15 Essential Marketing Materials for SMBs & Enterprises (2021)

Posted on May 11, 2021 // All, Marketing and Sales

We’ve created a list of 15 essential marketing materials for small businesses (SMBs) as well as for high-growth startups, and even enterprises.

These materials can help you build and maintain a strong brand presence and differentiate yourself against your competitors.

Here are some of the materials you’ll find in this list:

  • T-shirts
  • Notebooks
  • Business cards

Plus, plenty more.

Let’s dive right into it.

15 Essential Marketing Materials for SMBs & Enterprises (2021)

What Are Marketing Materials?

Why Are Marketing Materials Important?

Essential #1: Business Cards

Essential #2: Presentation Folders

Essential #3: Stickers

Essential #4: Keychains

Essential #5: Brochures

Essential #6: Tote Bags

Essential #7: Letterheads

Essential #8: Mugs

Essential #9: Pens

Essential #10: Notebooks

Essential #11: Laptop Stands

Essential #12: Mouse Pads

Essential #13: Phone Cases

Essential #14: Business Cards Stand

Essential #15: T-shirts and Hoodies

What Are Marketing Materials?

Marketing materials are all sorts of items that feature a company’s visual branded elements and are used to communicate the company’s marketing message to customers, prospects, and audience. 

What are the two types of marketing materials?

After this brief but concise definition of marketing materials, let’s get into the two main types of marketing materials. 

Type #1: Physical marketing materials

First up, we have physical marketing materials

Image Source: Gemline

Physical marketing materials are any physical items, such as:

  • Mugs
  • Keychains
  • Apparel, like tees and customized hats
  • Phone cases
  • Vehicle branding

To mention a few. 

Additionally, they can also be printed materials such as brochures, business cards, presentation folders, stickers, store signage, and so on and so forth, that have been created using digital printing technologies. 

These are usually created by business owners in order to be shared at specific events, like trade shows, or reach out to the customer in their space and spread the word about the company.

A little further down, we’ll be sharing a list of the most prominent physical marketing materials that companies should definitely be creating and sharing with their potential customers. 

For now, let’s just say that physical marketing materials are easy to customize and companies can use them to expand their reach in terms of communicating with their customers and establishing a relationship with them. 

Type #2: Digital marketing materials

We’ve discussed what physical marketing materials are. 

How about saying a thing or two about the digital ones?

As you can probably imagine, digital marketing materials are all things digital. 

To be more specific, in this broad category of digital marketing elements we find a company’s website, website banners, social media ads, and pretty much anything else that a company’s audience can access from a screen. 

Even though digital elements are becoming more and more popular in the digital age we’re currently in, that in no case means that digital and physical stuff are competitive to each other or that an SMB or an enterprise should favor one over the other. 

On the contrary, it’s recommended that companies of all sizes should definitely try to provide their customers with both digital and printed marketing kits, thus increasing their chances of reaching a wider audience through different channels of communication. 

In other words, different audiences are likely to get approached differently. 

For example, some might be more likely to visit your website and check out your ads on social media, while others will be easier to reach through a newspaper, or even the TV. 

Without a doubt, the more demographics and groups you reach, the better!

Marketing materials vs office supplies: What’s the difference?

In one sentence, marketing materials are branded and promote the company’s culture and marketing message, whereas office supplies are useful, non-branded items that employees use on a daily basis.  

As we’ve already discussed, marketing materials, whether they’re printed like direct mail and full-color branded brochures, or digital like a website banner created by the company’s graphic designer, they’re all elements that are used to reach a company’s target audience. 

Additionally, they’re included in marketing campaigns and other marketing efforts that target potential clients. 

On the other hand, office supplies can be anything that facilitates employees that work from home or at the office, in terms of physical items like Post-It notes, a mouse, laptop, desk organizer, lamps, headphones, etc., that aren’t necessarily branded. 

After having discussed what marketing materials are, let’s have a look at why they’re important.

Why Are Marketing Materials Important?

You now know what marketing materials are, but you still need to know a bit more about the importance of marketing materials and why you should make them part of your marketing plan

Let’s get into it. 

