When it comes to marketing and marketing supply chain management, manufacturing organizations face a uniquely complicated set of challenges. With networks of local dealers, distributors, vendors, and sales representatives scattered across the country, selling to local audiences, the logistics of brand management, inventory, budgeting, and more can quickly become unwieldy. Not to mention that, as in every industry, customer expectations are on the rise for multichannel brand interactions, and marketing leaders are under pressure to do more with less.
In this post, we break down six of the biggest marketing challenges manufacturing organizations are up against, and we show how a set of purpose-built solutions like OneTouchPoint’s can help overcome these challenges and drive brand growth.
Challenge 1: Inconsistent Branding Across the Organization
Research has attributed an average revenue increase of 33 percent to consistent brand presentation, and yet, less than 10 percent of organizations say their brand presentation is consistent.
This challenge is particularly acute in the manufacturing industry. With so many sales reps and/or dealer networks creating and executing marketing campaigns for their local audiences, it’s not easy to ensure brand consistency and integrity from channel to channel or region to region. And yet, brand integrity is a critical driver of success, as customers expect to see consistent messaging and design from the brands they purchase from.
One of the biggest obstacles to brand integrity is the sheer number of people who are creating digital and print marketing materials. National marketing leaders don’t have the bandwidth to review and approve materials from every rep across every region, but without that centralized oversight, local marketers are left to reinvent the wheel, potentially deviating from approved design and messaging strategies.
- Solution: Access to Centralized (and Approved) Marketing Materials
By storing preapproved marketing assets in one centralized, easy-to-access hub, manufacturing organizations can ensure sales reps, distributors, and dealer networks have access to the literature and sales items they need at the drop of a hat. Reps no longer need to create materials from scratch, and corporate marketing leaders no longer have to worry about making time to oversee content creation. OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform gives marketing and sales teams access to corporate approved branded assets, programs, and promotions to ensure brand consistency across the enterprise.
Challenge 2: Lack of (or Limited) Marketing Knowledge at the Local Level
For vendors, distributors, and sales reps, local marketing is a critical component of the job, but it’s just one component. These local reps are experts on their audiences and their product, but that expertise may not extend to designing, executing, and analyzing effective marketing campaigns, which means they’re heavily reliant on their organizations’ national marketing teams for strategic and tactical guidance and support.
And yet, just like those distributors and vendors, national marketers are balancing full plates as well. In fact, the CMO Council reports that 53 percent of national marketers lack the resources and bandwidth they need to handle local marketing on top of their global responsibilities.
So how can manufacturing organizations make the most of their limited resources?
- Solution: Turn Your Distributors into CMOs
Centralizing marketing materials into a pre-approved asset library is a powerful first step, allowing internal teams, dealers, and distributors to customize content when and where they need it, then download and publish to digital campaigns or order print collateral. OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform makes all of this a breeze, empowering local marketers to take ownership of every campaign.
What’s more, the U.Connect platform enables local reps to analyze campaign effectiveness, inventory, and budget all in real time, allowing for informed strategic decisions that drive successful marketing efforts — without draining resources from the national marketing team.
Challenge 3: Inefficient Expense Tracking
One area national teams need to maintain consistent oversight is in budget control. And yet, providing marketing funds (MDF), tracking down budget reports from every vendor and distributor, unifying them into comparable formats, and then analyzing and reconciling them is a full-time job in and of itself.
- Solution: Centralize Budget Control
What if those national leaders could set budgets and track allowances, chargebacks, and marketing funds for every local rep, all in one place? U.Connect provides national teams dollar-for-dollar expense tracking at campaign and local levels. That means every user — from the distribution network to the CMO — has constant access they need to maintain complete control over marketing spend.
Challenge 4: Inaccurate Inventory Management
One of the biggest inefficiencies in print marketing management is inaccurate inventory count. From POS brochures to retail signage to sample kits, it’s easy to lose track of what’s available. This can lead to overprinting, causing stacks of obsolete assets to gather dust, taking up expensive warehouse space. Or, it can lead to under-printing, assuming there’s plenty of key inventory only to discover it’s all used, leading to costly and embarrassing delays.
- Solution: Manage Inventory with Real-Time Tracking, Print-on-Demand, & Onsite Support
OneTouchPoint makes inventory management easy, minimizing waste and ensuring clients always have the inventory they need. U.Connect enables users to manage and track inventory in real-time with alerts that notify you when inventory levels are low. Additionally, our print on-demand capabilities reduce inventory overages and stock obsolescence, saving money on warehousing and print costs by cutting inventory by as much as half and limiting scrap to as little as 0.1 percent of production. And for a more hands-on approach, our onsite inventory management services augment existing staff, keeping inventories at optimal levels across your entire operation and letting our clients focus their resources on other things.
Challenge 5: Fulfillment Delays
Speaking of inventory management, getting those materials from point A to point B is a challenge for many manufacturing companies, who struggle to ensure quality printing and on-time delivery. It’s a tall order to ensure every distributor or sales rep is contracting with quality print and fulfillment teams — and to manage all of those contracts. But, as with so many aspects of marketing management, national marketing teams have neither the time nor resources to manage fulfillment for the entire distribution network.
- Solution: Team Up with a Trusted Fulfillment Partner with a National Footprint
The OneTouchPoint U.Connect platform provides all the order management and point-of-sale features local reps need to place orders. And with a national network of climate-controlled warehousing and fulfillment centers, we ensure all orders — including marketing materials, product samples, new store kits, and more — are properly packaged and shipped directly to dealers, locations, or end consumers, quickly and accurately. With a 99.92% fulfillment accuracy rate, both national marketers and local reps can rest assured that every order will arrive correct and on time.
Challenge 6: Limited Brand Visibility
No matter the industry, markets are oversaturated today, with consumers able to choose among several different options for any product or service they could possibly want to purchase. So how can manufacturing organizations ensure their brands and their marketing messages are rising above the competition?
- Solution: Embrace a Multichannel Approach to Local Marketing
The key to brand visibility is ensuring potential customers are encountering your messages wherever they are — online and off. These multichannel marketing campaigns are critical to building customer intimacy, tapping in to local communities, and so much more.
OneTouchPoint is a consolidated marketing services and execution partner that empowers our manufacturing clients to increase brand visibility through powerful multichannel marketing campaigns. We pride ourselves on our ability to help marketers get branded materials created, produced, and distributed to local stores and end consumers. From social media, email, and online advertising to traditional print marketing methods like direct mail and retail signage, we enable cohesive marketing campaigns that ensure potential customers are interacting with our clients’ brands across a variety of channels.
OneTouchPoint’s purpose-built solutions for manufacturers are built on 40 years of experience and knowledge acquired from serving large manufacturing clients. Our solution enables manufacturing companies to take advantage of the full suite of end-to-end support systems or select only the offerings that work best for their specific business needs.
Whatever approach a client takes, our goal is to increase brand effectiveness while streamlining the marketing supply chain to increase efficiencies and minimize waste. We’re a single-source supplier that handles the entire brand material and customer engagement lifecycle, and we look forward to talking about how we can support your organization.
Contact us to learn more, or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.