Every brand with an effective marketing strategy needs to produce many types of high-quality marketing collateral for a variety of channels. It takes a clear understanding of a company’s goals, resources, budget, and capabilities to know which kinds of collateral to invest in. For some, white papers on landing pages are the most valuable. For others, TikTok and Instagram videos lead to the most tangible results, be it sales or engagement.
Let’s look at the different types of marketing collateral companies use today and why they matter.
What Is Marketing Collateral?
|Marketing collateral is any digital or physical artifact used to communicate a company’s brand, products, or services. It includes a range of materials from websites and marketing videos to printed brochures, digital white papers, and email newsletters. The type of marketing assets a company invests in depends on its goals.|
Many businesses develop marketing collateral to support their sales teams. They use it to spread awareness and drive interest for a service or product. Consider a white-paper download designed to attract and gain new, qualified leads. It’s typically intended to support the top of a sales funnel, but aside from collecting email addresses, marketing collateral can also be used to assist existing customers, drive loyalty, and win repeat business.
It’s not just a sales tool, either. Marketing materials can support goals that aren’t directly tied to selling. For example, if a company has a problem with low employee morale, it can use marketing collateral to promote new initiatives to improve workplace culture. Organizations going through a corporate rebrand can also use it to drive internal adoption of their new brand identity and guidelines.
Marketing collateral can help get results toward any audience or goal. It just needs to be the right type of material for the job.
What Are the Types of Marketing Collateral?
In today’s landscape, a video made for TikTok can be just as valuable as (or potentially more valuable than) a technical white paper. It simply depends on a brand’s goals, who they’re trying to reach, and what product or service is being sold. From websites to sell sheets, here’s a look at common types of marketing collateral.
Some people still don’t think of their company website as marketing collateral, but it’s one of the most important pieces of collateral a brand owns. It’s a curated collection of all the most powerful collateral – brand stories, product content, landing pages, and all the information to support customers are on your website. Smart companies use their website as a powerful tool, update it regularly, and treat it as one of the strongest marketing assets in their arsenal.
This is one of the most popular types of marketing collateral that companies use to attract new prospects and develop a relationship with existing customers. Individual blog posts — especially ones that include images, videos, and infographics — can illuminate a product or service and help SEO rankings at the same time. As long as blog content is helpful, meaningful, and relatable, it can attract new customers through organic search and educate or support repeat customers. Blog posts can vary in length from 500–2,000+ words depending on the topic, type of article, and SEO strategy a company follows. Professional advice about the right length for content varies because there’s no right answer. Determining the length of blog posts depends on the reason a company creates blog content in the first place, who’s reading it, and how it performs over time.
Brands use landing pages for everything from showcasing a new product launch to capturing leads with a free download or demo. The uses for landing pages as marketing collateral are almost as varied as company and department goals. They can be product landing pages at an e-commerce company, service landing pages for technology providers, or landing pages designed to capture new leads. Whatever the purpose, a landing page needs the right balance of copy, images, and video to drive conversion, sign-ups, or downloads. Before building a landing page, everyone should agree on its purpose and keep content focused on a singular goal to lead customers toward the desired action.
E-books, White Papers, and Reports
These terms tend to be used interchangeably, but all are long-form content that can educate and entertain customers. If a blog post or landing page isn’t enough to cover a topic, any one of these — e-book, white paper, or report — is a great way to present in-depth, authoritative, and persuasive information and solutions. They can help customers solve problems and describe strategic approaches to everything from 5G-connected smart campuses to manufacturing processes. They also motivate people to volunteer their email on a landing-page form for a download to insightful content. Some companies even charge money for such content, particularly if the material required conducting surveys or interviews.
Infographics help companies present complex information in an easy-to-digest format. This format gives readers a break from dense copy and can make for beautiful visual representations of data. If a brand wants to tell a story and win audience attention, an infographic might be the way to do it. With proper focus, attention to detail, and intelligent branding, an infographic can inform, educate, and grow brand awareness all at the same time. Infographics work so well that businesses used to make them for almost everything. Today, their use has tapered off, but infographics are still highly effective for the right subject matter.
