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3 Reasons to Match Marketing and Supply Chain Management

Binging the best (and worst) Valentine’s Day movies recently got us thinking about how unexpected pairings can deliver fantastic results, with a few wacky hijinks on the side. In business, there’s also a lot of potential for what we usually position on opposite ends of an organization for combinations that make everything a little sweeter.

One key combo is marketing and supply chain management. Each involves your business, promises, and customers, sitting on either side of the sale. But, if you start sending their data to each other, there’s magic that happens on each end as well as in the middle.

So, let’s look at a couple of ways that supply chain management is a surprisingly good partner for your marketing efforts and sales.

1. Making smarter ads and offers
The best marketing helps you sell what you need to — sometimes that’s hot new products and other times that’s the stuff sitting on shelves and eating into your revenue. Supply chain management (SCM) fits in by letting your marketers know the current state of inventory and predictions about what your suppliers can provide, helping you find the right balance of what to promote.

Advanced SCM tools can make your offer and website more dynamic thanks to the data they capture. Information on what types of orders can be filled quickly, where you have excess, or what when restocks are delayed and only have 100 left, as well as anything sitting on shelves too long.

Mixing inventory data with carrier information, knowledge of where products are located in your supply chain, and current order workload can help your marketing team understand what’s doable. Here, you get to make offers that you can fill, reducing the chance for upset customers, returned items, or stockouts that lead to refunds.

2. Adapting that slow-turning inventory
When products don’t move, they create compounding costs in terms of warehousing and management. The larger or more complex your supply chain, the more significant the impact on revenue and workflows. The same data from our first point can be used here again but in a different, and fruitful, way.

You can change your products and SKUs based on SCM data.

One core example is hitting. This is when you combine products to create new SKUs and move inventory. You or your logistics partner may package top performers with excess inventory, create subscription boxes, or make other combinations to entice customers.

SCM data can show you available inventory in a warehouse so that you know what is available for the new kit. After putting them together, your marketing can then decide how to promote these around sale prices, exclusive deals, limited time offers, or introductory packages. We’ve seen customers do exceptionally well with small-batch combinations that are sent out via email blast.

Linking your SCM tools with your website and marketing will allow you to say, “only 100 available!” and stop those promotions once you achieve 100 sales. Instead of just letting the page sit there, your ecommerce and marketing tools can then redirect to a new landing page, noting that someone missed the deal but providing another offer.

You get multiple messages out of supply chain information designed to sell your excess inventory.

3. Being a better partner
In today’s business environment, companies in a supply chain often have mutual goals outside of the traditional relationship.
Each wants to play their part, such as manufacturing quality goods, delivering them to stores, selling, or getting it to the end customer. However, these companies also want to see into the processes that they don’t control. How are goods manufactured? Are trucks leaving a lot of empty space? Do stores generate tons of garbage or use non-recyclable packaging? And so on.

You might see what we’re hinting at there. Green initiatives reach through the entire supply chain, and they’ve become significant marketing tools for every company involved. Knowing the whole carbon footprint related to an individual product already is a major focus for leading carriers and manufacturers who want additional B2B customers. As consumers, we’re spending more and more on sustainable products from new and established companies.

As the Harvard Business Review puts it, “Consumers are voting with their dollars — against unsustainable brands. The legacy companies that will thrive are those that accept this shift and are willing to pivot.”

And in the same light, people also more included to buy goods from a supply chain that they see as ethical. This is why you might be able to scan a QR code on a bag of coffee and see who grew the beans and if they were compensated adequately.

IBM is set to heavily market this ability in the coming months as a twofer: 1) the average customer sees an ethical supply chain and may even tip the farmer, and 2) IBM’s B2B customers see the marketing value in its blockchain efforts.
It’s a big push using the latest tech, relying heavily on the integration of SCM and marketing to be successful.

Get your data in order ASAP
The only reason supply chains can be a useful part of a digital marketing strategy is that current systems can deliver real-time or near-real-time data that are relevant to marketing. Everything relies on the steady stream of information coming from cloud systems and connected sensors.

If you want to leverage your supply chain successfully to optimize your revenue and ad spend, it starts with your data. Work within existing systems and their APIs to see what you can collect and share. Review marketing platforms to see how they can leverage this information, whether that’s dashboards or predictive marketing.

You might end up needing to pull supply chain data into a warehouse management system or more extensive ERP to generate reports, and then send those reports to marketing teams and software. Larger companies or those with strong IT teams may be able to get direct integrations to remove these steps.

However it moves for you, mapping the workflow and adjusting data or programs to keep information moving is always your first step. Once you’re there, there’s no telling what insight you may discover, or new revenue opportunities will open before you.


    Jake Rheude
    Vice President of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment
    Jake is currently the Vice President of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment. He is a highly self-motivated professional with a tenacious work ethic and an aptitude for identifying new opportunities and transforming them into proficient business operations. He is adept in the areas of strategic business development, specifically search engine optimization (SEO), internet marketing, brand positioning, targeting, and supply chain integration.

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