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Supply Chain Issues… And How Marketing Can Respond

Supply chain issues are all too real for today’s manufacturers and many others.  COVID-19—and its subsequent fallout—have provided opportunities for some companies and a final death blow to others.  Today’s supply chain challenges can be boiled down to these four causes:

  1. Increased Demand: Demand started to increase at the tail end of 2020 as global economies opened back up. As of today, demand is the same or slightly higher than prior to the pandemic.
  1. Supply: In the first half of 2020, most suppliers saw orders drop considerably. Not knowing how long the pandemic was going to last, companies slashed inventories. Once demand started to pick up, elevating production was not easy.
  1. Manpower: A sudden drop in demand in early 2020 resulted in people being furloughed or laid off. When demand started to pick up, many companies were not able to get the manpower they needed.
  1. Logistics: When demand plunged, many containers and cargo ships were removed from the supply chain while logistics companies struggled to jump back into action. Meanwhile, shortages of longshoremen and truck drivers have exacerbated the problem.

As a result, companies are working hard to find and retain workers, avoid out-of-stocks, meet lead times, and avoid surprise price increases.

So how can marketers respond? Our work with owners and operators of small-to-medium-sized businesses suggests a few ways that marketing can lend a hand.

  • Help companies talk with customers. Marketers can do things like teach customer service representatives how to handle customer complaints and add email alerts/newsletters that help inform and set expectations.
  • Align sales, marketing and customer service with operational aspects of the business. Sometimes a business simply needs someone to see the bigger picture and then get everyone to row in the same direction.
  • Support employee recruitment—and retention. The labor market is red-hot so most companies are pivoting in their communications. They’re putting more time into external marketing tactics that attract new employees and internal marketing tactics that help keep them from leaving.

The lessons learned from this most-recent worldwide pandemic are yet to be fully written. For now, marketing professionals are adapting to supply chain issues. Want to learn more about how we’re helping our clients? Reach out to us here.