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6 Marketing Management Challenges in Manufacturing — and How to Overcome Them

Learn how manufacturing organizations can streamline marketing management, reduce costs, and increase brand visibility.

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.

Marketing Procurement: 5 Best Practices for 2020

Strategies for containing costs, minimizing risks, and getting better marketing alignment in 2020 and beyond

These days, procurement leaders responsible for sourcing marketing collateral are finding themselves needing to accomplish more with less. This is especially true in the manufacturing industry, where individuals or small teams often have to balance multiple roles and responsibilities within their organization.

Manufacturing organizations, with a network of local dealers, vendors, and sales representatives, need to stay competitive by designing and executing omnichannel marketing campaigns while managing the equipment, supplies, and logistics that give them life.

Cost containment, while still a central concern, is only one of several challenges facing procurement professionals today. Leaders now have to stretch themselves further to minimize a growing set of risks across the supply chain and align themselves more closely with corporate marketing strategies to keep budgets manageable and competitive edges sharp.

This never-ending juggling act is leading many to adopt better practices, revisit vendor relationships, and take advantage of new technologies to help them manage all the moving pieces needed to achieve growth today and tomorrow.

More and more, these enhancements aren't just beneficial, they're necessary. As many procurement and marketing professionals know firsthand, managing your own marketing execution and coordinating a pool of vendors and service providers, each with individual contracts, pricing, and procedures, has become frustratingly slow, time-consuming and highly complex.

Recent research only confirms this with hard numbers. The Deloitte Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey 2018 found that only 48 percent of procurement leaders in the manufacturing industry rated their 2018 performance better than the year before—the lowest across sectors, and below the overall average of 61 percent.

But the same research sheds light on where manufacturers see the solution: improving procurement operations. "Operational tools," in particular, was cited by procurement leaders in the manufacturing industry as the technology area with the most significant impact going forward.

To help you build a plan for print procurement improvement in 2020 and beyond, we've compiled a few best practices with insights into how to act on each of them.

1. Consolidate your marketing suppliers/vendors into a single point of contact.

Supplier/vendor consolidation is nothing new. But few procurement leaders, as busy as they are, realize that the entire marketing supply chain—from creating, managing, and printing, to warehousing, fulfilling orders—can now be simplified into a single partner and point of contact.

A single-source marketing supply chain vendor like OneTouchPoint can alleviate the endless list of management tasks and minimize the supply chain risks inherent with multiple vendors, providing just one point of contact that manages on and off-site printing, warehousing, fulfillment and shipping (and all the equipment and personnel that go along with them).

For procurement leaders, especially those wearing multiple hats within their organization, the benefits are four-fold: streamlined processes, domain expertise through on-site and technology-managed services, fewer supply chain risks, and valuable time and cost savings achieved by working directly with just one vendor (instead of juggling many).

Next Steps: Grab our End-to-End Service Guide and identify opportunities to consolidate your current vendor network. Talk to us to learn how much we can help you reduce your procurement and marketing workload so you can spend your time where it matters most.

2. Centralize your marketing assets and make your distributors the lead marketers.

Strong local marketing has become critical for manufacturers who distribute products in stores across the country. Ironically, however, research shows this is precisely where most manufacturing marketers struggle.

When dealers, vendors, and sales representatives are each customizing and ordering their own marketing assets, the task of ensuring consistent quality and adherence to your brand can be a full-time job on its own (let alone managing and fulfilling everyone's orders).

Today, 67 percent of top-performing companies have a strategy to centralize brand and marketing functions while empowering local offices and vendors to conduct their own marketing efforts. With a centralized system in place, manufacturers can set up a system to succeed precisely where their competitors stumble.

It's the kind of simple, elegant system most procurement and marketing folks dream of: The national marketing team drives the overall brand messaging, quality, and consistency, while vendors, dealers, distributors, and sales representatives can execute approved, on brand local marketing campaigns, turning potential buyers into loyal customers.

Storing assets in a central hub eliminates virtually all of the time wasted searching for the latest versions of marketing pieces or reinventing existing collateral. It also maximizes brand consistency and integrity while minimizing the marketing team's oversight over orders and fulfillment.

