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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Dos and Don’ts for Creating and Using Sales Brochures

Over the past few weeks, FEI marketing whiz Marka has given the FEI tribe some tips on creating print ads that get results. This week, Marka gives the tribe the first in a series of lessons on planning and creating effective brochure promotions. Remember, fire = print.

Marka and Zoot were hanging out at Grape Leaf frozen yogurt store, the hottest new chain in town. Marka watched in amazement as Zoot wolfed down a large mint chocolate chip cone in less than 30 seconds.

“I like the new brochure you created for FEI,” Zoot said, frozen yogurt dripping down his chin. “My sales staff likes it, too. In fact, they might like it too much. Lately, I’ve noticed that one or two reps have been ending calls with a casual ‘let me send you a brochure.’ What happened to scheduling an in-person appointment? They’re counting on these brochures to do all the legwork for them.”

“Sending a brochure in response to leads might make sense if you have a tiny sales staff, like Pyro, but FEI has an ample salesforce,” Marka agreed. “Our people need to spend their valuable time following up—in-person or on the phone–not sending out a mass of brochures.”

“Sounds like you know a lot about this topic,” Zoot observed.

“Yes. In fact, let me give you some of my dos and don’ts for using sales brochures.” Marka said, then began pulling a piece of paper out of her purse to write on.

• DO incorporate technology.

“QR codes can help continue the sales process that our brochure starts,” Marka explained. “Say we’ve invented a new ZX8 waterproof torch. We describe its waterproof capabilities in our brochure. Then, under that description, we include a QR code. This code links to a video that shows the ZX8 being dunked in a vat of water repeatedly, so prospects can see how waterproof and durable this thing really is.

“Under the video, we can include a clickable button that allows prospects to order their ZX8 immediately!” Zoot added with excitement.

“Great idea, Zoot,” Marka agreed. “Also, with FEI constantly expanding its product and service offerings, we may end up with more information than we have space for in our brochure. In this case, let’s put the content that doesn’t fit in print onto a landing page, which will function as a logical ‘e-extension’ of the brochure. Then, we drive prospects to this page via a QR code.”

“By outfitting this landing page with analytics, we can track exactly how many people visit and how many take action,” Marka continued. “Landing pages also make it simple and quick for prospects to place an order—a purchase is always just one call-to-action button and a short online form away.”

[Marka scribbled some more on her paper.]
• DON’T use a leave-behind brochures as a sales crutch.

“As you pointed out, a well-designed, comprehensive brochure can inspire salesperson laziness,” Marka said. “It’s easy for less-motivated sales folks to leave behind a brochure after a meeting and say ‘Well, the ball’s in their court now.’”

Zoot grimaced at the thought of such a complacent approach.

“Tell your salespeople it’s fine to supplement their selling messages with appropriate support materials,” Marka continued, “unless they use it as an excuse to not be proactive. Sales calls should end by scheduling a definitive follow-up action based on the conversation that occurred, not by tossing a brochure on the prospect’s desk and hitting the road.”

[Marka scribbled some more.]

• DO use brochures as creative direct mail pieces.

“Why not mail that hot prospect a brochure, with a handwritten note attached to the inside?” Marka asked rhetorically. “Brochures allow you to include much more information than a sales letter does. All you have to do is leave some space on the front or back page for a mailing address, seal the pages with wafer seals or spot glue, and you’ve got a mailer that will stand out.”

“These are helpful brochure tips, Marka,” Zoot raved.

“And I’m just getting started,” Marka said.

Zoot winked. “If your lessons involve more frozen yogurt, I’m game.”
Today’s FIRE! Point
Executing effective brochure promotions takes planning and creativity. Do use your brochures as direct mail pieces, and do incorporate technology when it makes sense. But avoid using brochures as a sales crutch in lieu of consistent customer outreach.

FIRE! in Action: Huntington University Gets Results from Creative Brochure Promotion
The university offered a “build-your-own-brochure” program in which prospective students could provide specific information about themselves and receive a completely customized brochure in return. This promotion achieved an 11 percent conversion rate and helped Huntington increase its application rate by 22 percent. 

Next week: Marka shares more “dos and “don’ts” for creating effective company brochures.


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