Reason #1: Raise brand awareness

First things first, high quality printed and digital marketing elements are used to raise brand awareness

A marketing strategy that focuses on creating branded items and digital assets that’ll be shared with your target audience allows you to actively raise awareness of your brand, new products, special events, and generally become more popular. 

Because marketing materials are things that your audience can actually see, and possibly interact with, they can totally help in terms of attracting prospective customers as well as spreading awareness about the company profile. 

How about discussing another reason why marketing materials are important?

Reason #2: Promote company culture

Taking your marketing messaging to the next level is a task that can be partly achieved by creating great promotional products and sharing them with people around your business. 

What’s the need for taking your messaging to the next level?

That is, of course, to stand out from competitors, underline your company culture, and generally prove that your company deserves a place in the lives of your prospective customers, as well as your employees and collaborators. 

Thinking of marketing materials as a vessel of communication with your audience will allow you to see the variety of options you have in regards to promoting your company culture in print and in the digital realm, thus approaching a wider audience. 

Let’s get to the next reason why companies should use all things, from mailers to websites, to get closer to their customers. 

Reason #3: Establish a relationship with customers

Branded merchandise items and other branded stuff are great at helping you establish a relationship with your customers

In fact, according to the PPAI, which stands for Promotional Products Association International, 80% of people would have an immediate reaction when they get a promotional item from a company they don’t know of, which shows us that printed marketing materials can have an impact on people and the way they think about a company. 

Have a look to some more, interesting PPAI fast facts:

Image Source: Dropbox

Overall, digital and printed marketing materials are marketing tools that you can use to promote your business. 

As you can see, the data above also state that over 70% of consumers think that the right product can make a difference, which makes us think of just how powerful products can be, branded marketing materials included. 

That’s why we’d advise you to use the real estate of all materials you’ve got available in the most effective way. 

Moving on. 

Reason #4: Establish a relationship with employees 

Similar to establishing a strong long-term relationship with your customers, essential marketing materials are also very efficient when it comes to creating and establishing such a relationship with your employees and team members. 

Why is it important to establish a good relationship with your employees?

Because doing so means that you can increase employee retention and maintain a strong team that’ll last longer. 

Undoubtedly, the secret sauce behind successful local businesses, international enterprises, and pretty much any kind of business, is a well organized team of employees that are happy to work together as one. 

Additionally,  with referrals being one of the most efficient ways of hiring a new employee according to a report by CareerPlug, we understand that having team members that you can trust can lead to a business model that promotes sustainable growth for small business owners and bigger companies. 

Setting out and promoting a strong corporate culture and a corporate identity package  that’s been thought through can eventually make your company name one that employees would want to get closer to. 

We’re now done discussing just how effective marketing materials can be. 

Let’s get into more detail about some of the most prominent and eye-catching printed marketing ideas you should consider for your company.

Marketing Material #1: Business Cards

We’re kicking off our list of marketing must-haves with the ever-popular business card.

Have a look at this unique business card example from famous personality and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg:

Image Source: Designhill

Even if you’re not planning to include as strong a statement as Mark does on his Facebook business card, be sure that your business card can help you do all sorts of great things. 

First of all, such a card very efficiently works as a reminder of an interaction with someone during a party, an industry conference, or a trade show. 

It might even be during a fundraising event.

No matter where the in-person interaction happened, a business card helps make sure that the other person has got your contact information handy when they need it.

Moreover, a business card accompanies professionals all the way from meeting someone to sealing the deal with prospective customers by giving them detailed information, like your phone number and email address, that they’ll eventually need to contact you. 

What to pay attention to: Make sure that your business card design captures your role and business attitude successfully.  

Marketing Material #2: Presentation Folders

Right next to the business card as one of the most important marketing materials are presentation folders

The presentation folder shown below by German automotive company, Mercedes Benz is a nice, typical example: 

Image Source: Pinterest

Your presentation folder is basically a must-use item when it comes to pitching your ideas to prospects, or sharing valuable onboarding material for your new hires

A well designed presentation folder shows professionalism and also helps a company showcase and maintain its brand identity, thus enhancing its brand marketing efforts. 

