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Central Concept: What Marketing Can Learn from Manufacturing

October 06, 2016
Central Concept: What Marketing Can Learn from Manufacturing

A manufacturing company and a marketing team have much in common: both involve producing many types of assets—each with multiple variants—and churn out copious amounts of material at a fast rate. Where they differ, however, is that marketing is usually much less organized and more haphazard when it comes to managing their assets.

Marketing can solve this, however, by adopting some of the manufacturing industry’s best practices— particularly centralized manufacturing.

Centralized manufacturing is a key manufacturing concept where a product or range of products are assembled in and distributed from one principal facility. Marketing teams that embrace this concept can receive tangible benefits that can add up to significant value to your company as a whole.

A consistent environment means consistent quality

The more locations that manufacture a product, the more difficult it is to maintain consistent quality. Individual workforce habits and equipment quirks could affect the output despite all locations using the same standards and raw material. Centralization minimizes this by having the product assembled and inspected by the same employees using the same equipment.

The same can be said of marketing content. “Bootleg” versions of marketing assets crop up despite the existence of style guides, either because sales reps make their own versions, or because branch teams don’t adhere to the guidelines as closely as the main office does.

Centralizing your asset production, storage and distribution, however, makes it easier to maintain consistency across the entire organization. All assets are produced using the same design team, with brand adherence ensured by the same set of eyes.

Savings through centralization

Manufacturers that operate multiple factories incur a higher cost, thus making it far more difficult for products to turn a profit. Centralized locations can reduce costs significantly by eliminating redundant equipment, manpower, and locations.

Marketing is no different. Instead of hiring multiple production teams, it’s more cost-effective to streamline the operations of your core marketing team by introducing procedures, workflows, and technologies that facilitate smooth asset turnaround.

Meeting demand with better inventory tracking and management

A manufacturing company that stores and ships inventory from multiple locations experiences a host of challenges that drive up production and shipping time. If the business has no centralized way of managing and tracking stock, it’s more difficult to track inventory levels and monitor product demand.

A marketing team experiences the same challenge and can solve this problem in a similar way: By introducing a central asset management system that makes it easier to organize and monitor your asset library—not just physical inventory, but also the different design variations on baseline asset templates.  Now, whenever sales requests a specific asset, marketing can easily track it down or know if it really needs to be created from scratch.

As you can see, by looking to other industries that we may not always think of as having similarities—such as manufacturing—marketing teams can learn techniques for producing large amounts of output and adopting strong production and inventory management practices to help them stay ahead of demand.