Streamlining the Marketing Materials Supply Chain

Improving the productivity of the marketing materials supply chain may not be near the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2013. With most marketers facing strong pressures to drive increased revenues and maximize the economic return produced by every marketing activity, I can understand why they devote most of their attention to developing more effective marketing programs, creating compelling content, and generating more new sales, rather than to ‘mundane’ issues like the production and distribution of marketing consumables.

In reality, however, the marketing materials supply chain is a large, and largely untapped, source of cost savings and revenue-enhancing improvements. In most companies, the supply chain for marketing materials is fragmented and filled with manual, inefficient processes that result in excessive costs and a lack of both responsiveness and reliability. If not completely broken, many supply chains are dysfunctional and in serious need of improvement.

Research by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Forrester Consulting (a division of Forrester Research) reveals both the economic significance of the marketing materials supply chain and the opportunities for improvement.

  • A majority of companies spend 20% or more of their marketing budget on marketing consumables, and about a third of companies devote at least 30% of their marketing budget to such materials. (CMO Council)
  • Eighty percent of companies distribute marketing collateral documents and similar materials to salespeople and other sales channel partners, and a majority of companies distribute such materials on at least a weekly basis. Twenty-two percent of companies distribute such materials on at least a daily basis. (Forrester Research)
  • Only 25% of marketers have performed a comprehensive analysis of the costs and process efficiencies in their marketing materials supply chain, and only 11% have implemented new workflow systems to reduce costs and inefficiencies. (CMO Council)
  • Fifty-nine percent of salespeople and other sales channel partners still rely on e-mail to request marketing materials, and nearly half (47%) still rely on telephone requests. (CMO Council)
  • Nearly two out of three salespeople (65%) say they over order and stockpile marketing materials because it takes too long to receive ordered materials. (CMO Council)
  • Only 17% of companies are using online portals to support their marketing fulfillment process.(Forrester Consulting)

The good news is that enterprises no longer need to tolerate an ineffective and inefficient marketing materials supply chain. Marketing asset management technologies can enable companies to eliminate waste from the supply chain for marketing materials, while simultaneously improving responsiveness and reliability.

To determine how much your company would benefit from an improved marketing materials supply chain, you need to perform a comprehensive audit that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of your current supply chain. Such an analysis will also enable you to quantify the cost savings and other benefits that an optimized supply chain would provide.

(This is a guest post by G. David Dodd , a business and marketing strategist and marketing content developer who has been working with B2B companies for over twenty years. You can read more of David’s thinking at his B2B Marketing Directions blog.)

This post was previously published on the ADAM Software blog.

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Author:Jan Dejosse

CMO - ADAM Software

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