What to pay attention to: Because presentation folders might get heavily used, it’s essential that you choose durable materials when creating them for your company. 

Marketing Material #3: Stickers

One of the most cost-effective marketing materials are stickers

What you see below is our very own swag box that includes, among other unique branded items, a multicolor this is where the magic happens sticker, that also features a unicorn, which is our company’s logo.

As you can see, a sticker doesn’t have to be an elaborate item full of visual elements. 

Quite the contrary. 

It can be as simple as well designed, nice, thoughtful, motivational quote and a company logo. 

What to pay attention to: When it comes to stickers, quality can make a huge difference. The fact that stickers are usually less expensive than other branded merchandise options doesn’t mean that they should be of low quality.

Marketing Material #4: Keychains

Keychains are yet another popular merch item that companies from small businesses to multinational enterprises are customizing and sharing with their clients, customers, and members of their audience.  

A simple keychain, like the one from Google shown above, is just a great example of how easily you can spread the word for your company with an item anyone can – and probably will – carry around with their keys. 

Additionally, such an item is actually a very smart merch choice given that a set of our house and/or car keys is something we always have with us.

So what’s better than creating marketing materials that anyone will definitely use?

You get my point! 

What to pay attention to: Avoid creating a chunky keychain that people will find hard to carry around and will probably never put on their key ring. Instead, go with a small-sized keychain that gets the message across without taking up too much space.

Marketing Material #5: Brochures

Brochures belong to a category of printed marketing materials that are mostly used for direct promotional purposes, such as promoting exclusive offers, new products, and new services you might be offering. 

Moreover, alongside rack cards, flyers, and door hangers, brochures offer just the right amount of space so you can share details about your company’s history and culture. 

Our take on the brochure can be seen right above where we share exactly how we feel about our clients and the service we provide them with. 

You are a unicorn! 

What to pay attention to: Go for double sided printing so you make the best use of all space available and don’t give away partially blank brochures. 

Marketing Material #6: Tote Bags

We couldn’t resist including the tote bag

Image Source: Pop Promos

A tote bag is such a handy, environmentally conscious decision when it comes to branded items. 

We particularly like it because, depending on the style and color, it can be worn all day long and act as all types of bags combined in one. 

Plus, it offers endless possibilities of customization and choices in terms of materials and colors.   

What to pay attention to: Even though a branded tote bag is obviously a promotional item, try to feature your branding elements in a subtle way so they don’t look overly promotional – this might make people reluctant in wearing the bag in public.    

Marketing Material #7: Letterheads

A letterhead is a full page design that usually features the company logo, company colors and other visual branding elements. 

It’s widely used for branded business correspondence purposes.

Here’s some letterheads templates to give you an idea of compelling letterheads: 

Image Source: Visme

Some might think that letterheads belong to the past, probably because of the fact that we all use our electronic devices to write and share our thoughts with others nowadays. 

However, on a professional level, letterheads are still very much relevant and they can, in fact, be considered a promotional tool with enormous potential. 

From notes to colleagues and reminders, to do lists, and grocery lists, letterheads can be used by anyone while also featuring your logo and other brand elements in a powerful way.

What to pay attention to: Make them stand out but avoid creating very loud letterheads that don’t have enough space to write on. 

Marketing Material #8: Mugs

Who doesn’t like mugs, right?

In fact, when it comes to promotional products, mugs are one of the first things that come to mind. 

Image Source: PCNA

It can be a glass, ceramic, or a retro metal mug like the one we’re showing you here. 

No matter the material it might be made of, it can be beautifully customized. 

The reason why we like it so much though, is not merely because of its ease in terms of customization. 

It’s mostly because a mug is such a personal item to many people and it feels great to know that someone is drinking their morning tea or coffee with one of your company mugs. 

What to pay attention to: Take extra care of quality and consider offering a mug that can be used for both hot and cold beverages.  

