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As many businesses increasingly focus their marketing efforts online, it’s natural to wonder whether it’s still worth investing in printed materials. And as a result, many are divesting themselves of their marketing collateral—those printed items that support not just a marketing campaign, but a business as a whole. But this is a mistake, simply because a company’s success depends not only on its products and services, but also on how well it informs the public about those products and services. Marketing collateral represents a company’s ability to do just that, and printed material is absolutely crucial for this purpose.

Essentials Versus Supplementary Materials

For almost all businesses, there are some essential marketing collateral items that are needed regardless of the products or services you offer. The most obvious one of these is business cards, but it’s not necessarily all you need. Most organisations will also benefit from printing product or service fact sheets—single-page summaries for each product or service, which describe what it is, who it’s for, what value it provides, and what it costs.

Then there are the supplementary materials, those things that may or may not be needed depending on the specific nature of your organisation. For example, if you want to work on positioning your organisation as a niche expert or thought leader, creating white papers on relevant topics can be useful, while in sales, case studies or in-depth product analyses may be more appropriate. Other supplementary materials may include:

  • Company fact sheet, including information such as locations, names and brief biographies of founders and management, contact information
  • Biographies of key members, managers, and directors
  • Company mission statement
  • Company background
  • Press kit, including all the above elements as well as a press release and introductory letter

How Much do You Need?

For small businesses, investing in marketing collateral can be tricky, simply because it’s difficult to determine what’s needed, and to estimate how much is needed. Initially at least, it can be difficult to strike a balance between always having the required materials on hand, and wasting money on inventory that doesn’t get used fast enough to warrant the high spend.

For each piece of printed material, determine the size of your inventory based not only on need, but also on how “evergreen” the content is. Having a large stock of items isn’t a bad thing if it gets used often, and if it includes content that won’t need updating for a long time, but it’s wise to have smaller stocks of printed material if its contents are subject to change.