Supply chain disruptions are something nearly every business will deal with at some point. Supply and demand naturally fluctuate due to factors like market trends and material shortages. However, recently, supply chains across the country and globally have been breaking down more often as a result of the pandemic and labor shortages.
While breakdowns are to be expected on occasion, this recent trend of constant disruptions is having a more significant impact on companies’ bottom lines, particularly for small businesses. Nearly 61% of small businesses have experienced supply chain disruptions, forcing them to make drastic changes.
These breakdowns don’t just affect the company and its employees; they affect customers too. Despite recent hard times, customer spending is up, but this actually contributes to supply shortages. Shelves everywhere are constantly empty with items out of stock and can sometimes remain that way for weeks at a time.
Not only are things out of stock, but prices are also skyrocketing to compensate for increased demand with limited supply, which is not good for the consumer. Businesses continue to raise their prices, feeling as though they have no other options. But there is something that can help.
Ultimately, when times are hard, a business’s loyal customers are what can help them make it through. To obtain and retain loyal customers, you have to have a high-quality marketing strategy. Strong, unified, and transparent marketing will help you deal with these supply chain disruptions, appeal to consumers, and cultivate greater customer loyalty.
Why Marketing Is Essential to Supply Chain Management
While a company’s products or services might be the bread and butter of the business, marketing is like the icing on the cake. It highlights your brand and shows what you provide in the best possible light, enticing customers to take action. If your brand is struggling due to supply and demand, the answer shouldn’t just be to raise prices but to adjust your marketing strategy to improve your position in the market.
Customer satisfaction and loyalty are everything because your customers are the supporting foundation of your business. Without them, you wouldn’t make any sales or have any money. As hard as things might seem when supply chains break down, it’s important not to lose sight of your customers so you can continue providing them with quality experiences. This is particularly important when you’re working to grow your business, particularly since you must balance that growth with rising operational costs and high consumer demand.
When disruptions happen, take a step back and reevaluate your marketing goals and objectives. If you make customer satisfaction and customer loyalty the focus of your marketing, you may be able to improve your bottom line, which can help you push through supply chain setbacks.
Marketing to Suppliers and Internal Teams
Strong marketing can also boost your brand reputation as a whole, which can also improve relationships and partnerships with suppliers, intermediaries, and service providers. Marketing boosts communication and helps increase understanding of market demand, helping with integration and contribution from partners and suppliers. And these working relationships are crucial when it comes to having a well-oiled supply chain.
In addition to focusing on your customers, it’s also helpful to consider how your marketing can impact your vendors, other partners, and internal teams. Building customer loyalty and improving customer retention rates is key to keeping sales up, but your partners and your internal teams also play a role in how well things run, which can affect the customer experience.
Using Marketing to Get Through Supply Chain Disruptions
These tips below can help you refocus your marketing efforts to ensure an overall better supply chain experience during setbacks:
- Better employees, happier customers: Your employees that interact directly with your customers are a crucial part of your marketing. They are the face of your company and represent your brand in the same way as your other marketing materials. Part of your marketing strategy should involve improving employee training to better engage your team and empower them to provide a better experience for customers.
- Optimized workflows: The workflow of your marketing department can also play a role in the success of your campaigns, which can affect your supply chain. If your marketing processes are inefficient, it can cost the company more money — which isn’t ideal when you’re experiencing supply chain setbacks. Automating and improving workflow to ensure your marketing efforts are as efficient as possible can save money and can produce more successful campaigns, helping to improve sales and consumer satisfaction.
- Improved partnerships: Marketing isn’t just about building relationships with your customers to boost brand loyalty; it’s also about building relationships with your suppliers, vendors, and other partners as well. Instead of having many business relationships, it can help to narrow down who you’re working with during supply chain breakdowns and focus on cultivating quality relationships with them. A few established relationships and partnerships with organizations you trust are better than having a lot of connections you put minimal effort into.
- Customer-focused marketing: When you develop content for your marketing campaigns, make sure it is strong and speaks to what your customers want. When times are hard, it can be easy to get caught up in how you can make the most money possible to get back on track. However, if your marketing is driven by a desire for money rather than a desire to please your customers, it likely won’t be as effective. Do some research, listen to your customers, and create marketing materials that appeal to them. This will ultimately boost your sales and help you get through your supply chain setbacks.
Supply chain breakdowns happen; it’s a natural part of running a business. Even as things get better and begin to settle down post-pandemic, something else could still happen that results in a disrupted supply chain. It’s important to be prepared and have a solid marketing strategy at the ready to help get you through. Don’t just raise prices and sit back, hoping to coast through to success. You have to work hard and be ready to step up your marketing if you want to make it through both current and future challenges.
Author bio: Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth.