What is marketing collateral?

  • Marketing collateral describes any sales or marketing material through which a company promotes its brand, products, or services.
  • To create effective marketing collateral, it’s important to understand the audience and where they mass online to avoid wasting resources on ineffective materials. It is also important to ensure brand consistency and make data-based decisions.
  • Traditional forms of marketing collateral are less effective than they once were and include direct mail, merchandise, brand magazines, and various types of display ads. Digital examples include websites, videos, case studies, industry reports, and white papers.

Understanding marketing collateral

Marketing collateral describes any sales or marketing material through which a company promotes its brand, products, or services.

Marketing collateral is certainly not a new idea and, before the internet era, referred to the sell sheets and brochures that were created to enhance and support the sales process. 

Marketing collateral now encompasses any print or digital media that a company uses to promote its brand, products, and services. Like most things nowadays, marketing collateral is an evolving concept. It may be influenced by technological innovation, dynamic business environments, and trends that dictate how consumers respond to marketing messages.

Marketing collateral is a broad field that can be used to achieve a variety of ends. Most businesses still use it as a tool to spread product awareness, increase product adoption, and retain existing customers to drive loyalty. Less commonly, marketing collateral is used to promote new initiatives that boost employee morale and corporate culture. Other businesses may use certain collateral as part of a corporate rebrand.

How to create effective marketing collateral

To create effective marketing collateral, avoid the temptation to use as many materials as possible to broaden the company’s reach.

Instead, follow these best practices:

  1. Understand the audience – every marketing campaign starts with this point, and for good reason. Who is the target audience and what problems do they want to solve? Where do they mass or interact with like-minded individuals?
  2. Ensure the brand is consistent – a company’s brand should be consistent across various marketing collateral. Ensure that the same shade of blue is used in everything from a product pamphlet to an Instagram campaign. The same principles also apply to fonts, logos, and photos. Digital asset management (DAM) platforms ensure marketers have access to the same files when creating the content for new campaigns.
  3. Make data-informed decisions – while it’s important to determine what the target audience needs, marketers also need to understand the effectiveness of different types of marketing collateral. Tools such as Google Analytics can provide data that clarifies which collateral is worth the outlay and which should be avoided. On a more specific level, unique identifiers such as redemption codes can provide quick, actionable data with which to make decisions.

Examples of marketing collateral

Let’s conclude by taking a look at some print (traditional) and digital marketing collateral examples. 

Print (traditional)

Traditional forms of collateral are not as impactful as they used to be, but can still be used to stand out from saturated web environments and attract consumer attention. 

Examples include:

  • Brand magazines – outdoor company REI publishes a print magazine called Uncommon Path that features stories, topics, and products relevant to outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Display advertisements such as billboards, shelf signage, point-of-sale and front-end stands, and interactive product kiosks.
  • Direct mail, and
  • Merchandise.


Many forms of digital collateral are simply traditional forms that have been made web-friendly. Think of a print brochure turned into a pdf or a display advertisement that forms part of an AdSense campaign.

Examples include:

  • Websites.
  • Videos.
  • Case studies.
  • Blog posts.
  • E-books.
  • Infographics.
  • Industry reports, and
  • White papers.

Read Also: Marketing Strategy, Go-To-Market Strategy.

Marketing Glossary

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Digital Marketing

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.
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