Marchand--Questioning the Capabilities Brochure
Other circumstances also conspire to make the brochure and its elements an easy marketing choice. There is the simple fact that this is what the commercial printer provides for customers—advertising and sales literature. What does it say about our faith in the effectiveness of the medium if we do not produce such materials for ourselves?
Secondly, the brochure is a glorious example of the printer's trade—often lavishly illustrated, manufactured in attention-getting formats, color, multiple varnishes, etc.
A brochure may be a source of great pride for the owner of some companies—a mark of the prestige conferred by success in business. The marketing utility may be considerable, but the brochure also serves a purpose that requires no further pretext.
Finally, the vagaries of branding also serve to justify a well-conceived and effectively executed capabilities package. What better way to reinforce unique market positioning than a distinctive brochure that conveys the company's special qualities?
Compelling arguments, these. Who would challenge such indisputable reasons to develop a capabilities package?
Perhaps companies that seek to maximize the return on their marketing dollars.
Marketers inclined to explore alternatives are well-advised to review several issues before the hefty expenditure of a brochure is allowed to absorb an often disproportionate share of the budget.
Responding to the following questions may lead to expected answers and the decision to develop a capabilities package—or may lead elsewhere.
- What are the objectives? What purposes will be served by the brochure?
- Exactly how will the capabilities package be used? By whom? Under what circumstances?
- Does the expected unit cost permit the brochure to be used as intended?
This last question leads to the too often overlooked discipline. What is the budget? Break it out in hard and soft dollars. Not only cash spent on design and copy, but also staff time, including manufacturing costs. If you decide to trade with a design firm that owes you money, the trade is nevertheless a cost, and it must be counted if the budget is to be meaningful.