How Does Supply Chain Impact Marketing?

Content | PPC | Social | Strategy

The relationship between supply chain and marketing is not always obvious. On the surface, marketing and supply chain/operations play vastly different roles. However, the importance of the supply chain and marketing relationship is imperative, especially as the supply chain is in a period of disruption. It’s probably not the best idea to put your budget towards promoting a product that can’t be produced as quickly because critical parts to manufacture them are sitting on a ship. 

How does the supply chain impact marketing’s goals? What should we be focusing on if not driving revenue, one of marketing’s main functions? 

Relational vs Transactional Marketing

The majority of marketers allocate budget towards transactional marketing strategies that will result in low-effort, quick-wins. The advantages of focusing on the bottom of the funnel often put more relational marketing, which typically takes more time and effort, at the bottom of the list of priorities. 

This gets called into question, though, when products can’t be produced as quickly as we’d like. You don’t want to put thousands of advertising dollars towards something that is difficult to keep on your shelves, resulting in impatient and disappointed customers. The result can harm your brand’s reputation overall, increasing the need to focus more on relationship building. Meaning that marketing, even during a supply chain crisis, is still a must!

Maintain Your Brand and Values

Your brand and its values should be part of your competitive advantage. While your inventory and prices are fluctuating, your competitors are too. That’s a lot more challenging to control, but building your brand is something you can immediately focus your attention towards.

Make sure you are in touch with your audience and what they care about. Consider what it is they value in a partnership, supplier, etc. You might consider investing some time in developing audience personas and building questionnaires to help really understand what your customers care about. Then make sure you’re speaking to those things in your messaging and values.

Take note of their broader demographics, too. For example, you may find more of your customers are Gen Z or even Millennials, who are notably more attracted to brands that demonstrate cultural competency and commitment. This could mean getting more involved with your community, donating to causes your brand cares about or highlighting your company culture. 

Promote Thought-Leadership 

We all know content development is extremely important, and another brand-building activity, but when there are other focuses that involve selling products quickly, it tends to fall to the wayside. However, many marketers are placing less time on promoting products due to supply issues, which may leave more time to establish yourself as the expert, go-to resource in your line of business. 

Top Floor branded sales funnel

By learning your audience, you can start to understand what their needs are before they even make it into the buying funnel. What types of daily hangups might they experience as it relates to your product/service? How can you, as the expert in your field, help guide them and position yourself as the thought leader? How can you demonstrate that you predict their needs and pain points, and have resources available to them? 

A lot of this audience research can come from doing a brand discovery, but even more, can be learned from SEO tools, and looking at popular, top-of-funnel search queries that your customers may use doing their research. This will help kickstart creating content that users are actually searching for, and boost your organic traffic and rankings.

Build Your Recruitment Marketing

Another place to bring your attention is recruitment. Almost every industry is facing hiring challenges right now, so, assuming that’s you, recruitment marketing might be a better area to invest your marketing dollars. Keeping your brand values, culture, and thought leadership as a focal point not only builds your brand loyalty but also attracts talent, meaning that the above activities can help in both efforts. 

Once you have an established brand and content to fuel your social media page, make it a goal to keep yourself pretty active on your respective social channels. More and more potential hires are going to be checking your social profiles first to get a feel for who you are. Make yourself stand out from the rest by posting regularly and giving a taste of your brand’s values and personality. 

You may also have advertising dollars you’re unsure how to make use of since the supply chain is impacting product marketing. Test out the varying LinkedIn ad types designed for recruitment, for example, spotlight ads targeting audiences consisting of your ideal candidates’ qualities. 

Read More: B2B Advertising During a Supply Chain Crisis

In the End, Marketing Always has a Place

Despite the challenges the supply chain is facing right now, marketing still should have a place in your business. There’s only so much we can do to control supply, so making sure your brand survives this time without tarnishing its reputation and values should be a major priority. Supplement this by positioning yourself as an industry-leading expert, and there is no doubt prospects and candidates will take notice.

Learn more by checking out our on-demand webinar: Digital Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis

Want to talk more about the relationship between supply chain and marketing? We’d love to help you define your strategy as you navigate through these challenges. Let’s talk