I recently read the article “Marketers as Supply Chain Managers? You Bet!” (Sean Murphy, Supply Chain Management Review) regarding the “supply chain” that exists for marketing, and it got me thinking about the application of supply chain thinking to marketing in the life sciences industry. Here is a link to the article:
Product marketing is a huge component of pharmaceutical company spend, and the magnitude of that spend directed toward marketing materials is well documented and much debated. I’ll leave those debates to someone else’s blog, but what I wonder is how substantial are the savings that might be achieved if the “Marketing Supply Chain” at life science companies was managed by someone with a supply chain background?
After the marketing design work is complete, tangible goods in terms of pamphlets, sales brochures, training aids and the like must be physically produced and distributed. This is the Marketing Supply Chain. Who sources of all of those materials? Is the contract awarded based on existing relationships, to the designer’s favorite manufacturer/printer, or to the company who quotes the lowest unit cost? Who manages the inventories, warehousing, and distribution?
Spend Analysis, Reverse Auctions, Negotiations, Competitive Bidding, Key Performance Indicators, Economies of Scale, and Service Level Agreements, among others, are tools commonly used in the Supply Chain world to select and monitor a supplier. I wonder whether anyone has applied these types of tools to the sourcing and supply of marketing materials in this industry. What is the potential benefit to be gained? Could a collaborative experiment between the creative expert and the sourcing expert using these same tools yield significant savings on marketing expenditures? And how would one measure success? As a certain percentage cost reduction? A percentage reduction in the supply base vendors? Or perhaps both?
Is anyone currently working on a cross-functional team to reduce marketing costs? What are your thoughts?
Tags: Supply Chain