When we’re talking about marketing, things can get kind of buzz-wordy. Marketing collateral. Landing pages. Audience personas. Ever feel like you need a guide to walk you through these things?
Introducing the Ultimate Guide to Marketing Collateral.
Today we'll take a look at the most common types of marketing collateral, explaining what they are and when to use them. We'll also show you examples, some our own and some from other brands, to inspire you to create your own marketing pieces. In order to make sure we're all on the same page though, let's start at the top: what does the term even mean?
What is Marketing Collateral?
Marketing collateral can be defined as a collection of media, advertisements, and other types of content or assets used to support a company's sales and marketing efforts. Marketing colalteral encompasses a wide range of items that can be used to promote a product, service, or brand.
From print pieces to online media, having the right types of marketing collateral is a must for successful businesses.
You might think of examples like these when you think of marketing collateral (we'll dive into some of these in more detail down below):
- Sell Sheets
- Landing Pages
- Explainer Videos
- Case Studies
Every piece of marketing material should serve a purpose. But first, you’ve got to know what those pieces are. Once you understand that, you can begin to identify the purpose they serve best for your business.
What does good marketing collateral look like?
There are some key things to know about marketing collateral:
- It's tangible - collateral exists in a physical or digital form, unlike other marketing tactics like advertising or PR. Common examples include brochures, flyers, fact sheets, catalogs, branding guides, infographics, presentations, emails, etc.
- It educates and informs - collateral provides helpful information to customers and prospects. It aims to describe products/services, explain their benefits, showcase brand values, and ultimately convince the audience to buy or use your offerings.
- It supports sales - collateral gives sales teams materials to leave behind after client meetings and pitches. It also equips them with information to have more effective discussions. Quality collateral makes their jobs easier.
- It establishes/supports brand identity - the look and feel of collateral should align with your brand image. Fonts, colors, logos and other design elements should be on-brand so that marketing assets reinforce brand recognition and consistency.
- It requires a strategy - collateral is most effective when you have clear goals, target personas, and distribution plans mapped out. Creative designs and snappy copy are not enough without strategic implementation.
- It's not a standalone tactic - collateral should be utilized as part of a cohesive marketing plan, combined with other tactics like digital marketing, events, PR, etc. to generate leads and drive conversions through different channels.
11 Examples of Marketing Collateral (And How to Use Them)
Marketing collateral comes in many shapes, sizes, and styles but they are all worth it. Here’s a rundown of eight pieces that you should have in your arsenal, and where they typically fit in the scope of marketing your business.
1. Sell Sheets
A sell sheet is a simple tool that showcases the benefits of your idea in a succinct and compelling way. They’re usually one or two pages (at most) and are more in-depth about a particular product or service than a company brochure would be.
Include a fine balance of images and typography to keep your sell sheet clean and readable. You'll highlight an image of your product or service – whether literal or in the sense of the benefit your product/service makes possible.
It also showcases the big benefit – why people would purchase it. A sell sheet needs to include contact information, as well as any patent information if applicable.
When to Use a Sell Sheet
A sell sheet gives your product that little bit of oomph that it was missing, so you’ll often see these at point of sale environments. They’re an advertisement, yes, but not a coupon so remember that buyers in the awareness and consideration stages should be who you are targeting.
Brochures are one of the most widely distributed marketing materials on the planet, and for good reason. Few other mediums lend the space to present a powerful message in such a portable manner. Typically, a brochure is going to be the piece of marketing collateral that is full of robust information and includes intriguing graphics.
When people think marketing or sales collateral, they typically think “brochure” first. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s the reason why we usually clarify the intent of the piece. We may find that you’re better suited to another item on this list. (ok, back to the explanation.)
When to Use a Brochure
Brochures are a wide-angle shot at what your company can do. Brochures are intended to grab attention and awareness so you'll want to provide easily digestible information. If you’re launching a new program or product, and have the time, brochures are a great way to explain the new features.
This example features custom photography, which help the pieces come alive, along with information ranging from paragraphs to bullets and quick hit lists. It's an all-in-one way to describe the services and offerings available from this particular business.
3. Landing Pages
Think of a landing page as a sibling to your website. Landing pages provide a highly targeted message for a product or promotion without giving away the whole farm - and they keep the visitor focused on a specific goal or outcome.
Not only do landing pages help disperse focused information about your product/service....but they also help increase your conversion rates on your website!
A landing page should exemplify the same aspects of your brand and mesh well with your current website, but it doesn't have to look like a carbon copy. You'll want to include videos, large calls to action, and other items that might not be the focus of your regular pages.
