The Ultimate Guide to Creating Marketing Collateral

All that you wanted to know about creating and distributing marketing collateral.


Ahoy there! Welcome aboard to the most extensive and detailed guide on marketing collateral available today. This guide is replete with awesome examples and immediately actionable ideas that you can implement in your company - to drive higher engagement levels for your marketing collateral, to build a following, to drive traffic to your website, and to drive sales. 

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Today, you, me and whom we will henceforth refer to as the “modern customer” is a lot different from the one who existed just 10 years ago. We expect products to be delivered faster, tailored to our expectations, a flawless user experience and more. This expectation now is no longer a luxury but table stakes for businesses to retain customers.

Now, which team within the business is responsible to build a strategy that appeals to different segments of the buyer audience, their varied interests and execute them to perfection?

Why, marketers of course.

From lead generation to revenue generation and more – marketers are expected to take on newer roles than ever before. They are now responsible for actions and outcomes that have arisen only in the last decade or so.

The emergence of the gig economy, the explosion of the SaaS product landscape, the upsurge in social media platforms and the entry of millennials in the workforce have resulted in the changing contours of the modern marketer’s role.

Compare this with the concept of 4Ps of marketing – price, product, promotion and place. The 4Ps meant that if you put your product in the hands of your customer at the right price, at the right time and right place, you are most likely to come away successful. However, while that concept still holds true, it is just not restricted to the 4Ps anymore. If anything, the 4Ps principle has been given a new twist. As a result, marketers have had to come up with novel ideas to generate sales.

Take IKEA’s example. In 2012, the home furnishings retailer distributed boxes to Montreal residents, who moved to a different location each year on July 1. People who picked up these boxes were offered discount coupons to decorate their home. The company’s efforts were well rewarded as it reported a 2% growth in same-store sales.

Marketers today find themselves in the midst of an upheaval like never before. Every layer of the customer base is now segmented. Marketers are now rethinking their strategy about marketing their product to the modern-day customer.

But, what enables modern marketers to market their products to the modern customers effectively? What helps them stand apart from their competition? What makes prospects choose their product/service?

The answer: Custom Messaging That Each Unique Buyer Can Relate To. The backbone to getting that right is MARKETING COLLATERAL.

In this Ultimate Guide to Creating Marketing Collateral, we will talk in depth on all that you need to know to know about marketing collateral including:

  • The definition of marketing collateral
  • What does it take to build a practical marketing collateral strategy?
  • Understanding the different types of marketing collateral
  • How do you come up with ideas for marketing collateral?
  • Distributing marketing collateral
  • Measuring the effectiveness of marketing collateral

Why is Marketing Collateral Important?

But, before we delve into the finer details, let us first understand why is marketing collateral important. Here are 6 reasons. 

1. Buyers have needs

People have needs and wants all the time. It is only because they have unfulfilled needs that businesses exist to fulfil them. Imagine yourself walking down the street on a cold, rainy evening. It is very damp with puddles of water everywhere and the only thing you wish for is a hot cup of coffee. Out of nowhere you see a signboard that says

Hot Coffee and Doughnut – Always a great combo!

Free Wi-Fi as well.

Turn Right & Walk 50 Meters.

Lo and behold, you come across a brewing joint where people are huddled over their mobiles across the table drinking coffee. You order a nice latte for yourself and settle down.

The signboard acted as the marketing collateral.

  • It had a clear offer – coffee is being served here along with some extra stuff that you’d love to have.

  • It had a clear call to action – turn right down the street and walk 50 meters.

That is exactly what it was meant to do – to attract your attention to a product that you needed. It was persuasive enough to urge you make a move.

Marketing collateral educates and informs people about what is available and how it can solve your need of the hour.


2. Marketing collateral is not the privilege of the big boys any more

According to experts, the cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad is $5 million. On the other hand, there are firms whose marketing budget for an entire year is less than $5,000. Obviously, super bowl ads are not for everyone. But, that does not mean you stop producing marketing collateral.

Marketing collateral lets every business speak for themselves. Not just large companies, but even the smallest of businesses can get word of their business out easily. All that is needed is an internet connection and digital content that will speak for itself. The content could be anything – case studies, customer credentials, videos, brochures, e-books, websites, landing pages, etc.

Remember in the late 90’s or early 2000’s when having a website or an email id was a rarity? Today, no matter the size or nature of your business, a website is a like a storefront. A discerning customer will stop by it, evaluate his options and take a decision – to either step in and try your product or walk ahead to try other options.

