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The sales brochure has jumped the shark

A NEW TAKE ON DEALER MATERIALS

Does it feel like the printed sales brochure is headed out to pasture? Has digital technology, like tablets, sealed its fate? Are we seeing its end of days? We don’t think so. Not just yet, at least.

But we are thinking differently. Our work on a magazine directed to our client’s dealer channel is a perfect example. We combined the approachable, reader-friendly format of a magazine with the brand, product and service details of a brochure or “merchandiser”. We served it up in printed and digital formats. And dealers are loving it. This is the story of how it came to be.



THE CALL FOR A HYBRID

For years, even decades, Power helped our client produce a list of sales materials to be used by their Area Sales Managers (ASMs), Independent Dealers and National Retail Sales Associates: new product merchandisers, full line brochures, training guides, etc. The content was often technical, laden with charts, and primarily focused on specs and features. Perfect for the backroom. Not great (or intended) for the showroom. Unfortunately, a lot of these materials were finding their way into consumers’ hands. Our client’s product and merchandising teams were getting requests from ASMs for a more consumer-friendly piece of literature—one that would still help educate and inform dealers.



POKING A STICK AT CONVENTIONAL THINKING

Strategy: Develop engaging literature to help connect the dealer sales force with the voice of the consumer, giving them language to deliver a more compelling message on the floor.

The “merchazine” was born. The proposal was to produce a mid-tier quarterly publication to be distributed to the sales channel in two formats: printed and digital (available through the Apple App store and Google Play). It would be used with dealers and sales associates for both training and as a leave behind. Each medium would have a magazine look and feel from front to back:

  • Approachable voice and tone
  • Reader-friendly length with bite-sized information to help train on the floor
  • Light, airy design and layout
  • High-end, visually stunning photography and GCI
  • Interactive elements (App version) to help enhance engagement
  • Appropriate as a consumer takeaway
THE BLUEPRINT

Our team approached this publication with a process and methodology we’ve developed to produce magazines for other clients, like the University of Louisville. We have this down to a well-oiled machine, integrating our account service, creative, PR, digital, set construction, photography and CGI departments.

Each quarterly issue begins with our editorial and account services teams, who develop a content calendar based on the magazine’s departments – What’s Hot, In The Spotlight and Promotions – plus define the editorial features of each issue. We take into account upcoming product launches and incorporate feedback from the dozens of our client’s product teams.

In addition, we recommended creating custom ads for the publication. This provides additional marketing opportunities for product, service and contract channel teams – especially if they don’t receive exposure in the magazine’s departments or editorial features. It also supports the familiar magazine experience.

Our creative team then determines pagination, supplies the copy, designs the layout and addresses photography needs. Custom photography and CGI for covers, ads and features are all created in-house. Once the printed layout reaches final stages, we convert it to a digital format using MAG+ and integrate/embed interactive media, including videos and product simulators that Power creates (to name a few).

 


All in all, it’s an exhaustive process requiring tight control, collaboration and coordination internally and externally with the client. And we do it four times a year!


HOT COMMODITY

Based on usage and feedback from the sales force, Inspired Magazine has been a resounding success. Our clients are thrilled. The magazine has grown in popularity and is frequently used as a leave-behind for consumers on the sales floor. It’s also being used as a giveaway at trade shows.

Does a new approach like Inspired Magazine offer a clue that the traditional sales brochure is dead? No. But it does demonstrate a thirst from the sales channel for new thinking and more engaging content. It also offers an intriguing example of how a creative approach to sales literature can serve multiple audiences and keep messaging consistent across the board.

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