One of the most important features of a landing page making sure they don’t require viewers to swim through a sea of information.
When to Use a Landing Page
You should make it a best practice to use a landing page for every inbound advertising campaign you operate. This could be for an action, like an ebook download or event registration, or a sales page for a specific product or service.
Perhaps you're selling multiple products or setting up promotional offers for different user segments and your homepage can’t deal with this level of message differentiation. These pages are great for growing awareness and helping to get your promotion out into the digital world.
4. Explainer Videos
Explainer videos have become a staple in digital marketing, consistently proving their worth in engaging audiences and conveying complex messages succinctly. These concise videos serve not just to describe a product or service but to showcase the tangible benefits and changes they can bring to a customer's daily life.
Beyond mere product demonstrations, explainer videos are a window into the ethos and personality of your brand. As nice as it is to have everything accessible online, it's come at the cost of less human interactions with the people behind the business. By integrating the faces behind the brand into these videos, companies can forge a stronger, more personal connection with their audience, bridging the gap between digital and personal interaction.
Similarly, you may consider making educational videos that relate to your business. For example, aside from creating marketing content for our clients, Simple Strat provides a great deal of HubSpot consulting. To help demonstrate our HubSpot expertise to those leads (as well as to better serve existing clients), we started the now-popular HubSpot Hacks YouTube channel:
On the flip side, this YouTube channel serves a double purpose for people curious about our content marketing services, because its success demonstrates our ability to grow an audience and build credibility with content.
When to Use Explainer Videos
The obvious answer to when do you need explainer videos is anytime you have a product launch. While true, there are plenty of additional opportunities to use and create explainer videos.
Explainer videos should be used on your website but also on social media. Bringing practical value to content will only increase your awareness and traction. These videos will help you gain new customers as well as help retain and delight customers that have already purchased from you.
Side note: We love Wistia and find tons of inspiration for video content from them. (Shameless plug over!)
Testimonials from your customers are your biggest cheerleader. Prospective customers want to hear what your current customers experience is like. These are a driving force in the decision process for leads. They're also a great example of an essential component of your website, called "social proof" - or the proof that your product or service is valuable and people vouch for your credibility.
The key to a good testimonial is focusing on how the customer has changed — in both concrete and emotional ways since working with your business. This allows you to tell a compelling story of their transformation.
When to Use Testimonials
Testimonials can be used as standalone collateral but also as supplemental media on other collateral pieces.
Video testimonials can be used on social media channels and housed on your website. Testimonials will help you grab customer attention in the awareness and retention cycles of the marketing funnel.
Keep testimonials visible at anytime you are trying to promote or sell a product. Having visible testimonials will give reassurance as to why customers should buy your product.
Ebooks represent a longer form of content that can educate prospective buyers about topics important to buyers and your brand. They are a great way to creatively demonstrate expertise in a visually appealing manner while being more serious than an infographic.
Ebooks are also an excellent way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Ebooks should contain an even balance of text and visual aspects. Graphs, infographics, photos and illustrations help separate the difference between an ebook and a whitepaper. The information in an ebook is typically educational and is more commonly written in a casual and collegial manner - for an online library of examples, visit our resources page where you can see ebook examples on marketing and other topics.
When to Use an Ebook
Ebooks, as part of a content marketing strategy, can give brands and entrepreneurs opportunities to deeply connect with their target audiences.
They help potential customers learn more about you by delivering complex information in an easily digestible way. An ebook will help enhance your likelihood to be found in the awareness and decision stages of the marketing funnel.
Side note: This is an example that we love from Moz.com, an SEO software company. They feature many ebooks and use them as a way to educate their target audience and generate leads for their software.
A whitepaper is basically an extended blog post, without the visuals of an ebook. Your business should leverage whitepapers as a way to thoroughly explain an aspect of your business that would be too extensive for a blog post. Yet, not complex enough to need an entire ebook.
A whitepaper is like an advanced problem-solving guide. Readers expect a high degree of expertise backed by solid research that is fully documented by references. Normally, these documents require an email address for download since it's a larger file.
Bonus! Whitepapers are a great way to capture leads (remember landing pages?).
When to Use a Whitepaper
Whitepapers are a great resource for your sales process as they give condensed insight to your business. Beyond your sales efforts, a whitepaper will help build credibility and trust.
You’ll find the most use out of whitepapers in a buyer’s awareness and consideration stages of the marketing funnel. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to lead generation, so make sure to add using a whitepaper to your repertoire.
