Recommendations for Creating a “Solutions Brochure” for BtoB marketing in Japan

Recommendations for Creating a “Solutions Brochure” for BtoB marketing in Japan

In this article, we will discuss “tips for creating effective brochures for marketing in Japan” that are effective especially in BtoB business negotiations in Japan, from the perspective of a professional who has been involved in the production of brochures for many years.

After the corporate website and company brochure, the next step is naturally to develop “product and service introduction materials”. The “overview introduction materials” used during the initial visit are sometimes called “door openers/doorknockers (tools),” but in Japan, they are overwhelmingly used for the first time. (In Japan, it is overwhelmingly a neatly printed pamphlet.)

Create a “Solutions Brochure” instead of a “Product Brochure”

There are many theories about the difference between a “catalog” and a “brochure”.

  • A “catalog” serves as a “catalog of products”, while a brochure is an introductory document.
  • A “product brochure” is a typical hardware product brochure, with a series of pictures and a list of features.
  • A “solutions brochure,” is a “BtoB (business-to-business) brochure for sales promotion purposes used in BtoB negotiations. A catalog brochure, on the other hand, is a brochure that presents “specialized products and services (in industry or technology)” from the perspective of the customers who purchase them.

As we have explained many times, in the Japanese BtoB market, customers no longer make a decision to introduce a product based on functionality or price alone.

Unless the product has a very specific standard or performance and is unique in comparison to the competition. However, there are usually other companies offering similar functions, and possibly cheaper products and services.

To have them interested in your offer, during the business meeting, you need to be able to make customers say

  • “This seems like it could solve our company’s problems.”
  • “This company seems to be the best choice for us.”

This is a very important point. Yet, the introduction of your current products and services should not be a “this can do that” or “that can do this” type of presentation.

In the worst case, it may be just a list of product lineups.

Instead of explaining the functions of the product or service, the sales staff needs to explain the issues the customer is facing, and then get the customer’s agreement and sympathy.

  • If you do not start with an explanation of the product or service after the customer has expressed sympathy and agreement, your sales staff will have a difficult time in negotiations in Japan.
  • It is also necessary to determine to what extent the need for the product or service and the client company’s issues have become apparent and recognized.
  • If “everyone knows about it,” then unnecessary preliminaries are a waste of space.
  • If not, you need to explain the first part of the business meeting well to some extent, otherwise, the meeting will be lost at the entrance. I think this is a common perception around the world, regardless of whether it is in Japan or not.

How to identify “solutions” for your own commercial products in Japan

First of all, we need to ask ourselves the following questions.

Taking localization in Japan as an example, what challenges do our customers face and why are they choosing our products and services?

The first step is to carefully assess what kind of issues the client company is facing and why they are choosing your products and services. Be as specific as possible regarding the industry, type of business, size, and the age range of the people in charge of selection and decision-making on the client’s side (this is the “persona”). Once this is known, it becomes clear what issues will be raised and what kind of explanations will “stick”.

I have been working from the standpoint of a creator for many years, and I have realized how many companies are unclear in the identification of their products and services. It is not enough to say, “Just something so that everyone can understand”.

Who uses this brochure?” is also important

Do not just dismiss it as “that’s just sales”, of course.

Even within your own company, there is a wide range of salespeople, from seasoned veterans to newcomers, with varying levels of sales skills. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the description should be easy to explain and understand, no matter who is using it.

In BtoB, indirect sales through agents are very common.

Agents carry a huge volume of products, including those of other companies.

Therefore, they give priority to introducing products and services that are “easy to explain” and “sell well” to customers.

It is easy to say, “If there are too many words, they won’t read it, so I’ll try to keep the number of words as small as possible.” However, in the case of BtoB products and services, especially in the Japanese market, that are specialized or highly functional, if there is no right explanation to some right extent, it will be difficult for anyone to understand and tend to lose customers’ interests.

As described above, when creating product and service introduction materials, it is important to

  1. Clearly imagine the client company, and describe the issues and solutions (solutions) for the client company so that suit the Japanese market.
  2. Consider not only the customer (the customer who will purchase the product) but also the people who will use the product and the situations in which they will use it.

This is very necessary.

To this end, before suddenly starting to create explanatory text and diagrams, it is necessary to gain a firm grasp of what is happening in the Japanese sales field, assess what is actually happening, and then decide

  1. In which order
  2. In what order and in what volume
  3. In what order and in what volume
  4. The trick to creating a product or service solutions brochure is to start with the “structure” of what to explain, in what order, and in what volume

Although the budget is naturally limited especially under a process of localization to foreign countries, do not decide on the number of pages, such as 2 pages or 4 pages, before you have properly considered these issues. The number of pages should be determined from the viewpoints of both the recipient (the customer) and the user (the company’s or agency’s sales staff). Remember that no matter how inexpensive the product is, it will be meaningless unless it can be communicated clearly and sold.

Based on the above, the most important thing is to clarify your company’s features and strengths, organize them into easily communicated information, and then consider how to approach your target companies.

In this issue, we explained the difference between a “product catalog” and a “solutions brochure for a Japanese market.”

WONDERHOODS offers high qualified BtoB content marketing services including production and localization services in Tokyo and Hokkaido. If you have any questions or inquiries, please feel free to reach us.