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Does Your Print Collateral Need a Refresh? Here’s How to Tell

Printed marketing and sales collateral are necessary parts of the sales process. They help to inform prospective clients and welcome them into a new partnership. Unfortunately, it is a normal practice for businesses to create these pieces and then forget the importance of keeping them updated. It’s a smart business practice to regularly audit all the materials you have to ensure their relevance.

Why should you audit your collateral?

We probably preach this enough to drive you crazy, but brand consistency is part of the reason you should audit your collateral regularly. Printed materials continue to represent your brand when you are not present. They are the voice of your business, validating the products and services you offer while coaxing a subtle nudge to further your partnerships.  There is nothing more frustrating than providing information that is no longer relevant and having to explain what has changed. It causes unnecessary friction within the sales process when the intention should be to make it as easy as possible for people to do business with you.

When should you do a collateral audit?

While this is at your discretion, we feel a quarterly audit doesn’t hurt especially with how quickly our world is changing these days. Capitalize on seasonal promotions or align with trends happening in your industry. To name a few other paramount times to audit and freshen up: 
  • New product or service launch
  • Changes to product line
  • Brand refreshes or logo update
  • Before an industry event or tradeshow where you’ll be presenting materials
  • Contact information or address change
With more in-person meetings beginning to happen, now would be the perfect time to audit your materials.

How to tell when your collateral needs a refresh

As you conduct your audit consider the answer to five questions to determine whether or not your marketing and sales materials require an update.

Are they consistent with your branding?

Think of the other channels your company uses. All marketing and sales materials should be in alignment including your website, emails and social media.  If you have outdated imagery, the voice is off, or elements don’t quite fit - you may need to freshen things up. 

Do they speak to your target audience?

Language matters but so does imagery. When reviewing your pieces, check for customer-centric messaging. Speak to your audience's needs and desires, answer questions they may ask or provide an understanding of the challenges they face. Imagery is a key point because it’s important to represent your customers through this medium. Consider things like age, race and ethnicity, gender, marital and family status and lifestyle choices.

Do they have a clear call to action?

Suggestive actions like “Call today,” “Visit our website,” or “Redeem this coupon at checkout,” give your customers and prospective clients a clear direction of what to do next. While using coupon codes, consider customer landing pages or other ways of gaining insight as to whether your CTAs are driving customers to take your desired action.

Do they reflect your current offerings?

So much has changed in the last 6 months let alone the last year.. If you have added new products, services or updated anything existing, now is the time to feature your changes. Highlight the most popular and be sure to remove any products or services you no longer offer. You don’t want to send mixed messages do you?!

Do they include your contact information?

This may seem like a no brainer but you’d be surprised by how many businesses do not list all their contact information. In this exercise, consider your website URL, social media handles, phone numbers, email and physical address on every piece.

Don’t let your collateral fall behind

As you go through this exercise consult with your sales team, asking what they hear the most, what calls to action they’ve found most successful. Consider surveying your customers to learn more about their needs.  Including this information can be helpful in the process of securing clients and solidifying your current relationships because you're meeting your team where they are and catering to the needs of your audience. In other words - you’re speaking their language!  Effective communication is a vital part of your business. Keeping your sales and marketing materials up to date is part of this practice. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to audit your collateral in a while, now is the time to do it.   

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