Marketing collateral vs. sales collateral: the distinction between these two types of visual content may not seem significant. After all, they work hand-in-hand to achieve the same goal. While sales is the final nudge that causes a customer to buy your product or service, marketing is the gravitational pull that brings the customer into your orbit in the first place.
What works as effective sales collateral, though, may actually do damage if used as marketing collateral. That’s why it’s essential to define the right visual strategy for each stage of your sales funnel.
For example, if you want people to buy your product, it makes sense to tell them its name, right? Well, it may not be that simple. Marketing should focus less on promoting products or services and more on strengthening brand identity. Broadcasting your company name or product in every piece of collateral seems like an easy way to increase awareness, and it is. But an easy marketing strategy doesn’t always build long-term bonds with customers.
What else is there to talk about, besides your products and services? And how can customers buy in, if they don’t know what you’re offering? The answer lies in building a strong visual strategy as the foundation for all of the collateral you produce.
A Visual Strategy for Your Marketing Collateral
Marketing collateral comes first, at the very top of the sales funnel. Its goal is to capture an audience’s attention and build their trust. Sharing expert insights about your industry will strengthen your brand. In fact, informational marketing collateral dominated in 2018, as shown by a survey of content marketers:
Since marketing often has a wider reach than sales collateral, it makes sense to deliver your marketing collateral in the form of bite-sized visual content. Micronarratives and mini-infographics build awareness and interest. An explainer video or a visual blog post delivers a deeper dive into your educational insights, pulling customers into a closer orbit around your brand.
If you saturate marketing collateral with product calls-to-action, customers may see your brand as pushy. If collateral is wrapped in a corporate package, customers are less likely to open that package.
Instead, try this. Think of yourself as the expert on your industry. What original point of view do you have to share? Hint: zero in on what inspired the creation of your product, and what sets it apart. Center your marketing collateral around that idea. By creating this thought leadership content, you’ll establish yourself as a trusted source for potential customers. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to tell them more about your products or services.
A Visual Strategy for Your Sales Collateral
Once upon a time, “sales collateral” just meant simple sales tools like brochures or catalogs. These days, educating customers requires more sophisticated techniques, but the goal hasn’t changed. You still want to create and fulfill customer demand for your product or service.
Sales collateral should target customers who’ve already been pulled in. Now it’s time to get specific. A promotional video, an interactive ebook, a presentation deck, or a visually driven case study will demonstrate the value of your product or service and show customers why it should matter to them.
With sales collateral, consider using motion graphics and interactive elements to bring the product to life. If your sales collateral shows a customer how the product will make a difference in his or her life, it’s doing what it’s supposed to. If not, then don’t be surprised if people don’t choose to buy in.
So does all this mean that marketing and sales collateral must be kept strictly separate? Well, not necessarily. To create universal collateral for both sales and marketing, think of each piece as part of a larger customer journey. Begin with content that generates interest and presents a fresh, expert insights. Then, introduce your product in the conclusion, positioning it as the solution customers have been waiting for.
What type of content works best as universal collateral? It could be anything from a motion graphic to a static infographic. Just make sure it’s long enough to give potential customers time to transition from the initial marketing mindset into the sales mindset — and short enough that their attention doesn’t stray before they learn about your product.
Regardless of what form your content takes, remember to focus your marketing strategy on building your customers’ interest and trust, and let sales collateral bring your products to life.