The internet has replaced brochures, right? Now that you have a great web site and all of your information is there, you no longer need to produce brochures, right?
Many people feel that way. Just over the past few years, I’ve noticed that the days of huge press runs appear to be over. In fact, some companies and communities have completely eliminated printed brochures. While I understand the concerns over the cost of printing and related postage for direct mail, I disagree with anyone who believes that there is no need for brochures. The facts just don’t support this notion.
Imagine this; you go to a car dealership to shop for the latest luxury model you’ve had your eye on for a long time. Maybe it’s a Mercedes, a Cadillac, or even the latest sports car. It’s a beautiful thing. The paint is amazing, the interior is fine leather, and the stereo is unbelievable. You’re almost ready to buy but you want to wait 24 hours in order to ponder your decision and discuss the purchase with your spouse. You are psyched! As the sales person walks you to the door, she hands you her card and a flimsy brochure that she just printed on her desktop inkjet printer. Thud! Your opinion of the car and the dealership just hit rock bottom. Would this really happen? Never! Automobile manufacturers are known for their beautiful brochures.
At Brand Acceleration, we work with architects, engineers, and builders who create beautiful multimillion dollar buildings. Like the luxury car, the workmanship, design elements, and emotion require a beautifully crafted brochure that appropriately matches the beauty of their buildings.
Economic development professionals, the other side of our business, often meet face-to-face with c-suite executives and site selection consultants, hoping they will make a multimillion dollar investment in their community. After investing millions of dollars in industrial parks, infrastructure, and spec buildings, this is no time to hand them a nasty brochure that was cobbled together and printed on your desktop printer, which is low on red ink.
While I agree that an electronic version of a well-produced brochure should be available on your web site, I also believe that a short run of professionally printed brochures should be available for those important face-to-face meetings with prospects and clients. An expertly crafted brochure helps establish a brand image that such clients expect. Anything less could insult the client and kill the deal.
What exactly goes into a professionally produced brochure?
It’s very important, after all, to do it right. With so much on the line, there’s no room for cutting corners. First, it’s important to have a well thought out strategic plan for the brochure, identifying audience needs and expectations and matching them with your deliverables. Next, the copywriting must be stellar. Expertly written copy is more that pretty words. It has an amazing ability to romance the reader, positively conveying your key messages. Next comes design. More than beauty, great design is the art of conveying a brand message through expertly crafted visuals. Then, of course, a brochure must be produced by a professional printer with the experience and attention to detail that yields exceptional results. If corners are cut anywhere along the way, the results could be less than stellar and not worthy of your company or community. The quality of a brochure should certainly meet or exceed the quality of the product, service, or place being promoted.
Which works better, direct mail or e-mail?
While I do like the lower cost and measurability of e-mail marketing, I would never rule out the power of direct mail. I like both. Together with other tools, an effective marketing communications program includes printed brochures. They have staying power.
For our clients, we often use a broad approach, utilizing brochures, e-mail marketing, online advertising, direct mail, social media marketing, and anything else that combines to grow a brand and generate results. We’ve also had great success using printed brochures in combination with such items as flash drives, CD/DVDs, QR codes, and even peanut butter and jelly packs.
Are printed brochures dead? Absolutely not! As in the past, they are an integral part of a broad mix of marketing tools that can successfully pave the way for marketing success.
I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.