Obliterating Obsolescence with Marketing Supply Chain Management

Stacks of outdated marketing materials stored out of sight in a warehouse somewhere. Brochures and product information with outdated information sent out to retailers, because the new versions haven’t been printed yet. Marketers who have no idea when to order new materials because no one keeps track of how the current supply is being used…

Sounds familiar? Then it’s worth taking a look at this whitepaper by the CMO Council, which tackles the sticky problem of obsolescence of marketing materials. Of the 125 marketers surveyed, nearly 70% admitted to ‘at some point, stashing under-utilized, unwanted, out of date, or over-ordered materials into storage facilities that can range from a closet to a warehouse’. Over-production and a wrong estimation of marketing material due to inefficient planning and managing of supplies costs time and money. Also, it and can negatively impact go-to-market effectiveness, as well as business value and competitive advantage. And oh yes, it’s bad for the environment, too.

But how to efficiently manage the Marketing Supply Chain, and minimize waste? The shelf live of marketing consumables and promotional materials is becoming ever shorter and more challenging to manage.

And it’s not just the marketing budget that is affected. Obsolescence is a symptom of an inefficiently functioning business. The budget that went into ordering and storing outdated materials could have been invested elsewhere in the business:

As rates of obsolescence rise, so rise costs including many unseen by marketing including warehousing, transportation and cash tied to under utilized materials. Obsolescence is also the very real manifestation of budget that should have been deployed in other programs. Rather than investing in materials that eventually fail to land in the hands of the intended audience – be it customer, prospect, investor or company employee – these lost dollars can be redeployed into rich, demand generation or retention strategies that move the business needle.

The solution? As always, it lies in Marketing Operations. Gaining strategic insight into the workings of the Marketing Supply Chain is crucial to running it efficiently and effectively. The researchers give four strategies to streamline the Supply Chain to start saving buget and time, and start gaining control over your Marketing Operations.

  • Digital printing and Printing On Demand (POD): Lower production quantities mean a lower total cost of ownership by reducing capital investment in inventory, storage charges, and waste. Moreover, POD can reduce costs by eliminating inventory, storage, and in-bound freight costs. POD also enables more current and customizable content through the application of Web-to-Print and variable data printing, allowing marketers to send personalized messages with up-to-date content, without fear of wasted material with out of date of of -strategy messages being stockpiled in inventory.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: tear down the communication silos and team up with finance, sales, procurement, warehousing and operations in order to better forecast, monitor and manage Marketing Supply Chain operations.
  • Go green: implement waste-managing strategies to prevent over-production. It’s not just paper that impacts the environment, it’s also the cost of shipping and production. Going green doesn’t just save the planet, it will also save considerable budget and waste.
  • Take a long, hard look at the Marketing Supply Chain: a comprehensive audit of the Marketing Supply Chain can bring new insights on where to streamline and how to make processes more efficient.  Experts who can apply leading practices and measures to help optimize operations have become essential to transformation.

For the full report, visit the CMO Council.

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