Even in today’s online world, marketing collateral management—the production, storage and distribution of printed materials that promote a company’s products and services—is still a critical discipline. While these materials can take many forms—data sheets, brochures, white papers, technical documentation, educational tools and many more—how you manage them must be consistent, organized and logical to ensure they convey the right message about your organization.
In this blog, we’ll discuss not only why marketing collateral management is so important, but also suggest ways to improve and simplify the process to save you both time and money.
Why Managing Your Marketing Collateral is so Important
Depending on how it is used, your printed marketing collateral is often the first impression potential customers will have of your company. Therefore, it is critical that these materials be consistent with your brand and messaging. Inconsistent or poorly designed materials can suggest that your company is not entirely certain what it stands for. It’s hard to recover from this sort of damage, at least in the short term, making it difficult to attract and retain customers. This could mean the difference between success and failure for new companies struggling to capture mindshare in a crowded market. Effective collateral management can help you avoid this problem.
Second, technology is always evolving. That means products are constantly being updated with new features, capabilities and standards support. If your marketing collateral does not keep pace with these changes, it risks becoming inaccurate or, worse, irrelevant. Effective collateral management includes a regular review cycle to ensure materials are up to date, ensuring your products—and your company—are always presented in the best possible light.
Finally, when done right, marketing collateral management saves you time and money. The key is creating a centralized system that makes it possible to oversee and manage all your materials in a single place and from a single interface. Centralization provides a global view of all your assets, allowing you to avoid duplicating efforts or recreating items that already exist. This not only reduces costs by eliminating waste, it also streamlines the production, storage and distribution of marketing materials.
Tips for Improving Marketing Collateral Management
How can you manage your marketing materials more effectively? Here are six things you can put into practice that will simplify and improve your marketing collateral management operations.
1. Establish a clear process
Before you do anything else, establish a clear process for creating, reviewing, and distributing your materials. Define the steps involved in creating each item from inception to delivery, determine who is responsible for each step, and establish a reasonable timeline for each step. This process provides a roadmap that all can follow, ensuring everyone is on the same page and nothing falls through the cracks.
2. Create a style guide
Creating a style guide that codifies your branding guidelines establishes a clear set of rules that define how your marketing collateral will look and read. This not only defines your corporate “personality” through the consistent use of colors, fonts, logos, artwork and language, it also distinguishes you from the competition in a crowded market. A unique and consistent look and feel allows prospects and customers to quickly identify your collateral at a glance. This establishes a preference and captures critical mindshare.
3. Use templates to automate marketing collateral production:
Creating templates for your various marketing materials helps simplify, automate and streamline the creation process, saving your organization time while ensuring branding consistency. Furthermore, templates allow your team to quickly and easily create new content using established layouts and graphics. There is no better way to ensure your collateral is on-brand and is delivering a consistent message to your prospects and customers.
4. Centralize your collateral
Creating a centralized location for uploading and storing all of your collateral files can dramatically enhance efficiency by ensuring everyone has immediate access to the latest, most up-to-date versions. Updates are quick and easy, and by saving everything in one location, you can quickly determine whether a similar or identical item already exists. This central location can be a digital platform such as a cloud-based storage or digital asset management system, a physical server installed on site, or a third-party platform maintained by a full-service vendor that can also handle your printing, shipping and storage needs.
Once all files have been uploaded to a central location, it’s equally important to keep them organized. This can be as simple as creating a series of logical folders and subfolders, or it can be done by using metadata tags. Either way, the system you choose should be intuitive and easy to use—something that makes sense to everyone so they can find what they need quickly and easily.
6. Conduct regular content reviews
Collateral, like the products they detail, is not stagnant—it requires frequent updates. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule regular reviews to ensure everything is up-to-date, relevant and still on-brand. Even if these audits are performed on an informal basis, it helps to create a checklist that defines what exactly to check or look for during the review process to ensure everything is handled consistently.
7. CollaborateLast but not least, effective marketing collateral management requires constant communication between team members. Collaboration streamlines the content creation, approval, production and update process by ensuring everyone is informed, engaged and aware of current status and upcoming deadlines. If problems arise, it’s much easier to enlist the right help when team members are working together and invested in the success of the project. Whether this collaboration is formalized through an online checklist or kept informal through regular e-mail chats, it’s critical to maintain an open dialog.
Helping You Manage Your Marketing Collateral—and Much More
Simply creating marketing collateral is only half the battle. Effectively managing that content from beginning to end is an equally important component of any successful marketing strategy.
OnFulfillment has been helping companies maintain an effective collateral management system, among other things, for decades. They can help you, too. To hear more about how we can assist with your collateral creation, storage, production and distribution, please visit fill out our Contact Us form to schedule a meeting.