The biggest takeaway though is that anybody could set up a website. Anybody could write a story of how they helped their clients. Anyone can speak about how awesome their customer support has been – all thanks to the one effervescent thing called ‘Digital Marketing.’


3. Marketing collateral will live for long

Anything that you create in today’s digital era has a long life. Think about a movie that you have watched from the 60s or 70s. ‘The Godfather’ hit the cinemas in 1972, but Vito Corleone’s (Marlon Brando) line “I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse,” is part of folklore and is still used in business negotiations.

That is the power of marketing collateral. One of our blogs that we published in December 2017 titled “An Introduction to Marketing Collateral,” has gotten us a lot of traffic. Over a period of time, we will optimize it to keep it updated, but we will not take it down.

Similarly, any digital artifact that you have created as part of your marketing collateral strategy has a long shelf life and will keep delivering positive ROI for your business.


4. It connects your audience with your business

Think about ‘The Avengers’ franchise and how successful its merchandise has become. To produce a movie is one thing and to spin off a new business with its superheroes as central themes is pure business genius. What need is the merchandise solving? It is helping fans grow more closer to their favorite action heroes.

How many times have you made a mental note of looking up for a product in the local supermarket just because you’ve seen their hoarding? Or, how many times have you scanned a QR code to take a look at a website that promised you something in return?

Why do we do that? It is human psychology to trust someone to solve our problems. That is called cognitive trust, where we trust someone based on our knowledge and evidence.

Think about B2C companies – is it possible for them to reach out to every customer that they serve? Or, take SaaS companies for that matter. They sign up so many customers who’re represented just by their email ids. Most of their customer base is spread across borders. Marketing collateral is important because it builds the bridge of trust between a business and its audience.


5. MARKETING COLLATERAL lends to word-of-mouth marketing

Imagine yourself shopping for a pair of jogging shoes. You fix up a budget for it and then scout online or the local store for different options. But, invariably, you want to check the reviews that users have posted about it. Sometimes, you notice a good pair of shoes your friend has been using and you want to know more about them.

Or, imagine yourself attending a business conference and you bump into your college pals who tell you about the awesome CRM software that they’ve been using.

These are various forms of word-of-mouth marketing. A Nielsen study had revealed that 92% of consumers believed what their family and friends told them than advertising.

By nature, human beings are wired to share stuff. This is explained in the book “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000” by Peter Blackshaw, head of digital and social media at Nestlé. Blackshaw had been appointed in 2011 when the Swiss giant was facing a social media backlash over accusations that they’d been destroying Indonesian rainforests for their palm oil. He taught the company to listen to social media commentary about Nestlé. The company had learnt its lesson: in today’s digital age, consumers can make or break a company.

The psychology behind ‘I’ll vouch for it’ is dramatically different from the disappointment of a customer who is shortchanged. Marketing collateral enables word of mouth marketing. When word of mouth marketing is backed by marketing collateral, your prospects become more familiar with it. The best part is it does not cost a dime, but when used wisely, it can reap brilliant results.


6. Marketing collateral inspires people to act

In May 2017, Nike attempted what no human had ever attempted before – get athletes to run a marathon in less than 2 hours. Three elite athletes were chosen for it (one of them world champion Eliud Kipchoge) and after 6 months of advanced scientific training and preparation, they were ready to run.

Everything was picture perfect – the stage was set, the best actors had been chosen, the actors ready with their lines, except the final act. The runners could not break the sub-2 barrier. Eliud came within a whisker of achieving it and finished the race at 2 hours and 25 seconds.

While the initiative itself did not achieve its intended goal, the company won several accolades for its efforts. It became Twitter’s biggest brand-driven live-streaming event with about 13 million people watching it. Till date, 19 million people have seen the video. Nike even roped in famous running influencers to come in and add their aura to the masterpiece they were creating. This was audacious effort by Nike and a much-needed antidote to a sport that was losing its credibility over drug abuse.

By sponsoring the whole effort, Nike perhaps changed the future of sports marketing and how consumers can be inspired. This is what powerful marketing collateral can help achieve – inspire consumers to do great stuff.


Those are six reasons why every business, big or small, needs marketing collateral. There are probably many more, but we’ve listed down the top six reasons why you need marketing collateral.

In the next section, we will examine what is marketing collateral.


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What is Marketing Collateral?

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You’d be unstoppable. (Really) and It’s faster than Thanos took to snap his fingers.