It seemed that way during the pioneer days of the Internet. Many small companies used their sales literature budget to fund their first website. The big complaint about brochures back then was that they were out of date months after being published.

But just as the home video failed to put movie theatres out of business, the internet did not extinguish the need for a good sales brochure.

Those who abandoned the brochure soon learned that they served some purposes that the website could not. Sales people traditionally used the brochure as part of their presentation. They would circle items in the brochure to help the prospect visualize either the source of the need or the uniqueness of the solution. This “visual” would serve as a reminder to the advocate at the prospect’s company of why he was endorsing a specific source for the product or service being procured.

Yet another value of the brochure is the leave-behind nature. A website is great for providing up to date information and allowing strangers to “pull” the information they seek. However, websites can’t be put into a folder and saved for the day a need exists. Printouts from a website don’t carry the same graphic punch; they don’t present the salient points in concise formats. Many sellers we meet in our consultative selling workshops tell us how the brochure in a buyer’s folder helped them “make the short list” of potential sellers.

While sellers were realizing these strong reasons that brochures should co-exist with the website, another thing happened….Technology in the printing industry increased efficiency and reduced prices. Around the year 2000 it became possible to print four- color projects in low quantities for prices that used to require much higher volumes. This removed one of the brochures’ drawbacks….they were usually ordered in large quantities to get the prices down, and the longer they lasted, the more out of date they became. The fact that top line restaurants now print menus on a daily and weekly basis is testimony to how much four-color print prices have come down.

If you last updated your brochure the year you built your first website, it is probably time to rethink your decision and keep both mediums up to date. If we can be of service, please contact us. We have to admit we did not realize intuitively how much the brochure was missed. Several customers approached us this year with requests for new brochures to use for either conventional sales calls or to support trade shows. They had increasingly become aware that their five-year-old brochures needed to be replaced with a current version that carried the strong graphics, up to date information, and quality writing comparable to the website.

If your sales people are looking for a strong tool; or if you want prospective buyers to have something to remember you by when a future need arises, it is time to reinvest in brochures. This time don’t print 10,000; you won’t have to in order to get a great price.

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