For example, OneTouchPoint helps procurement and marketing teams free their time by providing internal teams, dealers, and distributor networks access to marketing assets, including pre-approved templates (ads, flyers, social posts), promotional pieces, training material, and more. Approved users can access and order marketing pieces, as well as customize, personalize, and localize specific content that can be downloaded, purchased, or have pieces printed on demand. Larger orders can be fulfilled from our warehouse and shipped directly to the correct location.

Next Steps: Take stock of how much time is spent working on the work when creating and ordering marketing collateral across your organization. Grab our handy Tip Sheet to learn how, with such a system, you could make your dealers the marketers they ought to be while freeing yourself to invest your time where it's needed. Talk to us to learn how we can radically improve your marketing operations based on the network you need to support.


3. Switch to print-on-demand and eliminate overages.

Anyone who's managed print procurement knows overprinting is one of the most frustrating and wasteful components of marketing execution. If you're still being forced into overruns, it should be an immediate signal that improvement isn't only possible, but could save you a lot in wasted spend.

OneTouchPoint's print-on-demand services enable you to print just what you need (any size, any format, any quantity), right when you need it. Print-on-demand alone can reduce—and nearly eliminate—overages and stock obsolescence while saving costs on warehousing and bulk printing.

What's more, our on-site, real-time inventory management services ensure you never run out of crucial collateral, whether it's a brochure, banner, floor sticker, or any other printed material. With OneTouchPoint's 99.92 percent accuracy rate, your orders will get where they need to go—correctly and on time.

Next Steps: Calculate how much printing overages have cost you over a given period and determine what that amount could achieve when reinvested into elsewhere. Talk to us to learn more about how print-on-demand can enable you to eliminate printing overages and stock obsolescence while saving costs on bulk printing and warehousing.

4. Use paper brokerage to save time and material costs.

In 2019 and beyond, procurement leaders shouldn't be wasting valuable time negotiating with individual material vendors or shipping services. By engaging a paper brokerage service, you can immediately reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs and get the assurance you're receiving the very best deals on materials.

At OneTouchPoint, our nationwide printing and distributions centers save time and costs by allowing us to print and ship materials from whichever facility is closest to a destination. Deep postal service discounts save money without sacrificing quality or speed.

These strategies can help companies save 20 to 30 percent on communication costs, and we don't stop there. Our on-site services allow clients to shore up prices on equipment and maintenance, and HR operations and personnel management, as well. OneTouchPoint provides flexible pricing structures, no volume commitments, and for a single manufacturing client, we’ve helped them achieve over $3.5 million in cost savings.

Next Steps: Just like your overage costs, get a sense of how much could be saved by getting the best possible price on your materials. Take it a step further by estimating how much of your time you could get back from eliminating your search for material deals. Talk to us to learn more about how we can ensure, on top of our end-to-end marketing services; you're getting the very best material prices with each order.

5. Unlock new opportunities for cost-savings and through data.

Still today, printing quantity decisions are often just educated guesses, making it unclear which marketing campaigns are working and which aren't. As a result, procurement and marketing leaders find themselves spending more money than they need to, simply because their processes and results aren't as visible as they could be.

By merely adopting technology like OneTouchPoint's U.Connect platform, which captures and measures this data, manufacturers can unlock a wealth of quantitative insights and the ability to analyze supply chain operations with useful figures.

These analytics provide many companies their first firm grasp on inventory and mailings, along with insights into which marketing assets are being used (or not) and which assets and tactics are most effective for each product, dealer location, or department.

By enabling marketing teams to take a deep dive into what they have, what they need, what's being used and what's not by local dealers & networks, we can help them plan for future design and development, allocating resources for initiatives that work and pausing investments on the ones that don't drive results.

Next Steps: Note where greater visibility into your marketing supply chain and marketing execution could provide useful metrics for measuring success and optimizing accordingly. Talk to us to learn how U.Connect may provide the data you need to make your marketing dollars go much further.

Bring these best practices to life with OneTouchPoint.

