“Are brochures dead?”
That’s an interesting question. Certainly over the past recent years they seem to have declined in use and popularity. Ten years ago most businesses felt they needed to have an official company brochure. Today, the traditional 2-fold brochure (8.5″ x 11″ with 2 scored folds opening up to 3 “panels”) has a lot stacked against it:
- They are still expensive to design and print-regardless of how far digital printing has come (or prices have decreased)
- Few people invest in writing compelling, to-the-point copy. That usually results in a dry, boring piece not many will want to read
- Many businesses have cut back severely on their print marketing, rendering the use (and appeal) of brochures to a minimum
- Our attention spans have decreased dramatically-and no one wants to read about any company any longer than they have to
- Many businesses now prefer all that “company stuff” available on their website instead of in print.
I wouldn’t say that brochures are dead, but rather their use and formats are evolving. In this digital age, things change pretty fast. As business owners, a big part of our job is to keep an eye on our marketing collateral to make sure it’s relevant, it’s presenting us in the best possible light, all while keeping with the times and trends.
But if you have to continue to market your business, and you have to get your information out, what do you do? Are there any viable options between no paper trail and a traditional brochure?
Yes there are. Luckily for us, digital printing does have many uses. The most important is that now we are able to print-on-demand, so gone are the days when you had to order 1000 units. If you need 250, get 250. If you need 10 000, then go to the offset press!
What are some options these days?
- You can have a 4″ x 9″ postcard-style brochure (a “rack card”). Depending on the nature of your business, and your needs, you may or may not need to print both sides.
- Oversize postcard-8.5″ x 5.5″ (half of a regular sized sheet)
- You may need to reformat everything and create a full sized sell sheet – usually 11″ x 17″ folded to 8.5″ x 11″
- You may need to reformat to create a one-page sell sheet: 8.5″ x 11″
- You may simply want a size that suits YOU and your content-in which case your print rep or local print house is your best resource.
The bottom line is that you are not limited to what used to work in the past.
It’s key to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself:
“Is this person going to WANT to read about my company history/mission statement/my process/pages of testimonials/my commitment to excellence, etc.?”
The reality is that today’s brochures are far briefer than their cousins from years ago. Back then people wrote quite a bit of text to “support” their position. Today our attention spans and actual free time are far less, so the lengthy paragraphs are taking a backseat. Your brochure should answer the question “what’s in it for them” and be very clear about the benefits of working with you.
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