8. Case Studies
Everyone loves to run experiments. Okay...so maybe that’s just us and scientists! But, that’s exactly what a case study is. More often than not, a client will want to know how your proposed plan or strategy will benefit their company.
The best way to do this is to use an actual example of how the same process, product, or service benefited another company. You know, like an experiment! (see, you DO experiment!)
Trust is easier to gain when a prospect can see tangible evidence that your ideas truly work, beyond a seeing a very nice video testimonial on your website. With a case study, you can expand on a customer’s problem and explain how your business provided a solution.
When to Use a Case Study
Having a case study is like going for it on fourth-and-long. Great to have when you need but it should always be a viable option.
If you don’t have an ideal client experience to prove your case study, you should be able to use your business.
Practicing what you preach is vital because you are your largest and most important case study. Once you keep that in mind, this will come in handy during the consideration and decision stages of the marketing funnel.
Infographics are powerful visual tools that present complex data, information, or knowledge in a quick and clear manner. They combine engaging graphics with minimal text to explain a topic, summarize a report, or present research findings in an accessible format. Infographics are especially effective in capturing the attention of your audience in an era where visual content often outperforms text-only content in terms of engagement and shareability.
When to Use Infographics
Infographics are ideal for simplifying complex concepts, visualizing data, enhancing reports and presentations, and boosting online content engagement, particularly on social media. They are also effective in educational contexts and marketing campaigns, offering a visually engaging way to present information that is more likely to be shared and remembered.
Designing Effective Infographics
Effective infographics prioritize clarity and simplicity, using appropriate visuals to enhance understanding. They should follow a logical flow, be consistent with your brand's style, and be optimized for various platforms. The focus should always be on making information easier to understand and engaging for the audience.
(Image from HubSpot's helpful article about infographics)
10. Project Profiles (aka Client Profiles)
Project profiles or client profiles are like the case study's younger sibling. They're a concise, impactful showcases of how your products or services have successfully addressed specific challenges faced by your customer. Unlike standard case studies, project profiles provide a quick yet effective glance at real-world applications of our solutions, and can easily function as a single page (on your website or a PDF, for instance). They are designed to offer leads an immediate understanding of our capabilities and the tangible benefits we deliver.
Guides are incredibly useful tools that simplify complex subjects into clear, step-by-step instructions and insights. Whether they take the form of a webpage or a downloadable file, they cater to people who prefer self-learning and problem-solving, since guides offer round-the-clock access to valuable information, without needing to sit in on a webinar.
By making learning more accessible and engaging, guides enable businesses to attract new audiences and establish their expertise in a particular field. They're not just educational but also serve as powerful tools for businesses to demonstrate their knowledge and reliability, enhancing their reputation as industry experts.
Using a Guide Effectively
Guides can also help familiarize your customers with your areas of expertise. For instance, aside from marketing guides like the thought leadership guide mentioned above (which helps our content marketing customers and promote our content services), we also created the HubSpot Buying Guide to help people understand how to approach buying HubSpot for the first time. This serves our potential customers who may wish to hire us for our HubSpot consulting services.
Having this marketing asset handy also means we can promote it in our HubSpot-related blog posts, with graphics like the one below. As you read through the guide, imagine you're a company considering HubSpot. How does your impression of Simple Strat change as you read more?
When to Use Guides
You should use a guide when you want to:
Educate Your Audience: If you're introducing a new product, service, or concept and need to explain it in detail. Guides are perfect for breaking down complex information into understandable parts.
Support Customer Decision-Making: During product launches or significant updates, guides can help customers understand the benefits and features, aiding their purchase decisions.
Enhance Customer Support: For products or services that require detailed explanations, guides provide valuable self-help options for customers.
Generate and Nurture Leads: Guides filled with insightful content can attract potential customers and keep existing ones engaged.
Establish Thought Leadership: If you aim to position your brand as an expert in your industry, guides that offer in-depth analysis or insights can be instrumental.
Marketing collateral is a powerful tool in your toolbox, when used correctly
Having the correct types of marketing collateral and knowing when to use them in the buyer’s journey is an integral part of successfully converting leads.
You can have multiple brochures about your business and services but if you’re missing a sell sheet that spells it out perfectly for a customer, you’re going to struggle closing that deal. Half the battle is knowing the difference between collateral types and using them to benefit your business.
And don't forget to check out this example of marketing collateral: the HubSpot Buying Guide.