The marketing supply chain consists of the people, processes and technologies on which companies draw to source, manage and fulfill their marketing materials. Perez says it's important to take a supply-chain view of the function, with the goal of distributing marketing content to the marketplace more quickly and efficiently than the competition.
Top executives are just beginning to pay attention to this often-ignored area of business operations. They're under intense pressure to take cost out of their organizations, and become more operationally efficient. That second goal is especially important to the success of the company, says Perez. Great efficiency in basic functions allows marketing personnel to spend more time on lead generation.
One area of the marketing supply chain that offers big opportunities for improvement is obsolescent materials. The national average is around 20 percent, according to Perez. Companies end up throwing away a valuable investment, all because of poor demand planning downstream. Technology can help to reduce waste, allowing for a reduction in the amount of printed materials, in favor of making information available online.
It's never easy to assess the correct amount of materials needed. One way to streamline the process is to reduce the number of partners on whom a company relies to produce its marketing collateral. First, though, companies need to take a closer look at the economics of their marketing supply chains. A recent study by the CMO Council found that only 25 percent of respondents had undertaken a comprehensive survey of their efforts in this area. But those that did realized a 30-percent savings in cost.
The benefits are compelling, but many companies have yet to understand the value of asserting stronger control over their marketing supply chains. Up to now, says Perez, "very little attention has been given to indirect materials."
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