Here’s an amazing, fun fact: Kudzu, an Asian vine brought to the U.S. in 1876, can grow as much as a foot a day.
Do you know what else can grow incredibly quickly? Marketing collateral.
If you haven’t taken a good, hard look at your inventory in a while, you might be surprised to learn what’s hanging around in your (or your fulfillment partner’s) warehouse. No doubt, there are pieces that are seldom, if ever, used; out-of-date materials, as well as multiple items with the same or similar content. In the meantime, you’re probably hard at work creating new collateral that will only add to the problem.
Here at Amware, we call this inventory bloat – and it’s costing you money. It’s not just the budget you consumed producing all of those pieces. That money’s gone. But you’re still paying to store and insure all those pieces. Why?
You need to tackle inventory bloat as you would cleaning out your garage. Just wade in and start sorting through what you have. Some of the data you and your fulfillment company should be collecting that will help you evaluate your marketing collateral includes:
- Orders by stock number
- Average daily use
- Usage by month
- Order frequency
- Seasonal or other order frequency fluctuations
- Days on hand
- Orders by user, department, division and/or region
- Reasons/intended use for materials ordered
- Reorder rates
- Back-order rates
- Rush reprint and shipping charges
If possible, look at several years of data. This will help you pinpoint problem areas and gain insight into which materials you’ll need in the future, as well as those that are under-performing or simply going unused.
You’re also going to discover that at least some of your pieces are obsolete. It may be tempting to continue using those materials – especially if you have a large quantity in stock. Don’t do it. Yes, it’s hard to throw stuff out. But it could be even harder to explain why your company is getting bashed on social media sites or fined for misrepresenting itself or its products because you continued to distribute outdated or inaccurate information.
To sum up, you can prevent your marketing budget from becoming a victim of “collateral damage” by:
- regularly reviewing your marketing materials,
- culling obsolete and ineffective pieces,
- combining or eliminating redundant or overlapping content,
- identifying items that are candidates for digital printing and producing them only as needed, and
- not creating new pieces unless you can identify a need that isn’t being met by existing materials.
Inventory bloat is just one of a number of insidious fulfillment “fails” that can waste your precious marketing dollars and undercut your marketing results. Amware has identified six other common problems besides overstocking in our new eBook, “Your Marketing Fulfillment Program Sucks: 7 Ways Poor Literature Management and Distribution Practices Undermine Your Marketing Results.” Download your copy and see if any of these issues are impacting your marketing programs. If so, get in touch with Amware. We can help.