“One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value.”
When it comes to a business reaching its target audience, having a sound, effective, and efficient marketing strategy is crucial. Even if a business has the best product or service, creating sales and driving front-end revenue can be minimal without an effective marketing campaign. A business must create its own unique brand, and that brand identification must communicate the business identity, perceived customer value, and provide a solution to a “problem” that the consumer is having. While some large businesses seemingly have unlimited funds to spend on marketing, that is not the case for many mid-size and small businesses. Also, no matter what the size of the business, attention must always be paid to expenses and the bottom line. We are going to examine how applying the proper amount of attention to the management of marketing inventories can positively impact the net revenue of businesses, regardless of their size.
The first way that a company can increase their bottom line is to be cognizant of the inventories that they maintain when it comes to their physical marketing materials. These materials include business cards, flyers, banners, and various types of signage. In the modern age of business, digital marketing is king. However, marketing materials like those mentioned previously will always have their place in business and attracting new customers. People love buying from people, and the way that any business is going to be successful is to effectively network and connect with its potential customers face-to-face. This is done in a forward-facing manner by handing out business cards at a local networking event or business meeting, strategically placing stake signs in heavily trafficked areas, and proudly displaying banners that promote a “grand opening” or new business “coming soon.” The cost for these and other materials can add up quickly if the business owner does not effectively manage his or her inventories of marketing materials.
Many businesses are guilty of maxing out or exceeding their marketing budgets by haphazardly ordering “tons” of marketing materials en masse. Often business cards, door hangers, and flyers lie in unopened and unused boxes and never see the light of day due to a surplus of quantity being ordered. A second way to control inventory, and address this problem, is for the marketing manager to set both minimums and limits to how much materials can be ordered at a time. Managers should always set minimum goals for the distribution of marketing materials, set a corresponding timetable for the distribution of those materials, and even include an expiration date on the materials to facilitate their effective distribution.
Consistency of message is one of the keys to getting consumers to identify and create loyalty to a specific brand. In fact, 65% of senior executives feel that visual marketing materials are crucial to the success of any business. Managers have enjoyed great success in generating gross revenue and controlling the inventory costs of marketing materials simply by establishing daily, weekly, monthly, and annual goals for the distribution of marketing materials by their sales associates and other employees. The simple act of goal setting will not only allow inventories to be controlled and maintained, but will also help ensure that employees always have access to the marketing materials they need. Management should strive to take an additional step and empower its field employees instant access to the marketing material inventory that currently exists. This will prevent time wasted with any duplicate requests, and increase organization so that replenishing products for those working in the field can be a painless step.
Another way to control costs is to negotiate the best costs prior to ordering, and set up a schedule for the reordering of basic marketing materials. One recent survey found that 52% of business marketers believed that a comprehensive, automated marketing campaign was paramount to maintaining the continuity of message and brand between a company’s front office and the touch points with its customers. This is good news because costs such as design set up charges and shipping can be waived if the negotiator is shrewd and is diligent in obtaining at least three quotes for the same products. Another example of how inventory costs can be managed is based upon automation. Usually, marketing materials will be ordered or reordered on a regular basis. Negotiating a reoccurring auto-ship of standardized material will not only reduce both short and long-term costs, but will also help ensure brand continuity of message and presentation.
Finally, another way to control inventory cost is to establish marketing campaigns proactively. Companies that employ direct mail may have their entire annual marketing campaign set up a year at a time. That way, they know what campaign is coming up, when it will hit, what the “financial offer” on the piece is, and when the offer on that piece expires. A schedule of this type ensures brand recognition, conveys a new offer, and communicates that there is a call to action that will expire at a certain time.
At the end of the day, there is no rocket science involved it controlling the costs of marketing inventories. If a company will take the time to create and maintain marketing materials by ordering responsible amounts, create materials that are time-sensitive and employ a call to action, aggressively negotiate production prices, assign goals to relevant staff members, and ensure that employees have quick and easy access to material through automation then they will be able to drive front-end revenues while controlling costs that impact their bottom line!