What is a Marketing Kit and why do you need one?
Think of a marketing kit as a portfolio that showcases your company’s products or service.
A marketing kit is an enabler for attracting new customers, educating existing customers, forming new partnerships, educating suppliers, and informing media prospects. A good marketing kit is so powerful it stops and makes people think:
- “Hey – there’s my problem and look, this company is perfect to solve it!”
- This company is worth looking at.
- This company would be a perfect fit for our upcoming feature on xxxx.
“Brainstorm” before creating ANY marketing materials.
Marketing materials, no matter how colorful or creative are completely USELESS if you aren’t focusing on what matters to your target audience.
So here are a few how-to’s that will not only get you started in the right direction in creating your marketing kit, but will give you ideas on what to put in your marketing kit to make potential customers choose YOUR PRODUCT or SERVICE.
- Determine the target audience for your product or service. Take a few minutes to profile your audience. Don’t just profile them by industry. Profile them as people and profile their roles. Are they men, women or both? Are they engineers, sales managers, CFOs? Get very specific about who will be reading your materials and why.
- Identify the business issue the product or service is addressing for your customer. Think about the top 3 to 5 frustrations or problems customers may have and how your product or service will solve their frustrations.
- Draft messages and statements that “speak to” your audience. Remember to keep all of your writing focused in the audience. That means using lots of the words “you”, “you can”, “you will be able to”, etc. See if you can eliminate as many references to “I” or “we” as you can. Also, remember to use lots of verbs, action words and words that “do something.” Go here for a list of sales and marketing power words. Keep your message as simple as possible and focus on the customer benefits.
Sounds Great – What Should I put in my Marketing Kit?
I suggest building your marketing kit like you’d build a house. Start with some basic foundation pieces such as a flyer, brochure, newsletter, letterhead and business cards. These pieces are a great place to start, but whatever you do, please don’t stop there. Get creative.
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing makes the point that what your customers want is an “education.” He also says that “everybody’s got tri-folds and nobody uses them.” Then he gives a laundry list of options to include in your marketing kit. I’m going to take some of those options and throw in a few of my own along with my two-cents on what works best and why.
- Pocket folder. This is really the foundation of your marketing kit. Think of it as a toolbox for all your marketing tools. If you’re thinking “too much money,” don’t. If you head over to your local office store such as Staples, you’ll find so many beautiful folder options; colors, cut outs, cool materials like colorful plastic folders, binders, and more. Add a classy label with your company name and contact information and you’ve made a great impression. Include a business card inserted in the pocket folder, too.
- Product and Services List. Include a listing of the products and/or services you provide. What seems obvious to you, may not be obvious to your audience. So tell them clearly what you can do for them or provide to them.
- Customer Testimonials. We all know that referrals are the best, most cost-effective and easiest forms of marketing there are. Include testimonials from some real-life satisfied customers. John Jantsch in his article suggests calling this page: “See what others have to say about us.” That makes good sense and will be compelling.
- Case Studies. If you’re a consultant of any kind, case studies are an ideal way to explain to potential customers what kinds of problems you solve and the kinds of results they can expect. Same with technology providers and solution providers – case studies can demonstrate the benefits in terms your audience will understand.
- Process Description. If you provide a service, or are a technology company, it’s a great idea to show your clients what your model or process looks like. Don’t just use words or boxes — get creative with graphics and pictures that evoke an emotional response from your audience, rather than just boring or dry text.
Beyond the Basics
But then, I’d challenge you to go beyond these items. Really think about what benefit you provide. What experience can customers have by working with you? If they come to you with problems and you solve them — think about including an interactive marketing piece in your marketing kit. It could be as simple as a checklist of important considerations. If you or your customers are puzzle fans, you can create a customized crossword puzzle that has clues and answers that feature the benefits you offer.
There’s truly no better way to create that response than using colorful pictures. But let’s take that a step further. What if these pictures actually included the customer, or someone they knew, or even included YOU in a very real human way? What if these pictures were able to create an experience or remind them of what they could have if only they were to choose YOU?
For instance, over at Tabblo I found some cool tools that you can use to create a marketing kit that will stand out from the competition – and literally stand-up for your customer.
If you’ve ever tried Flickr.com, to share and store your photos, you’ll notice that they’ve partnered up with several printing partners – including HP. For instance, you can create a photo cube, a book, or a poster using your own photos.
Using cool — and different — tools such as these in your marketing kit can help you stand out from the crowd — and communicate your marketing message to your customer in pictures and creative ways.
Special situations: trade shows and conferences
Keep in mind that you may need different collateral for your marketing kit depending on where you are using your marketing materials and why.
For instance, if you are exhibiting at a trade show, it will be prohibitively expensive to give out hundreds or thousands of your complete marketing kit. Very likely most of them will be wasted.
But consider a small piece such as a two-sided card with some information and a reference to your website. You might include a special offer for show attendees. Use it as hook for attendees to remember your company. You can keep the expense low but still make an impression.
Nuts and Bolts — Do it Yourself Printing
When your budget is small, I’m a big believer in printing your marketing kit in your office. With HP products you can do this – AND convey a professional impression. Some things to keep in mind when printing:
- All colors will appear different on the computer screen compared to paper printing. Always view the document both in print and online before making your final choice.
- When printing in house, be aware that using recycled ink or toner cartridges may result in color degradation. A printer like HP’s Officejet Pro will assure true color printing each time and keep your costs low, too. The reason I suggest that particular printer line is that it provides excellent quality along with a reasonable cost. It uses inkjet cartridges which keep the costs of ownership lower over time than a laser printer, but with quality results that appear comparable in many ways.
- Investigate the wide range of paper choices available. Today you can get beautiful glossy brochure paper, glossy business card stock, and other materials that people will swear look professionally printed. Experiment for the right combination of good looks affordability. Says Brian Warner, North America Current Product Manager, Officejet Pro, “The HP Officejet Pro can handle them all, from heavy business card stock, to glossy brochure and photo papers, as well as plain paper.”
- Always do a trial run and examine each item carefully to make sure the paper was properly inserted and not crooked; that the colors printed properly; and similar concerns. Adds Warner, “HP’s Officejet Pro series of printers have individual color cartridges, and the printer will automatically check each ink level before printing and warn you if you don’t have enough of one color to finish your print job. You can then either reduce the print run and/or replace the low cartridge before you print a lot of pages missing one color.”
- Even if you are printing small quantities at a time in your office, always have a supply of materials pre-printed and ready to go. A supply of a dozen of your marketing kit materials is a good idea.
Go here to learn more about the HP Officejet Pro and how to use it print professional-looking materials every time.
Follow these guidelines and you are on your way to an outstanding marketing kit that helps you put your best foot forward.
It’s simple – it’s easy – and it will look like you spent a million instead of under $100.
NOTE: Many thanks to the representatives of HP, especially Brian Warner, who provided freely of their insights to this article.