birds eye view photo of freight containers

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people worldwide have experienced the effects of supply issues. Here at GlobalSpec, we were curious about how it has impacted industrial marketers specifically, so we conducted a survey. Marketers can use these findings and recommendations to:

  • Better understand disruptions that facing their company, customers, and the industrial sector at large
  • Adjust and improve marketing plans as needed to align with the current situation
  • Craft messaging and content that acknowledges what is happening and supports customers

The Majority are Impacted

Sixty-four percent of industrial marketers said their supply chain has been affected by COVID-19 this year; 32 percent said it was not.

When asked if their company was currently experiencing supply chain issues, the results were similar: 61 percent said yes; 34 percent said no. This shows us that few supply chain issues have been resolved, and the effects of the pandemic are still impacting marketers.

Marketing Strategies Affected

Most marketers—69 percent—have experienced an impact on their marketing plans due to supply chain issues. The most common consequences were shifted marketing plans (53 percent), marketing budget cuts (49 percent), and product launch delays or cancellations (47 percent). Forty-two percent said that their product marketing focus has changed due to supply chain difficulties.

When asked to rate their confidence in the supply chain for 2021, the average answer was a 6 out of 10. It’s not a very optimistic outlook, but slightly better than neutral.

Delays are a Common Theme

As marketers elaborated on how supply chain issues affected their company this year or how they feel about the upcoming year, we began to see common themes.

Many marketers mentioned delays, such as long lead times for parts that lead to delays in finished product, shipping, and payment. Some companies are unable to offer fast or “as quoted” delivery. Others are facing increased freight costs. The overall unpredictability and inconsistency of market conditions has been difficult for marketers.

In addition to supply chain, decreasing demand and its effect on marketing was noted by several companies.

Recommendations

  • Reach out to new suppliers. If your company is affected by supply chain issues, marketing can help by planning an outreach campaign to potential new suppliers. Diversifying the supply chain is a strategy that makes sense for every company.
  • Use content to acknowledge supply chain disruptions. If your customers are impacted by supply chain issues, let them know you understand what they are going through. Tell them if your company can do anything to alleviate their situation, such as offering faster shipping or more favorable terms. Reassure customers that your company is stable and ready to serve them. Content that gives a sense that you understand and share their pain and that “we are all in this together” is helpful.
  • Reallocate marketing dollars. If certain markets you sell into are more impacted than others, consider pausing campaigns to the affected markets and using that budget in other markets that are performing better. The same holds true for delayed product launches. If you still have that budget, reallocate to where your marketing spend is still producing results.
  • Create a second marketing plan for 2021. You may need more than one marketing plan going into 2021. The first plan would assume that supply chain (or other COVID-19-related issues return to normal), while the second plan would accommodate supply chain disruptions or other potential negative impacts. Some companies are already in the habit of creating three marketing plans: a best-case scenario, a realistic scenario, and a worst-case scenario.

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