‘What colour do you think we should print our brochure?’ was the first question a marketing director asked me when he found out what I do.
‘That would depend’, I replied, ‘on why you’re producing a brochure. Who is going to be reading it? What are you trying to tell them? And is a brochure the right way of reaching that audience?’
Strategy Before Tactics
There’s a logical flow to marketing. You figure out who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to say to them, and then work out how to get your message across. Strategy has to precede tactics. You need to start upstream – at the start of that flow.
In many marketing departments, you find turmoil and wasted effort. I think in pictures a lot of the time, and to me it’s as if those marketing people have thrown their raft directly into the white-water rapids without having properly planned their whole journey. They’re starting their marketing efforts too far downstream.
A brochure is one of dozens of ways in which a company could promote itself. To use your marketing spend effectively, you need to decide which marketing tools to use, and you cannot do that without understanding what you are trying to communicate and who you’re trying to reach.
Starting Further Upstream
Getting your marketing strategy sorted out will certainly involve you working out what your value proposition is, because differentiation from your competitors is crucial.
But be aware that differentiation is not the same as different.
Different is listing your unique abilities, but differentiation is connecting those unique capabilities with customers’ actual problems.
Once you’ve honed that competitive differentiation, you’ll find that decisions downstream are much easier to make. You’ll have sound reasoning on which to base your choice of the appropriate marketing tools, and you’ll have a better idea of what colour to print your brochures – if you print them at all.