Marketing logistics is one of the most critical functions on the business landscape. Indeed, hell hath no fury like a sales rep who is stuck at a trade show with 5,000 brochures that are for the wrong product – or just as painfully, has no collateral at all since it was sent to the wrong place (or is still sitting in a box at head office). What’s more, if your business uses channel partners, affiliates, consultants or has a complex supply chain, then the importance of streamlined, cost-effective and reliable marketing logistics takes on an even greater — and indeed, riskier — significance.
All of this means that choosing the right logistics partner is a crucial decision that will directly impact your bottom-line – not to mention profoundly impact your stress levels! To ensure that you head down the right road, here are 10 things that you should expect and demand from your marketing logistics company:
- They must be 100 percent vendor neutral. Yes, they should be counted upon to provide recommendations and advice. But these must be based on experience or reliable insight (e.g. analyst reports, etc.), and not the result of self-interest or incentive.
- They must have proven, in-depth experience with a wide variety of projects, including (but not limited to) literature production and distribution, retail PoP displays, event management and coordination, special packaging design, targeted direct mail, promotional distribution, product tagging and product labeling.
- They must commit to becoming an extension of your operations, and that means helping you find efficiencies and innovations in your overall marketing spend. They must not only speak the language of logistics, but they must speak the language of sales as well.
- They must offer you intelligent and customizable online storefront solution, so that you can impressively display your products to your target audience.
- They must have the ability to stock your standard materials, and augment this with print-on-demand capacity (including personalizing items with variable data).
- They must have an auto-supply function in place that automatically triggers shipment when a replenishment level is reached.
- They must provide you with custom delivery options, including (but not limited to) digital downloads, pay-for-view, radius mailings and subscriptions.
- They must have the in-house capacity to accommodate complex requirements, such as stocking core kits, custom one-off kits, and kitting on-the-fly.
- They must leverage a network of production partners to help you improve quality and performance, while lowering costs.
- They must offer a proven internet-based digital asset management (DAM) solution, which supports fast and reliable access to various marketing assets. In addition, the DAM must be integrated with your online store front images.
The Bottom Line
Essentially, the right marketing logistics company is not just a vendor: they are a true partner in your success, and demonstrate in multiple ways that they about the strength and growth of your business as much as you do.