Case Studies and Customer Stories
Customers, especially those in the B2B sector, want to see proof that a solution has already worked for a company like theirs. Case studies and customer stories are a chance to tell a story about how solutions or products solve high-level challenges and help teams reach their company goals. When a prospect reads a case study or customer story about how a peer used a solution to solve the same problem they’re struggling with, they’re much more likely to take steps toward making a large investment. Like e-books, white papers, and reports, the terms are often used interchangeably, but case studies typically include hard data, such as a noticeable increase in web traffic or a higher return on investment (ROI) a client enjoyed after using a solution.
Sell Sheets (One-Sheets)
Sell sheets or “one-sheets” are a classic downloadable document that quickly summarizes the most compelling benefits, features, and aspects of a product or service. This piece of marketing collateral is ideal for customers who are comparing products or solutions and want the most important details right in front of them. In some cases, the one-sheet is a comparison of two products (yours being one of them). While sell sheets are mostly composed of text, it’s important to use visuals (like product images) to add context about important information.
Over 50% of marketers name video as the type of content with the highest return on investment (ROI) for them. It’s a powerful format for reaching audiences and inspiring action on websites, social media, or other channels. Brands create videos for everything from how-to explainers and demos to interviews, product overviews, and testimonials. Product videos that show every angle of a product are a great way to help customers feel more connected to what they’re buying when they can’t see or experience it in real life. On social media channels, videos tend to perform better than images, which makes video production vital for any social-focused marketing organization.
Traditional Marketing Collateral
Print, billboards, physical displays, and direct mail still have a place in the marketing collateral mix. These traditional marketing channels are fading but still effective. In some ways, they may even break through the noise of digital environments. They can take the form of stickers in a customer order box to a thoughtful birthday note or follow-up after an in-person event — really anything that’s three-dimensional.
Best Practices When Creating Marketing Collateral
There's no perfect piece of marketing collateral. There will always be ways to make a piece better, get more engagement, or create a more compelling story.
But there are tactics any brand can use to focus on creating the highest quality marketing materials possible.
- Put your audience first. It sounds obvious, but it has to be repeated: Brands need to put audiences first when creating marketing collateral. Who are you talking to? What problems are they trying to solve? What do they want to improve? Content has to be aimed at these things instead of just detailing the way a product or service is talked about internally. When companies work to understand their audience and prioritize their needs over the product or service, everyone wins because audiences feel heard and appreciated.
- Stay true to your brand. Every piece of marketing collateral will be different, but the brand should always remain consistent. Visuals, the voice and tone, and the way your brand is presented should all be done consistently. All creative efforts — whether they’re in-house or outsourced — need to use the same colors, logo files, and photo styles. Everyone should follow the established brand guidelines and use the most up-to-date brand assets. Technology, such as a digital asset management (DAM) platform, can help by ensuring that people have access to marketing collateral and design files, but only to materials that are approved and on brand.
- Let data inform decisions. A brand can create piles of marketing collateral and never know if they’re effective. Successful marketing organizations look at the data behind content engagement and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. Brands that A/B test their content are always learning what works and what doesn’t, allowing them to continually optimize and evolve their efforts. Once it’s clear that something works, do it again. Try it on another channel or iterate. When something doesn’t work, explore why. If it’s obvious, don’t repeat the mistake. Constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve.
- Design for specific channels. Marketing collateral has to be designed and purpose-built for the channels it’s shared on. When a brand makes product videos, the explainers for the website need to be different than the shorter versions designed to loop and repeat on TikTok or Instagram. And content for a list of dedicated email newsletter subscribers will be different from content for Facebook ads. When developing channel-specific material, consider your audience and the content they want to interact with on each channel.
There’s no perfect formula for producing marketing collateral. It takes time, money, technology, and skilled creatives to produce high-quality content that inspires action from audiences. And it takes a commitment to key values that lead to well-crafted marketing material — understanding audiences, consistent branding, data-driven decisions, and channel-specific design.
When approached strategically and designed with the intent to help an audience solve their problems and get what they want, marketing collateral is a valuable asset for your entire organization. Many brands use a variety of tools and methods to produce marketing materials but struggle with organizing their technology stack and processes efficiently. DAM tools are a way to consolidate technology costs, streamline content workflows, and make it easier for everyone to produce and manage marketing collateral that delivers results.