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 Brochures - 14 Serious Mistakes

By David Kan, CEO of, October 2008

"...If you have a marketing tool to use, you must ultimately exploit its profit..."

A well- planed and carefully-designed brochure will indeed increase the services business; especially it is the business of tourism. But many tourism – marketers don’t make effective use of their brochure and leave out important elements. That is a cost, a real damage for your business.

If you have a marketing tool to use, you must ultimately exploit its profit; if you can not take advantage of the promotional tool, the money and time of publishing the tool is one of the biggest cost. The second cost is the lost prospects caught by your competitors who use this same tool at its most power. And the third created by the weakness of your integrated marketing plan – you do not know how to use one among many of your marketing tools effectively, how can you use the rest to get the most benefit of your marketing mix.

Mistake 1: Brochure is created as a sole fighter in the battle field of marketing. It is use lonely, separately with no support from other tool of marketing. There is no marketing plan as a base for your brochure. We create the brochure because the other has it, even a lot of it. And second reason is if we do business without having a brochure, it seems not to be a business.

* In fact: Any advertising, including brochure, should be a part of the total marketing plan for a business. If your marketing strategy determines that tourism brochure are an effective method for reaching your target audience, then carefully design the best brochure possible.
Mistake 2: The most expensive misconception is that brochure sell- that a prospect will read the entire of the brochure with glowing adjectives, and sign a contract as a result of it.
*In fact: a Brochure, in this context, is a pamphlet or booklet that describes an organization and its function, or a hotel with its services… it maybe used to explain all or a segment of an organization or a services supplier.

For example: we can design a brochure about our travel company, includes company’s mission, portfolio and all kinds of services …we supply.

We can also design a brochure about one of its favorite services, such as a special tour-to promote it only!

A good brochure should finish its duty as a good overview of an origination, a destination, a hotel or travel company, inspires the reader to the next step if he (she) is interested in the supplier’s services.

If a brochure catch the eyes of a random visitor who has no exact determination of buying or using, get him reading and put a good impression on the services supplier’s image, often is the feeling about a professional, it can be perceived as a good brochure, although the reader do not take the next step then- just because he has no demand at that time.

That is the situation when a brochure does its responsibility of branding in the mind of a future client. It is a good job for a normal brochure.

Mistake 3: Another familiar trap in the mind of a brochure publisher is the concept that people read brochure thoroughly and carefully.
*In fact: A brochure, no matter how attractive or thorough, is usually simply glanced at. It maybe read in conjunction with other materials, to get an overall impression of a company. Bit it rarely devoured like a novel.

Mistake 4: The brochure doesn’t contain all the elements of a competent marketing message.

*In fact: Bit and pieces of information aren’t enough. Your brochure should take your prospects through your message from the beginning to the end. It should provide all the facts and persuasion necessary to get your prospects to take whatever action you want him to take.
Mistake 5: The brochure doesn’t contain a detailed list of services you offer.
*In fact: A prospect often looks at your services list tourism sees if you provide what they need. It they don’t see what they want, they may assume you don’t provide that services and call another one. Make sure you list all the services your visitor looks for.
Mistake 6: The brochure doesn’t explain how you differ from other competitors. There is no advantage of unique selling position for you. You look like the rest, and the rest is same you.
*In fact: If your prospects don’t know your competitive advantages, they often don’t have a clear reason to use or buy your services than another supplier’s.
A competitive advantage, in nature, is your unique selling position which is the foundation of your marketing strategy. All the marketing tools are used interactively in a period along a strategic plan of marketing your services. This marketing plan originates from many factors, such as the holidays season, the target visitors, the marketing budget, the stander of our services, the market trend, the competitors’ marketing strategy…but the most important is your target group.

Therefore, if you can figure out exactly what your target group of a marketing plan is, focus tourism attract them by a target brochure, you will know hoe to create the competitive advantages for your brochure marketing campaign.) 

Mistake 7: The brochures too often focus on the company itself. They describe, in great detail, the company’s commitment to excellence, how process-active the company is, how many awards the company’s product or services have won and how innovative they are.
*In fact: Your brochure certainly should give the prospects reliance about its standard of services, but not too much. The most expectable thing in a brochure which all of your prospects want is what in it for them. They care about your company, but they care most about their benefit from your services.

So, find out what is the benefits your services can bring to the clients, and describes them in a friendly, truthful and attractive manner.
Here are some basic benefits in tourism industry:

* Exceptional services
* Safety
* Comfort and peace
* Be guided
* Friendly, helpful, courteous staff
* Delicious food

Each target group has its own demand, so you should their need in order to create different brochure to transfer suitable benefit to them.

Mistake 8: The brochure doesn’t contain your guarantee or promise.
* In fact: The deeper the commitment you express, the more prospects appreciate your desire to serve them. A written personal promise or guarantee makes a statement that few of your competitors will match. Prospects perceive this to be a significant competitive advantage.
Mistake 9: The brochure doesn’t contain client comments. 
* In fact: Testimonials can be the most persuasive part of your brochure. If you have a thank you letter from a satisfied client, ask their permission to use those commitments in your brochure.
Mistake 10: The brochure doesn’t offer educational information and advice.
* In fact: If you want your prospects to keep your brochure, make sure it contains tips and advices. If the brochure simply touch your services, your prospects may see its as an advertising piece and leave it. But prospects often feel compelled to keep your brochure when it contains information they value.

Here are some examples:

* Safety precaution and procedures
* Water-is it safe?
* Medical emergency/ 1st aid resource
* Group discount
* Country transportation and equipment

Try to give out some good advice for the visitors; they will appreciate your care. 

Mistake 11: The brochure doesn’t invite call or contact from prospects.
* In fact: Giving information by itself isn’t enough. You must create a reason for your prospects to contact you. Interaction is the critical marketing step most brochure designers overlook. Your brochure must result in your prospects taking whatever action you want him to take.
Mistake 12: The brochures collect dust in your stock room.
* In fact: Marketers don’t have an organized plan to distribute their brochures. What’s a waste! If you hope your brochure will attract new clients, you must get them into the hands of your target audience and referral sources.
Mistake 13: Too often, the graphic designer is called in before the writer, and before the brochure ‘s marketing plan is defined.
* In fact: This wrong chronological step subordinates the message to the design, almost invariably resulting in a visually attractive publication that diminishes or fail to serve the communications or marketing objective.

The format is dictated not by arbitrary choice, but by the role the brochure is to play in the marketing plans. Be sure that the designer understands that the message is in the test, not the design. Let the test do it work.

Mistake 14: Expect the brochure to present an image – if by image you mean a perception of yourselves that’s other than reality.

* In fact: If you don’t like the way your destination, your company or services is perceived by the market, don’t try to change the perception by manipulating symbols-it won’t work. Change yourself firstly, and write the brochure accordingly… not the other way around.

Ok, now YOU already had a common perspective of how a successful tourism brochure is, I hope you can improve your brochure to the best. 

David Kan is the CEO of, the Tourism and Hospitality Management Resources. He has joined the Tourism and Hospitality Industry for over 15 years and now he is developing and sharing management knowledge. He can be reached at:


David Kan

Also See: Creating Rack Cards and Brochures / Kirby D Payne


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