Even though most marketing materials are now available as pdfs – at great and wondrous cost savings – there are still circumstances in which you need to have something down on paper. Face to face sales calls. Trade shows. In-person seminars. Prospects like to come away with something tangible – even if it does end up stashed in a sludge pile or tossed in the recycle bin.
For most of us, the days of mass production of collateral is a thing of the past. With small-run, just-in-time print runs easily and cheaply handled, we’re no longer getting sucked in to the “marginal mania” that had you ordering 10,000 copies instead of 5,000 copies because the marginal cost of the next 5,000 copies is so cheap. Blessedly, we no longer have to worry about all those unopened cartons full of brochures now in landfill.
With a good color printer, you can also print up decent looking collateral – fine tuned to a prospect’s needs – in micro-quantity. The downside is that the materials will not look quite as polished as their “really” printed-printed brethren.
A method that I’ve found that closes the gap between officially printed collateral and the run-off-in-the-office look and feel is the creation of template paper. This is stock paper printed with a nicely designed two- or four-color process that looks and feels almost exactly like the real thing. You can use bleeds that aren’t possible on the in-house printer, and the colors will be true – not dependent on how much ink is left in the color cartridge. Vary the design or color scheme and come up with different versions of the template paper that can be put to different uses: format one for data sheets, format two for customer profiles, etc. Use the template paper in your best printer: no worrying about how rapidly the message will decay (as with a large print run), or how tacky the materials look (often the case with 100% home-grown efforts).
For very little money, you can have hassle-free, small quantity, highly professional looking collateral.