Got Sour Marketing?

Marketing collateral can make up a significant portion or a company’s entire marketing budget, so it makes good business sense to get all of that collateral out to the intended audience in a timely manner. But what happens when those materials sit in a warehouse until they go “sour”? A portion of your hard fought marketing budget expires without even having the chance to engage your prospects and grow your business. This means wasted marketing dollars, abandoned prospects, and lost ROI. Or as CMO Council said, it creates an “epidemic of waste”.

In a CMO Council survey of marketing professionals*;

  • 60% of survey respondents said they spend at least 20% of their total marketing budget on marketing “consumables” (primarily printed materials such as marketing collateral documents, promotional items, and point-of-sale materials), and 30% of respondents said they devote at least 30% of their budget to such materials.
  • Over 70% of respondents said they do not track the obsolescence of marketing materials.
  • Companies that do track obsolescence report large amounts of waste.  Forty percent of respondents said they waste 20% or more of their marketing materials because of obsolescence.

Keeping your marketing collateral fresh could be as simple as adding inventory controls such as a custom marketing portal. The portals help marketers better manage inventory levels, ease ordering for outside reps and distributors, and lower overall carrying costs of collateral pieces. Marketing portals help streamline your company’s marketing supply chain, giving more control over obsolescence.

Typically, these web-based portals help reduce waste by limiting the amount of inventory companies have sitting in a warehouse, and moving much of that type of marketing collateral to print on demand arrangements. These portal systems also allow more access of field service reps to collateral materials, while still maintaining brand controls at the corporate level.

Increased reporting capabilities found on some portal systems are another way to know which collateral items are being used, and at what intervals. Strategic usage reports allow marketers to know which items are being used, when, and by which reps or distributors. Cross referencing usage reports to sales reports, can help determine exactly which messages/ vehicles are most effective, and which need to be revisited.

The good news is that obsolescence of marketing materials no longer has to be a cost of doing business. With inventory controls, marketing portals, and a close eye, collateral obsolescence can be a thing of the past.

Jeff Howell is an Account Executive with The Daniels Group, a marketing communications firm based in Asheville, NC. To learn more about Marketing Portals, and inventory control systems contact Jeff at (828) 277-0706 or

*Source:  Mapping + Tracking:  The Optimized Marketing Supply Chain (CMO Council, 2010)