Public relations: Keep doing brochures

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Q. Are printed marketing brochures still necessary?

A. The answer is a resounding yes. It is true that websites can serve as a major marketing resource, along with social media sites. Despite these online resources, it is nice to be able to let a referral source or customer walk away with a brochure, which they can glance at when they have time or share with a colleague or friend or put in a file for other office staff to view when needed.

When that referral source or customer walks away with the brochure, there is a good chance they will read it. When a prospective customer leaves the store and you tell them they can learn more by going to your website, that is dependent on a number of factors: That they will remember the website address, that they will take the time to even look it up, that they will find on the site what you want them to see.

Brochures can also be helpful when members of the team make presentations in the community, serving as an important leave-behind. They can also be inserted into area publications or directly mailed to community members and medical practices. To seamlessly integrate old-fashioned print with cutting-edge digital, have a PDF of the brochure put on your website and use animation software to make it easy to read.

Building a good, high quality brochure requires three elements: written content, graphic design and printing (generally four-color with a substantial and glossy stock). There are "all-in-one" marketing firms that will handle the entire job for one fee. This can be an easier way to approach the project than hiring a writer, designer and a print shop.

Beware: A low quality brochure--such as one written in house, designed on a computer in the shop and printed on plain paper in the laser jet--can do more harm than good. To paraphrase a familiar proverb, a brochure worth doing is worth doing well.  hme

David Ball is president of Ball Consulting Group, LLC. Reach him at 617-243-9950 or