Marketing Communications Overview

Marketing and communications materials are essential to successfully generating publicity. Useful items include brochures, postcards, posters, flyers, banners, PowerPoint presentations, videos, newsletters, promotional apparel and memorabilia, and websites.

In addition to providing customizable materials, this section will give you tips on effectively generating publicity and producing materials in an attractive, timely manner. Use the customizable items individually or try piecing together various items to produce a finished outcome that suits your needs.

Promotional Ideas and Options

Promotion involves all marketing techniques, not just advertising or media relations. Event promotion must be dynamic and flexible, responding to unforeseen opportunities as they arise. Taking advantage of your existing network connections, using your website as an online billboard, and being visibly involved at community events are just a few ways to get attention for your organization or event.

View a more extended list of promotional ideas that involve a variety of communication outlets.

List of Promotional Ideas(.pdf)

Tips on Generating Publicity

Define the purpose of publicity material before creating a specific piece. Producing materials is expensive and time-consuming. Ask the question: why are we doing this? Other key questions to ask are:

  • Will producing this publicity material further our objectives?
  • Is it the best type of material for our target audience?
  • Is there another, more effective way we can do this?

All publicity materials should be clearly branded and include contact details, especially the website address for your project. Think in advance about how your items will act as a coherent unit of publicity for your project.

Selecting the right format for your publicity material will increase the chances of reaching and influencing the target audience. Print and electronic formats are the most common choices. Consider the quantity of publicity materials you need to reduce printing costs and avoid storage problems. If printing prices aren’t cost effective, think about electronic formats.

You can produce a range of materials including brochures, pamphlets, postcards, and newsletters. Templates for these materials are provided under Promotional Materials. Other items to consider are PowerPoint presentations, videos, apparel, and websites.

Tips on Producing Attractive Publicity Materials(.pdf)

Promotional Materials

Promotion is one of the four elements, or the “Four Ps” (product, price, promotion, and placement), of the marketing mix. Because promotion is the communication link between an organization and its targeted audience, a wide range of promotional materials to influence, inform, and persuade are available. These include brochures, newsletters, postcards, PowerPoint presentations, videos, publications, promotional devices, and websites.

About Brochers/Flyers

Brochures are most commonly used to provide an overview of an organization and to highlight specific goals and initiatives. It is usually printed out on 8×11 paper and presented as a trifold with the most important information displayed on the front and inside left spaces.These can be particularly useful when launching a new program. Make it easier for the reader by using bulleted points and bold headlines and providing contact information. Include enough helpful information to encourage the reader to keep it, refer to it frequently, or pass it on to other people.

A lot of the same tips that apply to brochures also apply to flyers. A flyer is typically an announcement on a flat 8×11 piece of paper. It can be one or two-sided depending on where it is displayed and how much information you have to share. A flyer should inherently have a call to action. What do you want the reader to do with the flyer? Call you? Visit your website? Attend your event? Make sure you know it and they know it too.

Newsletters

Many organizations produce newsletters to keep internal and external audiences informed. These can be weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, depending on how much information you have to share. As a general rule, it is better to produce an infrequent but relevant newsletter than to send one out each month with little information. Be sure to produce professional content and images because your publication may be the only item pertaining to your organization that external viewers see. Electronic newsletters sent to subscribers are becoming more popular because there are no printing and mailing costs.

Sample Newsletter Template(.zip)

Postcards

Postcards are used for lead generation; in other words, you don’t explain all of the details, but you give viewers the most important points and provide them a way to find more information. Make the design eye-catching but not cluttered. These are especially helpful as a “save-the-date” reminder for a special event and can be mailed directly to your audience or handed out at various locations and events. As with many other forms of promotion today, an electronic reminder postcard will save time and money.

PowerPoint Presentations

Developing a set of a standard PowerPoint slides that can be customized to fit your presentation purpose will make event preparation easier and will also help to maintain consistency in your marketing.

Promotional Devices

Promotional devices such as shirts, hats, mugs, or pens can be useful in engaging your audience and boosting your organization’s visibility, but they can also be relatively expensive; however, tangible promotional items can make an even bigger impact than traditional methods if you have specific marketing goals and know your target audience.

Publications

Part of your marketing strategy may include producing various publications including informative articles, expert opinions, useful resources, or other relevant material. Whatever information you include, the keys to successful publications are good copywriting, careful editing and proofreading, creative design, and high-quality printing. Having quality materials readily available for interested audiences is a sign of your organization’s professionalism and credibility.

Videos

Videos have the ability to inform and inspire your audience to action; however, they can be fairly time-consuming to produce. When creating a video, maintain a focused message and keep a target audience in mind. New media outlets such as YouTube and other social media sites provide an excellent opportunity to share these videos with viewers around the world.

Websites

To remain visible and competitive, an organization must have a functioning website. Social media site participation is also an important part of the communication strategy, but it is secondary to an organization’s main site. Unlike other promotional devices, a website acts as a central place for your audience to find in-depth information on your organization such as its history, mission, vision, employees, and any events, programs, or products you have to offer.

Signage

Signage includes any kind of visual graphic such as posters or banners that display information. These can be placed inside or outside of a building, as well as near streets or other high-traffic areas. Signage can be displayed prior to an event to attract participation and share information or during an event to welcome or direct participants.

Posters

Posters are particularly useful in promoting specific activities and events. These can be displayed in various locations including your work site, the event site, partner sites and many other relevant locations. It is usually free to place your posters in these areas; just remember to take them down after the event concludes. You can even use large outdoor posters for high-traffic areas. These should generate interest and include program and contact details.

Banners

Banners are a very direct way of getting your message noticed. These signs are versatile and can be customized to advertise your event. They can attract potential participants to inquire about the event or welcome participants on the day of the event. Regardless of the purpose, you should always include the host organization logo to maintain consistency with other marketing strategies

Production Tips

You must have a schedule in place when creating promotional materials. Begin by determining your absolute final deadline. Allow time for copywriting, photography, design, layout, proofreading, printing, delivery, and distribution.

Make sure you plan enough time for each stage of the process to be completed. External writers or designers should let you know how long it will take for them to complete their work. Do not put them under so much pressure that quality is compromised.

Another helpful tip is to give people deadlines ahead of when you really need their material. This gives you “wiggle room” if your team members don’t deliver on time or a redraft is necessary.

In addition, build in some extra time to allow for printing problems. For example, the printer you choose could have a mechanical issue on the day your project is to hit the presses. This could delay your materials up to several days. Plus, it is not wise to receive your items on the morning of the day your event is scheduled because this does not leave enough time to deal with errors if, for instance, your brochure has been printed incorrectly