OneTouchPoint is rooted in manufacturing. We are the print and marketing backbone for production processes in companies across the country, enabling them to aggregate, integrate, and manage the components of their marketing communications supply chain with one partner. We make it possible to create, manage, print, warehouse, fulfill and ship technical manuals, direct mail pieces, product samples, marketing promotions, custom kits, and more from a single vendor.

To learn more about whether OneTouchPoint is the right single-source marketing solution for your organization, grab our Manufacturing Services Data Sheet and contact us, or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.

Enhance Your Marketing Game Without Stretching Your Budget

The demands on marketers are higher than ever, especially to reduce costs and increase ROI. Learn how outsourcing print marketing execution can help.

The marketing world is changing rapidly, with marketing teams required to capture and keep potential buyers’ attention in an ever-more-crowded landscape. As a result, companies in every industry are looking for ways to step up their efforts and drive more results — without significantly increasing their spend. But nowhere is this more prevalent than in the manufacturing world, where furloughs and budget cuts are putting marketers under pressure to keep costs down and drive significant ROI from their marketing initiatives.

One of the most impactful ways manufacturers have found to raise the bar while lowering costs has been by contracting out their print marketing production and distribution efforts. When a company finds the right partner for the job, the impact can be enormous.

3 Ways Outsourcing Print Marketing Execution Keeps Budgets Under Control

In short, outsourcing print marketing execution empowers manufacturing companies to enhance brand consistency, launch campaigns more efficiently and reach more audiences — all while reducing marketing spend. What does that look like?

One-Stop Shopping

Most manufacturing marketing leads are juggling contracts, policies, procedures and timelines for multiple vendors in their marketing supply chain. The costs involved with all these vendors add up quickly, and that’s not even taking into account the opportunity cost of all the time your team spends managing logistics rather than focusing on the big picture.

But contracting out marketing supply chain needs to one partner provides a single point of contact for every puzzle piece the marketing lead was once managing alone. So not only are you streamlining processes and leveraging domain expertise through your single vendor’s services; you’re also saving time and controlling costs by working directly with just one vendor instead many.

These same manufacturing marketing leads who are managing the supply chain on their own are also spending time and money sourcing materials, maintaining equipment and managing logistics. But here again, that outsourced marketing execution partner can take a big load off by taking the reins on all on- and off-site printing and shipping — and all the equipment and personnel that go along with them.

With the right partner, these strategies can help companies save 20 to 30 percent on communication costs — not to mention the value of giving marketing leads back their time and energy for the strategic work that really moves the needle.

Augmented Teams

When you contract out marketing execution, the support you receive shouldn’t be limited to services and supplies — your marketing partner should be able to provide an outside team to come in and manage printing, fulfillment and distribution on your behalf.

From vendor-managed inventory to paper brokerage to print and mailroom management, outsourcing the team that makes it all happen will reduce overhead and human resources costs, further minimizing the back-office gymnastics required to execute on key print marketing campaigns and freeing up employees to focus on the high-level strategies and processes at the core of their jobs.

Download our infographic to learn more about making OneTouchPoint your new teammate.

Minimized Waste

One of the biggest opportunities for overspend in marketing execution is in overprinting, resulting in increased printing bills, wasted materials and higher warehousing costs.

But a savvy marketing execution partner can help minimize that waste — and the costs associated with it — through print-on-demand services, flexible run rates and real-time inventory management.

When you can print exactly what you need, right when you need it, and when you have a clear, up-to-date understanding of what’s in your warehouse, you can eliminate printing overages and stock obsolescence while saving costs on bulk printing and warehousing. And, equally important, you can ensure you’re never out of collateral when you need it.

Looking for more ways to reduce print marketing waste? Check out our recent blog post!

For manufacturing companies managing large print marketing operations — particularly when local vendors, distributors and sales reps are involved — outsourcing marketing supply chain management can have significant benefits for the organization. From the costs saved to the time employees get back to focus on strategies and activities that really drive customer relationships and sales, contracting with a trusted vendor to handle marketing execution has the potential to do great things for a manufacturing company’s bottom line.

To learn more about whether OneTouchPoint is the right single-source marketing solution for your organization, we invite you to contact us today or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.

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