The Mighty Marketing Brochure

Neil Sagebiel

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"Brochure" is French, and it comes from brocher, meaning to stitch. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, a brochure is “a small booklet or pamphlet, often containing promotional material or product information. "

Accurate, yes. And also incomplete.

For one thing, brochures aren’t always small. Sometimes they’re quite large. As for brochure contents, they vary greatly depending on the situation. A brochure definitely can be more than a pamphlet or small booklet, coming in all shapes, sizes and a range of folds.

While brochures are found practically everywhere - used by businesses and organizations of all types and sizes - they’re not the answer to all communication needs. Nor are they obsolete due to the Web.

What Can a Brochure Do?

Actually, a lot. First, determine your purpose or objectives.

Will your brochure generate sales or leads? Fulfill inquiries, support the sales force or be displayed at the point of sale? Will you use your brochure as a direct-mail piece or a leave-behind?

The brochure can do one or all of the above with careful planning. Here are some more functions of the brochure:

  • Provide product and service information
  • Support trade shows and conventions
  • Provide news (about products, services, company, industry)
  • Build company identity
  • Educate prospects and customers

What are you trying to accomplish? Once you decide, you’re ready to start putting your brochure together.

What Goes in a Brochure?

Following are some common subjects for three areas brochures cover most: products, services and corporate or organization capabilities.

  • Introduction
  • Products
  • Services
  • Features
  • Benefits
  • How It Works
  • Markets/Audiences
  • Applications
  • Specifications
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Company history
  • Call to action
  • Client list
  • Mission statement or business philosophy
  • Awards
  • Contact info

Keep It Simple

Although a brochure can do a lot, keep it simple. Zero in on your audience and purpose, and the rest will fall into place. Consider the format, page size and how the brochure will fold. Decide on visuals, fonts, colors, paper stock and other design characteristics.

As for copy, put a strong headline on the cover. Capture the right tone, and make sure copy has a logical flow. As a rule, keep sections short, incorporating plenty of subheads.

It’s always wise to include a call to action. What do you want people to do after they read the brochure? Finally, make sure you know how your brochure fits into your overall marketing program.

(c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

Neil Sagebiel is a veteran copywriter who has served clients such as Microsoft, The Seattle Times, Lucent Technologies, March of Dimes, Airborne Express and Unisys. To sign up for his FREE expert tips to help you write better and sell more, visit


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