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Monday, March 26, 2007

Big Idea :: Stop Collateral Damage

To a business owner, business collateral like business cards, letterhead, brochures and the like are the least of their worries.

For the most part, this kind of collateral only holds a sense of knowing neglect in the business owner’s mind, but the fact is, it’s this collateral which is on the front lines of the business. It is often the first touch for prospects to experience the company. Is the first experience with your company a pedestrian, templated business card or a sales packet that might as well be on the back of a bar napkin?

The careful development of professional-level business collateral is essential to elicit follow-ups and eventually making those critical early sales.

Here are a few tips to avoid marketing and business collateral that is forgotten as quickly as it is received:

Don’t use templates
Everyone uses templates. Stand out from the crowd with something different. Consider changing the orientation of the card, rounding the edges, adding a glossy front and back, print the card in full gradient color, use your imagination.

Don’t order enormous print runs
There is always a discount for quantity when you are ordering a large print run, but consider running a number of shorter print runs. Each of these shorter print runs could showcase the company’s values in different lights, offer time-sensitive quarterly promotions, or just stay up-to-date with changing addresses, phone numbers, etc. The quantity discount from the printer is negligible when you consider the freedom of more, smaller runs.

Target your collateral
Often business owners will sell into a variety of markets and to a variety of customers. In order to make their message reach this wide audience they will often generalize. This becomes generic and loses all impact. Instead, treat your business collateral like any other marketing messaging medium. Target your message to the specific market or buyer. Consider having sets of business cards for trade shows, letterhead specifically for internal use, and separate sales brochures for distributors and the end buyers.


JDM offers a corporate identity package for young companies experiencing a corporate identity crisis. It includes a suite of activities including:

  • Logo enhancements :: For that professional look that will build confidence and a Brand image
  • Business card :: Designed to elicit a follow-up
  • Letterhead :: Used for all official documents including invoices, bids, corporate memorandums, reports, etc.
  • Boilerplate :: This boilerplate stands as your official “elevator pitch” and it can be a lot more difficult to articulate than you might think.
JDM realizes that you have bigger things to worry about, so our bids include everything to take the project from the back of the napkin to production including: creative, content, printing and shipping.

You might be a small or start-up company, but you don’t have to look like one.


(Check out more Tips and Tactics from JDM)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Big Idea :: Less Talk, More Action

The engagement of a marketing firm can be a very expensive proposition. It's enough to make your knees quiver when you have a large invoice to submit to corporate for an invisible product like marketing.

Besides the price for the actual work, a lot of firms require a significant amount of your time and resources during their ramp up period and it could be a quite a while before you see all the value their sales manager promised you.

Fact is, it doesn't have to be this way.

In numerous ways, outsourced marketing firms are well worth the financial expenditure. Take, for example, the fact that they have a specialized workforce that is often incentivized toward innovation and that outsourced marketing firms, by virtue of their other clients, are constantly refining and perfecting their arsenal of activities and monitoring the results. However novel the marketing idea, the tactics and activities needed to get there are something they have probably done several times before.

Another advantage of engaging a marketing firm is that they can demand substantial discounts from suppliers by the sheer quantity of work they can generate a printer or media outlet. Those discounts can be passed on to you, the client, allowing the firm to meet your needs on time, and on budget.

Finally, the engagement of an outsourced marketing firm does not need a long ramp up time if the objectives and the activities that will be employed are clearly delineated out and the firm is small enough and agile enough to tailor the work to fulfill your specific business objectives by drawing on their extensive experience.

Engagement of an outsourced marketing firm will show a positive return on investment quickly and painlessly if you engage the type of firm that doesn't just talk, it acts.

 
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