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I once sat in on a company's internal sales seminar and listened as the head of marketing announced, "It's my belief that most people don't read sales and marketing literature."

The audience of sales reps responded with almost unanimous claps and cheers.

As a freelance writer and marketing professional, I still find both the comment and the applause rather unsettling. The truth is, I don't read the majority of direct mail postcards, emails and sales letters that I receive, either.

But, occasionally, an exceptional piece filled with truly thought-provoking information filters its way to the forefront of my attention. I become absorbed in the sender's message, because it's authentic and clearly addresses a desire or need I actually have, or generates a new one!

So, a more accurate statement by the marketing executive might have been, "People don't read most sales and marketing literature."

And if so, companies are spending a lot of money on marketing materials that are delivering very little return on their investment.

The good news is that despite "information overload," buyers still need information to help them make the right choices. By incorporating some of the tips below, you and your marketing staff can produce pieces that will stand out from your competition's—and guide the buyer to the close of the sale.

Do you really know your prospect?

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Stephanie Janard is a freelance B2B copywriter, with a focus on technology products and services. Visit her at or reach her via