from Pat McGraw:
The director of marketing was proudly displaying the new design for a 68-page 4-color brochure that was about to go to the printers. The project had taken her and her team almost 6 months of work because it was viewed as a ‘major deal’ and that meant that everyone and their spouse was involved in the process.
At the quantity they were going to print, the cost was slightly more than $1 per brochure and the total bill was in the low 6-figures. That included manpower (staff), outsourced services (writing, photography), printing and shipping.
The brochure was (and always had been) beautiful. And it offered a complete overview of the business and the many products and services offered.
At the end of a 45 minute meeting, one of the C-level executives asked me what I thought and I responded that I was impressed with the final product – but I did have one question.
“How are you going to use all those brochures?”
Now, you can probably imagine the reaction that brought. Laughter. Head shaking. Shifting in chairs. Whispers.
Finally, the marketing director spoke for the group and replied.
“We need to have this when people ask what we do – so we give them on these.”
So I asked another question.
“Do you qualify those people and make sure they are able to buy what you sell before handing them the brochure?”
More nervous laughter, whispering and shifting chairs ensued before the marketing director replied.
“I don’t know. That’s up to sales.”
Now, that’s a dangerous answer. The marketing team is spending a substantial amount of their resources (human, financial, technology) on something that looks wonderful – but it’s something they have no understanding of how it is used to achieve the goals and objectives of the business.
So I went over the sales department and asked the team how they used the 68-page, 4-color brochure. And, surprise – most weren’t. They thought it was too much information and it confused the prospect. (Most hadn’t gone past the first 30-pages before they lost interest and put the brochure down for good.)
Then I asked what they thought they needed and, together, we created a list of what they felt they needed to help certain buyer types at certain stages of the buying/selling process. I took this back to the marketing team and explained the rationale behind each one – and two important things happened.
First, the print run for the 68-page, 4-color brochure was significantly reduced – saving the company a solid 5-figures. (And that was before fulfillment costs that included postage.)
Second, within the next two months, the marketing team produced the collateral for the sales team at a cost far less than the 5-figure saving that came from the smaller print run for the brochure.
I went over to sales and asked how the new collateral was working for them. Moral went up. Conversion rates went up. Average order size was up.
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