"Marketing collateral" is a term that is used to describe the range of materials that are used in the effort to raise consumer awareness and generate sales of a good or service. Collateral may be in hard copy form or in some type of electronic or virtual application. In any format, the purpose of marketing collateral is to inform consumers of the benefits associated with the product line offered by a particular company, and hopefully entice those consumers to buy those products.
Businesses of just about any size will produce some sort of marketing collateral as part of the effort to advertise the goods and services offered. One of the more traditional approaches is the use of brochures and pamphlets that quickly outline the type of products offered and the benefits associated with using those products. The idea is to provide information in a format that can be read quickly and easily by consumers, and used for quick reference when and as needed.
Along with brochures and pamphlets, companies may develop a wide range of marketing collateral that helps to get the name of the business and its product line in front of consumers. This includes the use of business cards that feature the company logo, along with key contact information. Advertisements in print publications are also considered part of the collateral effort. Many companies today will also create unique web content that is featured on company web sites, allowing consumers searching for certain goods or services online to come across the site, read the information and possibly decide to make a purchase.
Salespeople often make use of both printed and electronic marketing collateral when visiting with prospective customers. For example, the visit may include showing a slide presentation extolling the virtues of the vendor and the products. To reinforce the impression left by the presentation, the salesperson may leave printed material that is based on the presentation, or even a mini CD that provides a copy of the actual slide show.
Other types of marketing collateral are found in different settings. Product sheets and white papers are sometimes used to provide more in-depth information about goods and services than are provided in the overviews found in sales brochures. Telemarketers and in-house salespeople may utilize company-approved scripts when initiating contacts with leads or prospects. In any of its incarnations, the goal of marketing collateral is to raise awareness among consumers, offer factual information that is likely to be of interest to those consumers, and pave the way for the generation of a sale.