the Most Out of Your Marketing Materials
When done well, your promotional products will expose your brand to the greatest number of people. They will attract the eye and will share pertinent information that is relevant to the reader.
Your marketing materials will sport your logo and company colours, making it easy for people to see who you are straightaway. When they see the logo and company colours, they will know instantly that it’s your brand – that’s the idea, at least.
Here are some important tips to help you get it right from the start.
Tip 1: Get Your Logo and Colours Correct from the Start
You need to get the colours and logo right early in the process because changing their appearance too often will have a detrimental effect on brand awareness, making it harder for customers to recognise your brand.
“When we’re exposed to something, our familiarity with it increases, and often so too does our preference for that particular thing.”
Getting your colours and logo correct from the start provides a solid foundation upon which to build brand awareness and generate trust. Contrary to the colloquial saying, in marketing, familiarity breeds preference, and preference means your customers will choose your product over that of your competitors.
Tip 2: Hire a Graphic Designer with a Strong Reputation for Logo Design and Colour Knowledge
Rather than designing your logo and colour scheme yourself, I recommend that you use a professional graphic designer with extensive experience in this field. They have the know-how to convey your company messages (e.g., your USP, your story, and your brand voice) through the visual medium.
Furthermore, they understand how to avoid common obstacles to success, e.g., how to create digital images that look as good when they’re small (e.g. when they appear on your business cards) and large (e.g. when they appear on a billboard).
They will create clean, crisp, and striking designs.
Tip 3: Make Sure There Is Consistency Between Different Marketing Materials
A good rule of thumb when creating different types of marketing materials (i.e., letterhead, business cards, brochures, and posters) is that they all have a degree of similarity that mark them out as belonging to a single brand. When you lay them out in front of you, is it clear that they all belong to the same business?
Consistency is all-important when it comes to brand awareness because it strengthens your identity and elicits positive feelings and trust from your customers and the people who encounter your marketing materials.
Tip 4: Spend Money
One of the commonest mistakes startups and struggling businesses make when they are pushing to promote themselves is using low-quality products and services to create their marketing materials. Unfortunately, it’s extremely rare to be able to pull these off with style if you do not have professional experience.
For example, taking photos on your phone (even if your Instagram account is on point) is not going to produce the quality of image you need to attract people to your brand. Low-quality photographs give the impression of a low-quality brand. Likewise, if you don’t have the expertise or software to use packages such as Adobe Creative Cloud, you won’t be able to produce marketing materials that reflect your brand well.
If there’s one area where you need to invest a decent amount of money, it’s your marketing materials. This is probably the most cost-heavy component of your marketing plan, but you must invest sufficiently.
Your marketing materials are fundamental to success. You must create a style that reflects your brand and that conveys the right message to your customers. The best way to do this is to hire a graphic designer because they have the expertise needed to align the visual representation of your brand with its underlying personality. It also makes sense to use professional photographers and printers.
It will be relatively expensive but creates the best foundation for your branding. This will pay off long-term as it reduces the risk of rebranding, therefore helping to maintain familiarity and trust.