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Marketing Fulfillment 101: How to Manage Print Marketing Materials

Marketing Fulfillment 101: How to Manage Print Marketing Materials

Ever had that 'oops' moment when you check the ole’ marketing closet before a big trade show and realize that you’re out of brochures?

We’ve all been there, but ‘oops’ moments like this highlight the importance of having a rock-solid marketing fulfillment process in place.

A well-executed marketing fulfillment strategy can boost the overall effectiveness of your marketing campaigns–and your bottom line. In fact, 79% of businesses with superior marketing supply chain and fulfillment processes achieved substantially higher revenue growth than their industry average.

Ready to master marketing fulfillment?

In this article, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and know-how to turn your marketing fulfillment process into a fine-tuned marketing machine that enhances both marketing efficiency and effectiveness. Keep reading to learn:

> What is fulfillment in marketing
> Strategies for managing marketing inventory
> Best practices for kitting and assembling marketing materials
> Tips for order processing and distribution

What is Fulfillment in Marketing? 

Think about when you place an order on Amazon. Once your order is received, the items are pulled from the warehouse, packaged, and shipped–marketing fulfillment mirrors this process.

Marketing fulfillment is the process of managing, storing, warehousing, assembling, packaging, and distributing marketing and promotional materials–plus your business most likely already has a marketing fulfillment process in place for:

> Processing requests from sales reps for business cards, brochures, and other print marketing collateral
> Fulfilling product sample requests from your website. 
> Shipping marketing collateral, promotional products, or pull-ups to trade shows and events. 
> Assembling and shipping employee welcome kits filled with branded apparel, swag, and company literature.

Now, think about your current marketing fulfillment process. Do you struggle with:

> Out-of-stock or overstocked marketing materials?
> Assembling, packaging, and the overall presentation of your marketing materials?
> Delays in processing requests for marketing materials?

If you can say yes to any of the above, there’s an opportunity to mitigate these challenges and optimize your marketing fulfillment strategy. 

Here’s how.  

Strategies for Managing Marketing Inventory

Precise inventory management is critical to successful marketing fulfillment.

When marketing inventory is out-of-stock, it can result in missed opportunities and create the perception that a business is disorganized or unreliable. Too much marketing inventory, however, ties up resources that could be outdated or more efficiently allocated elsewhere.

To prevent issues with inventory, consider implementing these three strategies:

1. Conduct regular inventory audits to identify any discrepancies in stock levels and address them promptly. Don’t forget to regularly audit your marketing materials for accuracy and ensure all information is current, including:

> Logos and branding. 
> Pricing. 
> Addresses and locations. 
> Images, URLs, and QR code links. 
> Regulatory or legal statements.

2. Establish minimum inventory levels for all marketing materials. In doing so, you’ll know when it's time to reorder when the quantity reaches the minimum inventory level. Review historical data and look for patterns, such as seasonal fluctuations or events, that could impact inventory levels to determine the ideal minimum inventory level for each item. 

3. Have an emergency stock for all your marketing materials to cushion against unexpected surges in demand or supply chain issues. 

Best Practices for Kitting and Assembling Marketing Materials

Kitting and assembly is the process of arranging multiple marketing materials into a single box or folder.

Common types of kitting and assembly include:

> Corporate presentation folders containing a letter from the CEO, brochures, fact sheets, product catalogs, annual reports, and case studies.

> Sales onboarding kits with training materials, such as market research reports, sales playbooks, and comprehensive product information. 

> Fulfillment of product sample orders along with inserting helpful resources to supplement the sample, such as a business card of the recipient’s local sales rep, buying guides, and product literature. 

> Pre-assembled trade show and event kits, such as branded tote bags filled with company literature, promotional products, venue maps, invitations to exclusive events, pens, and notepads.

> Swag bags and promotional product kits for company events or customer appreciation, with branded merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, keychains, USB drives, and stickers.

The kitting and assembly process is time-consuming–especially when large quantities are involved. To streamline your kitting and assembly process, here are three best practices to consider:

> Choose the right packaging. Whether the packaging is a folder, tote bag, or shipping box, it needs to protect the contents inside, and reflect the quality and professionalism of your business. Consider opting for custom packaging tailored to the exact size and shape of the contents inside. Custom packaging not only prevents damage during transit but can also reduce shipping costs. 

> Ensure that all marketing materials have a uniform appearance. For example, use the same paper quality, fonts, and design elements across all items in the kit. Additionally, be sure that colors are consistent across print and digital media

> Organize marketing materials in a logical and easy-to-understand manner. If print marketing materials are assembled without a logical flow and context, recipients can struggle to understand a business's offerings and value. For example, avoid leading with a pricing sheet, as it may cause sticker shock without context. Instead, begin with a personalized introduction letter outlining the contents. Follow with benefit-focused collateral and testimonials to build value before presenting the pricing information. 

Tips for Order Processing and Distribution 

The speed at which orders for marketing materials are processed and distributed directly impacts customer satisfaction and business reputation. 90% of people expect deliveries within three business days, making speedy order processing and distribution paramount to marketing fulfillment processes.

The challenge with order processing and distribution is that speed and cost are interconnected, often requiring businesses to choose between fast delivery times and cost-effectiveness.

Here are three tips to achieve the optimal balance between speed and cost:

> Optimize packaging to reduce shipping costs. Shipping costs are typically calculated based on the dimensional weight (length x width x height) or the actual weight of a package, and carriers will charge whichever is the higher of the two. For instance, if you send 20 lightweight brochures in a large box, the shipping cost will be based on the size of the box, not its actual weight, to compensate for the potential revenue carriers would miss out on from a smaller, heavier package.  

> Expedite order processing by establishing a dedicated area in your warehouse or office to fulfill frequently requested print marketing materials. Pre-assembling and storing ready-to-ship kits in this area can also help expedite order processing. 

> Use an online ordering system, such as a marketing portal, to process internal requests for marketing materials. For example, have sales reps complete an online form where they can specify the type of collateral, quantity, purpose, target audience, and delivery date. 

Master Marketing Fulfillment with Artisan Colour

While a strong marketing fulfillment strategy can propel your marketing efforts, let's be real: mastering marketing fulfillment can be a steep hill to climb.

If fulfillment frustrations are hindering your marketing efforts, it might be time to outsource to a marketing fulfillment partner like Artisan Colour.

Our extensive service offerings encompass everything you need to master marketing fulfillment, including inventory management, storage, kitting and assembly, order processing, print fulfillment, and shipping.

But our services don’t stop at marketing fulfillment; we can handle all of your printing, signage, direct mail, and digital asset management needs.

> Printing Services: Marketing collateral, catalogs, branded packaging, vehicle wraps, personalized printing, and specialty printing. 
> Signage and Graphics: Business signage, wall and window graphics, indoor and outdoor banners, trade shows and events, retail displays, and wall wraps. 
> Direct Mail Marketing: Direct mail campaigns, personalized direct mail, mailing lists, Informed Delivery, and omnichannel integrations. 
> Digital Asset Management: Prepress, premedia, online image libraries, photography, graphic design, image retouching, and color management.
> Promotional Product Sourcing: Branded apparel, giveaways, corporate gifts, custom merchandise, and trade show swag.

Contact our team of artisans today and learn how we can help your business master marketing fulfillment.