'Let me send you our brochure' is probably the most commonly used phrase in business. But all too often, it can spell the end of a customer enquiry because many brochures appear to be produced not to clarify and to excite but to confuse. So what goes wrong and how can it be put right? Too often, businesses fail to ask themselves critical questions like, 'Who will the brochure be sent to?' 'What do we want to achieve with it?' The truth is that a brochure has usually been produced for no other reason than that the competition has one.
However, with a little research, it often transpires that what the client wants is a mixture: part mail shot, part glossy corporate brochure and part product catalogue - a combination rarely found. Having said that, the budget is likely to be finite. There may not be enough money to meet all three marketing needs, so the first task is to plan the brochure, taking into account the most significant of these. The other requirements will have to be met in a different way. After all, introducing the company's product range to new customers by mail is a different task from selling a new season's collection to existing customers.
The second task is to get the content right. In 95 per cent of cases, a company will hire a designer to oversee the layout, so the final product looks stylish, interesting and professional; but they don't get a copywriter or someone with the right expertise to produce the text, or at least tidy it up - and this shows. A bigger failing is to produce a brochure that is not customer focused. Your brochure should cover areas of interest to the customer, concentrating on the benefits of buying from you.
Instead, thousands of brochures start with a history lesson, 'Founded in 1987, we have been selling our products .. I can assure you that customers are never going to say to themselves, 'They've been around for 20 years - I'll buy from them.' It's not how long you've been in business that counts, it's what you've done in that time. The important point to get across at the beginning is that you have a good track record. Once this has been established, the rest of the brochure should aim to convince customers that your products are the best on the market.
It is helpful with content to get inside the customer's head. If your audience is young and trendy, be creative and colourful. As always, create a list of the benefits that potential customers would gain from doing business with you, for example, product quality, breadth of range, expertise of staff and so on. But remember that it is not enough just to state these; in order to persuade, they need to be spelt out. One possibility is to quote recommendations from existing customers. This also makes the brochure personal to you, rather than it simply being a set of suppliers' photographs with your name on the front.
At the design stage, there are many production features that can distinguish your brochure from the run of the mill. You may think that things like cutouts or pop-ups will do this for you and thus make you stand out, or you may think they just look like designer whims that add cost. Go through all the options in detail. One of them might be that all-important magical ingredient.
13 What point does the writer make about brochures in the first paragraph?
A Customer expectations of them are too high.
B They ought to be more straightforward in design.
C Insufficient thought tends to go into producing them.
D Companies should ensure they use them more widely.
14 The writer's advice to companies in the second paragraph is to
A produce a brochure to advertise new product lines.
B use a brochure to extend the customer base.
C accept that a brochure cannot fulfil every objective.
D aim to get a bigger budget allocation for producing brochures.
15 In the third paragraph, which of the following does the writer say would improve the majority of brochures?
A better language and expression
B better overall appearance
C more up-to-date content
D more product information
16 In the introduction to a brochure, the writer advises companies to focus on
A their understanding of the business environment.
B the range of products they offer.
C their unique market position.
D the reputation they have built up.
17 When discussing brochure content in the fifth paragraph, the writer reminds companies to
A consider old customers as well as new ones.
B provide support for the claims they make.
C avoid using their own photographs.
D include details of quality certification.
18 What does 'run of the mill' in line 67 mean?
《The art of persuasion》，劝说的艺术。这里的劝说(persuasion)带点广告的意思，是指怎么样设计广告手册(brochure)才能吸引顾客，也就是劝顾客掏钱购买产品。
13题问第一段中作者对广告手册所做的观点是什么。答案是后面几句：businesses fail to ask themselves critical questions like….企业没有问自己一些关键性的问题。从这段话可以看出，作者认为企业在设计广告手册时的考虑是不周全的，没有进行深入思考。所以答案是C：设计他们时考虑得并不充分。A不对，没有提到客户的期望，只是说广告手册可能会把客户弄糊涂。B也不对，第一段并没有提到design的问题。D在原文中也没有提到。这题稍微需要理解和概括。
14题问作者在第二段中对公司的建议是什么。原文说的很明白：There may not be enough money to meet all three marketing needs, so the first task is to plan the brochure, taking into account the most significant of these.不可能满足所有的市场需要，所以优先考虑最关键的部分，其他的需要用另外的方式来满足。理解了内容不难选出答案是C：接受一个广告手册不可能满足所有目标的事实。
第三段紧接着第二段所说的首要任务(first task)，提出了次要任务(second task)：把广告手册的内容找准。在95%的情况下，公司会雇人好好设计广告手册，但是却不会找有相关技能的广告文字撰稿人制作内容，或者至少给收拾下。还有一个更大的失败之处在于制作出的广告手册不是以客户为中心的。广告手册应该涉及到客户感兴趣的领域，集中在从你那购买所能获得的好处上。
15题问作者在第三段说怎么样才可以改善大部分的广告手册。根据前面的内容概括，很显然答案在A和D之间。选A是根据题干中的the majority of brochures来的，原文中提到In 95 per cent of cases, a company will hire a designer to oversee the layout….. but they don't get a copywriter or someone with the right expertise to produce the text.在95%的情况下公司只注重设计而不注重表述内容，这里的95 per cent of cases可以对应the majority of brochures。get a copywriter or someone with the right expertise to produce the text，找一个有相关技能的广告文字撰稿人来制作文字，也就是A所说的更好的语言和表达。
16题问在广告手册的引进阶段，作者对公司们的建议是什么。原文很明确：The important point to get across at the beginning is that you have a good track record.。通过这一阶段最重要的是你必须有一个良好的业绩记录。也就是D选项所说的公司要注重他们所建立起来的名声。其他几个选项都没有提到。第五段说的是广告手册内容的一些注意事项。内容中要包含与你做生意时可能获得的一些好处。公司要对手册上的声明做详细说明。还可能引用现存客户的一些建议。这些可以使得广告手册显得很个人化，而不是堆砌供应商的照片然后把自己的名字印在最前面。
17题问第五段对广告手册内容的讨论中，作者的建议是什么。答案是原文的这么一句：it is not enough just to state these; in order to persuade, they need to be spelt out。仅仅只是声明是不够的，为了可以说服，他们需要被详细说明。也就是B选项所说的为所做的声明提供支持。A和D没有提到，C不对，不是说避免使用他们的照片，而是说不能仅仅只呈上他们的照片，还要有别的东西，比如客户的建议。
最后一段是说的设计阶段的注意事项，需要具备哪些特征才能让你的广告手册脱颖而出。18题要联系上下文进行理解，原文是说“there are many production features that can distinguish your brochure from the run of the mill.”有很多生产特征能让你的广告手册区别于其他的，后文有一个make you stand out，理解这里的含义，就是要和普通的一般的广告手册相区分。所以选择ordinary。
transpire：When it transpires that something is the case, people discover that it is the case. 为人所知
spell something out：to explain something clearly and in detail
e.g:The report spelled out in detail what the implications were for teacher training.
track record:all the past achievements, successes or failures of a person or an organization 业绩记录