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Does your sales literature need overhauling?

Sales brochures are valuable tools a in any successful marketing program-and foundries are no exception,

With this thought in mind, now might be a good time to take a critical look at your sales brochure to see if it falls in the useless category. If so, then it should be replaced as soon as possible. A good question to ask yourself is, "How does our brochure stack up against those of our main competitors?" Your brochure is a window into your foundry-its people, policies and abilities. It is a quick plant tour and an important sales tool to help reinforce key points made by your salespeople or sales agents.

Used effectively in direct mail, your sales literature can generate prospect interest and inquires. Frequently, your brochure will function as the foundry's only representative until your salesperson calls on the prospect. hidden buying influences that your salesperson may never encounter. Mailed to your customers, this literature reinforces their good impression of your foundry and helps do the overall selling job.

With the obvious importance of good sales literature, why then is some of it poorly prepared? The ad agency, printer or whoever handles the job is frequently unfamiliar with the unique requirements and functions of such literature in our business. So, they must rely almost entirely on guidance from the foundry as to content and emphasis. And that's where they go wrong.

Common Mistakes

Let's look at some of the common mistakes foundries make. First is the ego trip, a profusion of foundry process photos that, to purchasing people, all look the same, regardless of which foundry's brochure they happen to be looking at. Another is including the company history, a subject that may be of little interest to anyone outside the foundry. Next are all the glittering generalities about quality, dependability, delivery and service.

So, what goes into the making of a good brochure? It is not its length or size, its lavishness, or its clever copy and sensuous graphics. Rather, effective sales literature should tell the buyer or engineer quickly and clearly what he really wants to know about the foundry so that he can roughly classify it in comparison with others. Foremost, buyers want to find out if there is a potential fit between your foundry's capabilities and their casting requirements.

To determine this, the buyers or engineers will need to know what metals you pour and to what specs. They will need to know your normal casting size and quantity ranges. Quality control and SPC procedures are important, as well as a brief description of melting, core, molding and finishing processes, including an abbreviated facilities list. if you provide engineering assistance, machining or other services, emphasize this point.

What the buyer or engineer is really most interested in is what specific types of castings you are producing for which kind of customers or industries. if your business is making counterweights and the buyer needs transmission cases, you don't have a match. Potential customers want to know this up front so they don't waste their time or yours.

Use Photographs

In the final analysis, what you should be selling is your experience and ability. So, reflecting this should be the primary thrust of your literature. One of the best ways to tell the story is with lots of casting photos. Try to show some fully machined castings for variety and to subtly reflect a quality image. Group your photos by customer industry and caption them to show the application, size and weight.

When writing copy, be brief. Use good headlines and simple graphics for emphasis and to separate the brochure's main elements. Printing the booklet in more than two colors is unnecessary and only adds significantly to its cost, without any real benefit.

Make your brochure large enough to tell your story adequately. Some very effective four-and-six-page brochures do an excellent job. Conversely, some foundries have produced 30-50 page booklets that are just expensive presentations of seemingly endless trivia. As far as format is concerned, stick to the standard 8-1/ 2x 11 in. size, either vertical or horizontal. Other sizes get lost or tossed because they are hard to file and photocopy.

If you prepare the literature yourself, don't make the common mistake of letting only one person handle it all. Team thinking and involvement really pays off in such efforts. And don't be overly sensitive to the opinions of presidents or general managers. Unless they have strong backgrounds in marketing or advertising, their judgment should be just more input to the project. If an agency is preparing your literature, make sure the agency is results-oriented and not just trying to keep you happy.

Conduct an informal survey within your company to find out just what your salespeople, agents and others think of the value of your current sales literature. Their answers may surprise you.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Foundry Society, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Warden, T. Jerry
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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