HILE LITERATURE AND
selling tools may not be the sexiest marketing resources, they have their place, and savvy mar- keters are finding inventive ways to give these tradi- tional methods a fresh, modern edge. To get ideas for creatively executing these tools without sacrificing the critical information custom- ers expect, we talked to Jim Lent, marketing communications man- ager for the Pass & Seymour product line at Legrand; George Stringer, senior vice president of global sales and channel marketing at Soraa; and Scott Mann, director of marketing at Brooks Utility Products Group in Farmington Hills, Mich.
Focus on Relevance
Different buyers—even the same buyer at different points in the sales cycle—have different needs regarding the kinds of information they are seeking and how they want it deliv- ered. For maximum impact, mar- keters need to remember the essential purpose of literature and sales tools:
providing key information in an easy- to-access format. Modern communi- cation methods provide new options for how to do that, not necessarily replacements. “One of the biggest changes we’ve made in the past few years has had to do with tailoring our sales and marketing collateral to the ways our customers approach buying,” said Mann. “No one wants to engage with clever sales materials that aren’t rel- evant. So we look at what customers need at different points in the sales cycle and let that determine how we pro- vide the customer what they need. “There are points when they know exactly what part or items they need to order, but more frequently, they begin with a problem they need to solve and look to us for answers,” he added. “We try to tailor our literature to those needs. For those late-in-the-sales-cycle points we have product sheets that help custom- ers compare and contrast products.” For example, he noted that because of all the changes in the industry, cus- tomers have broader questions earlier in the cycle as they face new chal-
lenges, so the company reorganized content in its traditional catalog to focus less on product type and more on how to address needs. And to keep a modern look, the design across all marketing and sales materials was freshened with an expanded color palette and large, bright photos. Stringer agreed that a modern feel is vital for these tools. “The key to keeping traditional marketing meth- ods relevant is to continue to chal- lenge the norm and create items that are appealing to end-users, while still providing the information that’s needed,” he said. The company’s cata- log now focuses on images to be more visually appealing and also highlight the quality of its products. Making use of digital options is another method for modernizing these tools. “What we’re trying to do more is to transition those traditional sales tools to mobile or online engage- ment tools,” said Lent. “For example, we have an app for our industrial team that lets them walk through the catalog with a customer on an iPad. It has some digital bells and whistles, like pop-ups with additional product detail, but at its heart, it’s an easier way to access the information we’ve always made available. And we still do printed sales tools for people who like the printed option.” He noted that what is most impor- tant is making the information cus- tomers want available in the way they want it—and keeping the message consistent across all the platforms these tools use. “It’s not about how fancy it is,” Lent said. “We have information cus- tomers want and make it easy for them to access it quickly and easily. Customers want specs and things like that, and they can be emailed directly with this app. For all of our literature we have a PDF that can be down- loaded or printed. We want to keep it A VIEW FROM THE TOP
Marketing professionals from winning companies hare their best practices and strategies.
THE 2017 BEST OF THE BEST MARKETING COMPETITION SUBMISSION WINDOW HAS CLOSED; WINNERS WILL BE RECOGNIZED AT THE
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