Monday, November 16, 2009

Biggest Marketing Supply Chain Savings Go Unaddressed

Nearly two-thirds of senior marketers have never undertaken a comprehensive audit of the costs and processes that contribute to their marketing supply chain and most admit their resources and suppliers are poorly integrated across global networks, reports the Chief Marketing Office (CMO) Council.

The milestone “Define Where to Streamline” study ( provides a comprehensive assessment of how well marketers are managing, controlling and introducing sustainability practices across increasingly complex global supply chains. These include hundreds or thousands of printers, exhibit and merchandise suppliers, warehouse and fulfillment operations, communications agencies, media channels, independent contractors, as well as creative and digital service providers.

The online audit of more than 300 senior marketers conducted by the CMO Council found marketers are inadequately positioned to introduce new efficiencies and waste reduction programs into their marketing ecosystems.

While only 25.2 percent of respondents have undertaken a comprehensive audit and analysis of costs and process efficiencies in their supply chain, the study found that roughly the same number – 25.9 percent – track obsolescence on marketing and event management consumables. However, just over 50 percent of the marketers audited acknowledge that ROI could be the greatest reward from an optimized supply chain as a streamlined process will likely speed time-to-market and time-to-value from marketing spend. These numbers reflect a lack of visibility into marketing supply chain operations and poor tracking and accountability of marketing materials and merchandise inventory, which often involve millions of printed items, including product packaging, corporate brochures, sales literature, premiums and point-of-sale display units.

Interestingly, the CMO Council study suggests that a trend toward greater sustainability and carbon footprint reductions may lead many marketers onto the right path for gaining a deeper understanding of their supplier network and value chain. More than two-thirds of respondents – 63.6 percent – said they are targeting print production, warehousing and delivery of marketing consumables and 37.1 percent said they were targeting transportation and logistics with an eye toward realizing sustainability gain and carbon footprint improvements. Delving into these areas will enable marketers to exact cost-savings and efficiency improvements from many of the greatest areas of spend within their marketing supply chains.

Other key findings from the report include:

-- With 89 percent of companies indicating they are not generating real economies or efficiencies in their marketing supply chain process, marketers are further challenged as one third of respondents indicate they have no internal resource of expertise in supply chain management. In fact, 47.8 percent of marketers surveyed indicate that marketing supply chain management is an evolving functional area that needs more attention or a discipline growing in importance of value.

--30.4 percent of respondents said they weren’t fully realizing the value and potential of the Internet and instead are managing partners through traditional means while 30.1 percent clearly have adopted an online approach, saying they were seeing major improvements in workflow, collaboration, content access and digital asset management.

-- Marketers acknowledge that a streamlined supply chain can improve go-to-market strategy and speed time-to-value from marketing spend, and play a critical role in managing the potential variance in customer experience. The delivery of accurate and relevant content, the uniformity of communication and consistency of message, and the timely provisioning of up-to-date sales and marketing messages and materials are the top three critical values an optimized marketing supply chain to go-to-market strategy.

-- Creative, once an area often left in the hands of agencies or advertising, may come under greater scrutiny as a significant number of marketers – 40.5 percent – identified creative design and development as an area in the marketing supply chain with the greatest potential for process, productivity and performance improvements.

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