5 Steps to Great Collateral Materials for Digital Marketing
Created by Camille Winer
Building a strong brand requires careful planning and creatively executed marketing. Part of implementing a successful strategy is having great collateral material.
What is marketing collateral? Well, when it comes to a business or organization’s collateral material, we think of things like a logo, business cards, and brochures. We think of selling our products, our services, and our work; we think of promoting ourselves.
Our definition of marketing collateral has evolved along with the digital landscape. Even the website has gone from being a static brochure to being a 24/7 marketing hub. Pillar content strategy, videos, ebooks, and other digital assets are delivering a concrete return on marketing investment as well.
Collateral is no longer a static, one-way channel. Today’s marketing assets are what provide an engaging experience for your audience.
Here are five steps toward getting your collateral material up‑to‑date and focused on a successful marketing strategy:
1) Throw out the old ideas of what marketing collateral is.
We are used to associating the word "collateral" with things like logos, business cards, and brochures. In the digital age, however, we needn’t limit ourselves to these and other analog forms of collateral. The business card and brochure still come in handy for in‑person networking opportunities, but with the internet there are millions of people surfing around looking for solutions 24 hours a day. Your brand asset management must put the internet at the top of the priority list.
Become a strong brand online!
2) Use your digital or inbound marketing strategy to inventory your collateral.
As you begin to organize your marketing collateral checklist, take a look at the strategy you have in place for digital marketing and ask yourself these questions:
- Is there specific collateral in place for each part of the strategy?
- Where are the missing assets?
- Are you still using temporary or "placeholder" graphics?
- Does your messaging truly reflect your vision, or does it reflect marketing that was created when you were first getting started and your vision was less clear?
Take stock of what's needed, and of the quality of the collateral that you have in place. If you don't have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place, you may need to back up and start there.
Have quality collateral for every step of your plan!
3) Start thinking of your collateral as part of the tool set you use to help your personas through the buyer’s journey.
The buyer's, patient's, supporter's, or prospect’s journey is the active research process that people engage in on the way to becoming active customers. Your target audience member first comes to you because they have an issue to resolve. Once they have a full understanding of their challenge, they can work toward finding a solution and go into decision‑making mode.
Great collateral will help prospective clients make the decision to choose you to help them solve their problem.
Know your audience!
4) What message are you conveying about your brand?
A colorful graphic or logo isn’t enough to convey what your brand is about. You need a clear message to back it up. One form of collateral that is critical to building consistency and clarity for your personas is what we refer to as a key message platform. The key message platform is not for public consumption; it is an internal document wherein you map out what you do (mission), why you do it (vision), and who you do it for (key personas).
Be succinct in your messaging!
5) Create a checklist of what you need.
As you review your marketing strategy and the tool set you need to help your personas through the buyer’s journey, keep a checklist of what you are going to need to develop. Following are some marketing collateral ideas to get you started. You can also use our handy marketing collateral checklist.
Cover all your bases!
- Mission statement
- Key message platform
- Brand style guide
- Social media platforms
- Pillar & blog content strategy
- Ebooks, checklists, etc.
- Landing page & email templates
Here's our handy marketing collateral checklist to help you plan: