Traditional brochures typically tell the story of your company, i.e. they give evidence that you or your company have the wherewithal in personnel, capital, clout and expertise to perform the services you say you can perform or deliver the product you're selling. They are usually 3 or 4 panel affairs, printed on glossy paper, and featuring nice graphics or photographs. Think of company brochures as a resume for your business...Thus they are part of your "collateral" package.
But do you need a company brochure? Producing a company brochure is often time-consuming and expensive. The money and effort spent creating a company brochure may be better used on another marketing method.
Four questions to help you decide if you need a company brochure:
1. Do your competitors use company brochures?
That doesn't mean your biggest competition printed a brochure in 1992 and still have 1000 copies sitting around their office in dusty boxes. If you see your competitor's brochure when you make calls to potential clients, if they're mailing them out to your target area, handing them out at association meeting, etc., then you need one, too.
2. Do your clients ask for one?
If your clients expect a company brochure, then you should have one available. The more costly the service or product you provide, the longer the buying process will take your customer. Brochures and accompanying sales literature are often passed up the decision-making chain along with the purchase order. They are a way for the purchasing agent/buyer to back up their choice of vendor and product.
3. Is your service or product something visual?
If you're a graphic designer, photographer, kitchen remodeler, lighting consultant or if you have an aesthetic product, then you probably need a brochure. People will want to see examples. A company brochure is a good place to showcase your best work. If your selling stainless-steel wingnuts, then the customer will probably be more interested in a product sheet.
4. Is your service or product very complex, unusual or very specific?
If your product or service is complicated or rare, you may need a company brochure to explain what you're selling and why. For instance, if your company provides second-tier program management for subgrantees, you are going to need to explain your company to potential clients. If you're a French restaurant owner, you won't need a company brochure (but give out menus).
Segarin Monk is a marketing specialist promoting social betterment programs for governments and non-profit organizations. He believes in high-integrity, pass-it-on, pay-it-forward marketing. See more articles from this author at: http://marketingyogi.blogspot.com/