Supply, Demand and Your Marketing Plan: How to Stay on Track Without Inventory 

Supply chain issues – one of the many unexpected outcomes of the global pandemic. It is now clear that as long as the virus is disrupting our daily lives, we should expect delays to plague the business world.

In a study conducted by Thomas, 45 percent of suppliers reported shipping and logistics disruptions; 15 percent are seeing an increase in demand, while only 10 percent report any weakening. The bottom line: Many brands are struggling to cope with major disruptions to their supply chains—despite experiencing significant spikes in demand.

The continued uncertainty in the new year finds many brand leaders toying with the idea of scaling back marketing and advertising efforts for 2022. But doing so could be a major mistake, says DEFINITION 6’s VP Account Director Jeanna Welday.

Revise for growth 

“It’s not, ‘should we pause our marketing efforts?’ The question brands should be asking is, ‘what is it our customers need to know?’” says Jeanna.

The power of your communication 

“Where we’re seeing some brands failing is with a lack of transparency and consistency,” says Jeanna. “Across channels there’s not the same note.” Your website might say you ship in 3-5 days, but with supply delays, the reality is much, much slower. The customer isn’t aware of the backup. All they know is your website told them 3-5 days, and their order still hasn’t come in.

“Facilitating transparent communication is a big part of what we do for our clients at D6,” says Jeanna. “We help them understand the customer journey and practice empathy and understanding to improve the customer experience by providing information that’s relevant and timely.”

Reconsider your communication strategy 

Previously, marketing may have been focused on the “push” to tell people what they want and what your services are. “What we’re experiencing is a communication change.” Instead of focusing single-mindedly on sales messaging, brands should consider refining communications to focus on preserving and strengthening the client/brand relationship. Leading with empathy and keeping your customers in the know creates confidence and trust in times of uncertainty.

Not low on inventory, but low on staff? 

When was the last time you revisited your internal communications? “One of our clients is a freight company that has experienced an extreme labor shortage of drivers across the nation,” explains Jeanna. “To ensure that they’re able to continue to deliver, they’ve revised their strategy internally. That way, they’re delivering not just the best client-facing experience, but the best internal experience.” Not to mention, streamlining communication allows you to spread the word that you’re hiring more effectively. 

Strategize ahead of time 

Since supply chain woes are the new norm for now, one plus is that we have some insight as to the new length of deliverables. Socializing the new timeline for customer purchases with long lead times resets expectations and avoids conflicts.

“We work with a client that carries pool hardscape products. Knowing that these supplies take months at a time, they’ve created collateral from one-sheeters to videos to push sales during the down season and encourage purchasing in the winter, so products arrive by summer,” explains Jeanna. 

Get creative, but stay authentic 

The power of digital is stronger than ever and offers lots of room for brand sustainability in a world with limited supply. But that also means there’s a magnifying glass on errors when communications and reality aren’t properly aligned. “Brands that stay authentic win in the long run—the ones that treat their customers like humans are the ones that continue to grow loyalists and advocates,” Jeanna explains. The real beauty in that relationship? “You don’t have to do much besides communicate truthfully and honestly about your business to see measurable growth in trust and affinity.” 

One thing remains certain in this time of uncertainty – your customers are listening.

What is it you need them to hear?

Want to discuss more with our digital team? Drop us a line below. 

DEFINITION 6 is an award-winning customer experience agency that has combined strategy, craft, and storytelling for more than 20 years. Based in Atlanta and New York City, with a satellite office in San Francisco, DEFINITION 6 brings a big agency perspective in a small agency package. The agency is behind award-winning campaigns for leading companies including CBS Sports, Nickelodeon, Barnes & Noble College, and Syfy.