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The Importance of Managing the Marketing Supply Chain

September 25, 2018 • digitalmedia • Marketing Supply ChainComments Off on The Importance of Managing the Marketing Supply Chain

What would you say the success of your marketing team depends on most? Does it boil down to hiring? Corporate culture and vision? The size and management of your budget? Sticking to goals? Or keeping up with the latest trends?

 

The answer is, of course, all of these. However, there is still a missing piece to marketing success, and it might surprise you.

Marketing Supply chain

Marketing supply chain management is crucial for the flourishing of a company’s marketing efforts. Unfortunately, it is an area of business that’s easily underestimated. How, after all, could a supply chain influence a solid campaign?

Let’s break this down to understand better how your marketing supply chain affects your campaigns, advertising, and other marketing efforts, and what it looks like when they’re aligned.

Keeping the “highways” clear

A marketer’s job is to point out roadside attractions, so to speak, and hope that “drivers” (prospects and customers) turn off to try the new option you offer. However, marketing is a lot harder around operational log jams and accidents. This is all too common in busy, success-driven marketing departments.

Needing to keep up with trends, stay flexible, act quickly, and stay inventive, the undergirding flow of vendors, designers, consultants, printers, and other suppliers can become overly-complex, and the focus gets muddled. You add a component here and one there, and before you know it you are losing consistency, increasing waste, obscuring workflow, and making mistakes.

When operations become too complicated, you’re channeling the chocolate factory scene from I Love Lucy. Jams and accidents eat away at focus and budgets when supply chains aren’t properly groomed. Frenetic equals wasteful.

Protecting internal integrity

Usually, marketing is a forward-leaning enterprise. You build precedent for customer expectations, and then a campaign based on the expectations you create. Sometimes, however, marketing is “Clean-up on aisle five.” In this case, you have to work doubly hard, expending more energy and resources marketing against negative, preconceived notions as a result of your own company’s mistakes and mishaps.

Could it ever be your fault?

Remember: all costly business slip-ups begin internally. The word organization is related to the word organism because both refer to a body of closely interconnected systems. Disorganization in one area causes stress and dysfunction in another.

No creative team is so creative, so amazing, so out-of-the-box, that it is not accountable to the most minute organizational requirements of other departments. Since your artists and inventors are no exception to the rules of a healthy, functioning system, make sure your marketing supply chain is as simplified and efficient as it can be. This is one of the best things you can do for the overall success of your organization.

Fulfilling promises

Earlier we said that all major business mistakes begin internally. Another way to say it is this: all major PR problems begin internally. Insufficient product, unattractive company culture, damaged reputation, and customer service issues all begin with trouble on the inside.

If failing to maintain a smooth marketing supply chain affects you internally, it affects your company externally as well. This common oversight can directly affect your reputation through the strain it places on accounting, inventory, production, fulfillment, and other departments which, in turn, directly affect customer satisfaction.

As a marketer, it is your priority to promote as well as protect your brand. The more you can help your company to fulfill the promises your marketing campaigns make, the less work you have to do defending those promises. You spend your energy, time, and budget on growth and invention, rather than damage control. You are fulfilling your commitment to your entire team, and fulfilling—not just making—promises to the customer.

Collaboration

Fulfilling promises requires collaboration between all departments. This is where your entire company, not only your department, must step back and get creative in order to provide mutual support, especially as your organization grows.

If you are a marketing director, think about how other departments could benefit, not only by keeping your own house in order, but through deeper, more integrated sharing of information, technology, and resources.

One excellent solution is to hire a strategic marketing partner who shares this comprehensive vision and can help you implement it. Another option is to create a sales and operations planning team that dips into each department’s resources and data to coordinate across the board. It is never too early in the life of a company to begin thinking and planning on this level.

Staying in the black

When marketing supply chains are part of a strategic, collaborative, and streamlined process, the benefits are big-picture as well as everyday practical. As you grow, you avoid:

 

  • Losing track of inventory
  • Repeating efforts when staff turn over
  • Overpaying for individual services (instead of packages)
  • Over-ordering
  • Overstaffing
  • Under-planning

 

Sales and operations planning teams provide greater and budget-saving insights. They do this by coordinating:

 

  • Product supply and demand
  • Promotional strengths and weaknesses
  • Inventory management
  • Budget planning
  • Sales funnel oversight
  • Product lifecycle

 

A digital supply chain, provided by a marketing partner, can take this to the next level. It provides user-friendly, high-tech tools to support and enable these efforts and keep information accessible to everyone involved. The same marketing partner can also supply and organize useful analytics to see what’s working in your new management system, detect flaws, and direct future efforts.

If anyone knows how to pitch a good investment, it’s a marketing team. An extra expenditure can provide massive payout in the long run by creating a better structure for success. At times, marketers simply need to sell a good investment to themselves.

For a head start in marketing supply chain management, contact us at Fontis Solutions. We’ll work with you to gain a thorough overview of your needs and help you unlock your vision.

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