Marketing Supply Chain, part 2
The Three Elements of an MSC
“The Marketing Supply Chain refers to the creation, production, and distribution
of the materials needed to support field marketing and sales.”
– Eric Stern, CEO of Almaden
An MSC has three main elements: a branded front end or ordering portal, professional project management teams, and a distribution center. These three elements must work together to ensure continuity and ease, and ideally – be the same vendor or partner. Timing and execution are everything; relying on multiple partners or suppliers can be exhausting to manage and cause a harried “not fun” experience.
An optimized supply chain will speed the time your marketing materials and promo items
to reach the field and increase return on spend.
Let’s talk about the Three Elements of a Marketing Supply Chain
1. A Branded Ordering Portal
An online ordering portal is where your marketing materials and branded promotional products are accessible to your users. The User Interface (UI) should be intuitive and logical, which enables all users to easily find what they are looking for, place orders, and receive confirmation. Your portal should have many instrumental features like: user profiles, budgeting, multiple divisions, inventory management tools, special shipping instructions, return labels, and more.
2. Professional Project Management
Project managers who handle the production of branded swag, printed material, signage, as well as the assembly of custom kits should have years of experience in these specific fields. This specific element of the supply chain contains the most production variables and details where things can go wrong.
It is critical for a marketing supply chain vendor to have professional project managers to insure your marketing projects are in knowing and capable hands. There is nothing more frustrating—or costly—than not having materials when you need them.
3. A Distribution Center
A Distribution Center is where marketing materials are stored and available to be shipped to users. It is also where reusable materials from field events are returned and checked for quality. Specifics to look for in a distribution center? Your partner must be able to process and ship orders same day, as well as have an accurate and robust inventory management system.
The management of your inventory is crucial. Remember, knowing what has been used and what has been sitting on a shelf for months is vital. This DATA helps marketers make better decisions and maximizes the ROI of their budget.
The IDEAL Marketing Supply Chain Provider
Finding a supplier who has mastered all three elements of the supply chain is not easy – so, you have to do your homework. Start with the questions to ask your own team that were discussed here in Part 1.
- Are your marketing materials available [now] to whoever needs them?
- Is your ideation/creative process effective and fulfilled as you like?
- Are your brand guidelines met consistently?
- Are materials easily accessible?
- Is it difficult to get products to the field on time?
- Are critical ship dates delayed or not met?
- Do you frequently have material stuck in customs or in a transit – somewhere?
- Do you have access to data regarding inventory and item usage?
- Are your team members frequently frustrated with your supply chain?
This is Part 2 of a 5-part series, Do You Need a Marketing Supply Chain?
Part 1 Marketing Objectives: Revenue and Growth
Part 2 The Three Elements of a Marketing Supply Chain
Part 3 The Value of a Good Marketing Supply Chain Partner
Part 4 Simplified Process
Full article, “What is a Marketing Supply Chain and Do You Need One?” by Eric Stern in Integrate Magazine
Headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, Almaden is the leader in providing Marketing Supply Chain Services to corporate marketing, sales, HR, recruiting, and event teams. Comprehensive branding capabilities include offset and digital printing; promotional products; large format printing and wall graphics; direct marketing analytics and mailing services; and technology-enabled distribution, kitting and fulfillment.
For additional information, please contact ALMADEN at email@example.com