How to Create Winning Collateral Materials for Membership


This summer, I had the pleasure to speak with a great organization representing a dynamic industry. We discussed using collateral materials for membership, and I made the off-hand comment (which I do at times) that these were a waste of time. Allow me to backtrack and clarify that statement.

To be clear, I believe collateral materials for membership recruitment can be helpful. In fact, we find these to be beneficial to the sales work we conduct. However, we see that its very rare if ever that a prospect says, “Hey, send me your membership information,” and then they sign up off the bat. But, collateral information can be helpful in several ways.

For example, with trade association memberships, a salesperson can field multiple conversations with various people within a single company, so it’s essential to have concise collateral information to share – helping to avoid 25 conversations with 25 different people at the company. This information can help scale your reach to within these companies.

Our team recently discussed criteria for the very best collateral information:

First, ensure the materials can be customized. About 80% of the information can be boilerplate. But take advantage of the opportunity to tailor 20% of the content – based on the company demographics – to what those folks might be most interested. Yes, use the 80 – 20 rule – make 80% standardized and 20% unique and customized to the audience.

Second, develop comprehensive materials. One of our clients created a piece of collateral information which was very thorough. While many prospects are interested in some of the more visible parts of association membership, many are pleasantly surprised to learn about aspects of the association they are unfamiliar. Bottom line – create a comprehensive piece featuring options for customization, which touch both bases.

Third, in today’s technological age, ensure the collateral materials are created for digital distribution. Don’t spend a lot of money printing out that kind of information.  This digital approach also allows easier customization.

Collateral information can serve as excellent communication tools with your prospects – but, create materials that will help move the ball down the field.  Strategically customize the information to your audience, craft your message to be comprehensive, so prospects are introduced to new aspects of your organization, and absolutely ensure your materials are digital. Go get ‘em.