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The Role of Marketing in Supply Chain Management

At first glance, one may not think that marketing and supply chain really have a sort of connection. But on analyzing the processes deeply, it soon becomes apparent that marketing plays a pivotal role in supply chain management.

In order to understand how marketing is a vital process of supply chain logistics and management, we first need to understand what the latter entails. Let’s take a look at it below.

Supply Chain

In the simplest words, supply chain is the network of people who participate in the act of producing and distributing the goods or products of a company. The network processes and forwards materials, components and other supply materials.

However, the act of production and distribution is lengthier than words can capture and entails a series of steps. A multitude of activities occur under the supply chain management and so a multitude of workers have to indulge in it.

You will find a host of people, resources, entities and information as a concrete part of the supply chain. The several activities that occur in supply chain broadly include:

  • Refining of raw materials
  • Packaging
  • Manufacturing
  • Finance
  • Inventory control
  • Retailing
  • Transportation
  • Marketing

Here, it is quite evident that marketing plays an active role in the supply chain processes. It helps strike a balance of procurement, through its essential provision of demand information. Marketing also plays a key role in establishing and strengthening relationships that are crucial to supply chain operations.

Let’s take a closer look at how marketing integrates itself in the supply chain processes.

Marketing- It’s Integration in Supply Chain

Communication is the most central function of marketing and is simultaneously also the key element that keeps the supply chain performing at the peak. This same core function translates into an operational role and a key strategic perspective.

It does so in the following ways:

1. Data Translation

The primary role that marketing plays in the supply chain is translating essential data into useful expertise. The supply chain sector relies greatly upon analytics and information. A huge responsibility of the marketing team is to guide the stakeholders through the internal workings of the organization.

Moreover, it is their responsibility to help stakeholders see how all the jigsaw puzzle pieces fit together. Perhaps the most ideal purpose of marketing teams over here is how they expertly discover weak or malfunctioning links and fix them proactively.

2. Guide for Stakeholders

Another essential role that marketing plays is guiding stakeholders about their part and the niche where they have to serve. Suppliers learn about brands and the products and services they are offering through the communication mediums that marketing uses. These include:

  • Newsletters
  • Email messaging
  • Press releases
  • White papers and others

Regardless of what level the stakeholders or suppliers are working at, they get vital insight into what products various brands are supporting. They also get to learn about the part the brands play in the final product delivery and customer experience.

But this does not happen merely out of thin air. Marketing teams spend time and effort into learning how stakeholders fit the supply chain cycle. Only after that do they show the stakeholders their niche areas.

3. Marketplace Knowledge

Partners rely heavily upon marketplace knowledge so that they can align considerations regarding supply and demand. Do you know who provides the crucial marketplace knowledge to them? Yes, you guessed that right. Marketers are again the best friends of supply chain partners in this regard.

Every department of an organization must necessarily stay updated on all market changes and trends. Despite their best efforts in this regard though, they are never able to outdo a marketing department who knows every pulse of the market.

If you want the deepest information of the market, your best source to derive it is a marketing department. The marketing teams help suppliers understand the needs of their audience, as well as their interests and challenges. Marketing teams also guide supply chain partners to address the same needs, interests etc. of their target audience with relevant services and products.

Supply chain teams benefit hugely from the marketing department’s in-depth awareness and expertise. They are also able to take corrective measures proactively with the information from marketing teams.

4. Fostering and Improving Collaboration

Another key role that marketing plays is establishing and strengthening collaboration between supply chain links. Marketing creates an atmosphere of clear communication between supply chain links so that they can nurture a communicative culture. This in turn improves the efficiency of all operations.

Marketing teams use information distribution and specific messaging to connect with suppliers and draw them in. This collaboration creates many favorable platforms where contact remains consistent and internal and external partners gain more access.

5. Supply Chain Information for Customers

Marketing does not only cater to suppliers and stakeholders in the supply chain management but also to customers. It utilizes content to inform customers and share the expertise of supply chains. It does so by highlighting successes, by sending news announcements and more.

When marketing teams take on the endeavor of highlighting and promoting the successes of their supply chain partners, they spread word even more. Marketing teams support the supply chain management in massive ways when they share testimonials, excerpts and success stories of suppliers and supply chain executives.

6. Boosts Brand Awareness

Marketing has immense power of boosting business efforts and it does so through brand awareness. Supply chain partners cannot expect to excel while being alienated from brands. In fact, they must align with brands so that they can understand and represent their products and services better to the masses.

Marketing teams help suppliers in understanding brands better. It helps the suppliers recognize successful brands, the value and quality of their products and services. Then suppliers use this essential information in expanding their outreach and propelling business efforts further.

Final Thoughts

When people first try to understand the dynamics of supply chain and its management, they may not initially see the role of marketing. Only once the intricate processes and the necessary integration come to light do we see how marketing is crucial for the effectiveness and efficiency of supply chain.

Marketing greatly boosts profitability and business operations by supporting supply chain and making it flexible. It fosters collaboration and strengthens relationships between supply chain links. Marketing also provides in-depth marketplace information to supply partners that plays a massive role in their excellent performance.

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