Don’t Succumb to The Brochure Disease

There are times in the life of every business when things are not going well and you are searching for a way to take control of circumstances. You want to generate the business you need to return to growth. You want the world to know about your new product or service. You just want to do something. This is the time when the dreaded Brochure Disease rears its head. The Brochure Disease manifests itself mostly by making you spend money on advertising or promotion strategies just to “get your name out.” Much of this money is wasted because the business has jumped directly into producing materials and has skipped a few very important steps.

Who are you? What do your customers really buy from you (not just what you sell or make? The apocryphal story here is that the early success of selling power drills to consumers was based on the idea that what they wanted to buy was the ability to make ¼ inch holes in things, not just a drill.) How do they make their buying decisions? How do they prefer to get their information about options to solve their problems? How do they make their buying decisions?

If you can answer these questions first before you spend a dime on promotional material design and production, you will substantially raise the odds that you will implement a marketing program that gets the results you want at a more reasonable cost. The answers may lead you to design a brochure, or a print ad, or a postcard, or a website or all or some of these and other things. But whatever you design will be accomplished on the basis of what matters to the people you want to get and keep as customers.