Marketing Material #9: Pens

We couldn’t have written a blog post about essential marketing materials without mentioning the pen

Image Source: PCNA

A pen, or a set of pens – that also feature a rubberized stylus for use on touch screens like the one shown right above – fits perfectly into professional and corporate context. 

Additionally, a high quality pen can be used to close deals and as an appreciation gift to employees and customers. 

Do we really need to say more?

What to pay attention to: There are lots of pens out there. Our advice would be to choose the ones that are durable and might even be refillable. This way, your logo will stay on a pen that can actually be used for a longer period of time. 

Marketing Material #10: Notebooks

Right next to a pen, we can almost always imagine a notebook

Notebooks of all kinds might be exactly what you need in order to promote your brand and make your swag stand out. 

Sometimes, corporate relationships might be cold and distant. 

However, emotional branding is undoubtedly the future and companies should do all they can to work towards that direction. 

On that note, we think a personalized notebook might be a great marketing material for starting a relationship with your audience, customers, and employees with an item they can use both for professional and personal purposes. 

What to pay attention to: Make sure your swag supplier presents you with all customization and personalization options so you can choose the branded notebook that will most fit your brand.

Marketing Material #11: Laptop Stands

Nowadays, more and more people use electronic devices for work purposes. 

That’s why tech accessories are getting so popular. 

An invisible laptop and tablet stand, like the one below, can generally make someone’s work routine easier and less tiring. 

Image Source: PCNA

These ergonomic, adjustable products should definitely be included in any professional swag bag; it can significantly improve work for those doing jobs that require heavy use of portable electronic devices. 

What to pay attention to: Different types of devices might require different types of laptop and tablet stands depending on their size and weight. Customizing different types of stands will make it more likely that your marketing materials will be of use to a wider audience. 

Marketing Material #12: Mouse Pads

Moving towards the end of our marketing materials post, we also want to show you the mouse pad.

Image Source: PCNA

Although a mouse pad can be considered quite mundane and old school, or even unnecessary, we think that no one could say no to a wireless charging mouse pad that takes branded tech gadgets to a whole new level.  

What to pay attention to: Steer clear of old-looking mouse pads that don’t have extra capabilities; aim to invest in pads that can actually help professionals save deck space, for example by being able to wirelessly charge their phones on it. 

Marketing Material #13: Phone Cases

Phone cases are lightweight, easy to customize, and even easier to use. 

Image Source: Amazon

They are also extremely useful as they provide mobile device protection. 

More specifically, good phone cases cover a phone’s edges and corners, and generally protects them from minor damage. 

Creating a trendy, branded phone case will help you hit the mark and offer your audience an item they’ll have with them for years.  

What to pay attention to: Create customized phone cases with scratch resistant images that last longer.

Marketing Material #14: Business Cards Stand

Instead of storing your business cards in your briefcase or drawer of your desk, we think a business cards stand might be a much more practical and better-looking option. 

Image Source: Etsy

Instead of spending time trying to fish out a single business card when someone leaves your office, you could have a beautiful, wooden, plastic, or any other material stand to display your business cards and prompt anyone in the office to take one for themselves. 

What to pay attention to: Invest in s quality and good looking business cards stand; this will make it more likely that people around will not only notice it but will also want to take one of your business cards home.  

Marketing Material #15: T-shirts and Hoodies

A tee, hooded sweatshirt, jacket, or any other type of apparel you can think of, is the final must-have marketing material we want to share with you. 

Have a look at this cool podcast swag from the Call Her Daddy podcast:

Find a piece of clothing that combines comfort and style and customize it so it features something that will successfully speak for your brand and aesthetics.

What’s great about promotional tees and hoodies is that you can totally let your imagination and creativity go wild. 

This way, you’ll create truly unique pieces that anyone would love to wear.

What to pay attention to: Go for environmentally friendly materials, like recycled polyester and organic cotton. 

Now Over to You

This was a list of the 15 essential marketing materials for 2021.

When you’re in the process of creating your marketing materials, make sure to maintain the same brand identity across all your promotional materials.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the products listed above, don’t hesitate to contact us.

We can help you pick the best, unique materials for your business.

Just leave us a message in the following form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading!

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