Breathe new life into your old marketing materials

Image courtesy of Paul ShermanThe marketing piece you put online or printed with lots of hassle and a hefty price tag a couple of years ago is so obsolete today you’re almost ashamed of yourself. Let’s hope you’re not having many hundreds of those brochures gathering dust in the archives.

Old marketing materials are a nightmare for a marketer. They piss you off even more when you remember how many thousands of dollars or euros you used for producing and printing. Were that money still left today, you could easily think of dozens of more productive uses for it.

The good news is you haven’t lost the game yet.

Let’s take that product brochure—just as an example—and take a moment to read it through. What is it actually that’s obsolete today?

Of course, you have more and better customer cases today than those you had at the time the piece went into print. You have better, to-the-point testimonials. Naturally, the product has been improved and it now performs better and at a lower cost for the user. Or maybe R&D has puffed new life into the basic model so you now need to market to new target groups you couldn’t even think of in those bygone days. Not to mention your company’s customer support and consultation services that have taken leaps forward by today.

Now grab the red pen.

  • Right, that’s clearly outdated. Strike.
  • This has been developed further. Add.
  • That we have found better sales arguments for. List.
  • Here we should bring a whole new angle based on what we know today. Write a short outline in bullet points.

Lo and behold! After the red-pen exercise it might just emerge that most of the material, already pronounced dead, is still very much alive. Your company is still one of the top players in the business, you can now create even more added value to your customer and the ROI of the product is pretty nearly as good as it used to be.

Next step: contact your trusted writer. Brief him or her using the results of your brainstorm, ending with the assignment “get this updated”. Add the names, addresses and phone numbers of your in-house experts who can give more information and agree on price and schedule. Ask your writer to think of how the material could be repurposed for an article, a blog post, a series of tweets. Sit back and wait for a miracle to happen.

Most of the time, it is easier to work on material that’s badly outdated or otherwise useless as-is than start with an empty slate. If you’ve written marketing copy you will certainly know the “empty sheet syndrome”. And if you don’t stray too far from the original, your legal department won’t start giving you a hard time and make you jump through hoops to get the stuff approved.

Editing old marketing materials will often be a very viable shortcut to timely, highly usable new marketing content at a fraction of the cost of starting from scratch.


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