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Are You Reaching Today’s Customer? Keys To A Great Multichannel Marketing Strategy.


Are You Reaching Today’s Customer? Keys To A Great Multichannel Marketing Strategy.

Getting customers in the door means first getting, and keeping, their attention. As consumers have moved more toward e-commerce, the challenges for digital marketers have become greater, but so have the opportunities.

Marketing to a target audience is more complex today, but the evolution of technology has opened numerous doors to reach consumers effectively through multichannel marketing, says Christena Garduno (, chief executive officer of Media Culture.

“Multichannel marketing allows marketers to cater to potential customers across channels by mirroring how they operate in different digital spaces,” Garduno says. “You as a company need a significant presence across social media platforms and other digital channels. And you have to develop a clear, compelling and consistent message while keeping the brand voice intact.”

A marketing channel is any platform or method that’s used to market a product or service to consumers. Multichannel marketing involves reaching out to and interacting with customers through various channels, including regular email, social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, websites, search engine optimization, video, texts, and others.

“Multichannel marketing done well will capture a higher engagement rate from consumers, build long-lasting relationships with customers and positive brand awareness, and move you ahead of your competitors,” Garduno says.

Garduno offers these points as keys to your multichannel marketing strategy:

Develop a channel focus. Understanding who your audience is, including their age, education, career and income level, is central to determining the most effective channels by which to reach those consumers and creating the right messaging. “You need to focus on the right channels to grow your business,” Garduno says. “To evaluate the effectiveness of a channel, see if it’s producing a measurable benefit. You can do this by tracking various metrics such as the number of opens and clicks in email marketing, the quantity of likes and comments and number of new followers over a given time in social media marketing, the click-through rate and total visits on your website, and more.”

Personalize your strategy. “You want the consumer to feel important, as if you’re speaking only to them, while making it clear you anticipate their needs,” Garduno says. “You need to personalize your message, which means making it highly contextual, relevant, and emotionally engaging. Personalization influences customers to pay attention to your brand message amid an endless expanse of marketing content.”

Maximize a multichannel CRM. Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing, supporting and building customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle. “Companies need a multichannel CRM system to stay relevant,” Garduno says. “A multichannel strategy requires user profiles, and a multichannel CRM enables a company to create a consistent customer experience based on aggregated, actionable data. Potential customers do research on their smartphones, then go to their tablet and may complete a transaction on their desktop, so you have to keep up with that kind of shopper.” With a CRM platform that provides multichannel customer data in the form of profiles, Garduno says it’s easier for companies to engage with customers in ways that will be beneficial to them. “You know what they like, what channels they engage with the most, how much money they’ve spent with your brand, and more,” she says.

Run drip campaigns. These focus on user actions or specific timelines. The idea is to effectively engage users and move them closer to buying. “A drip campaign is a series of emails you send to customers at certain intervals,” Garduno says. “It can be used for CRM or lead nurturing. Drip campaigns are an effective way to keep your target audience engaged with your brand. The unique ability of a drip campaign is being able to identify the different stages your audience is in and sending different emails to them accordingly. That approach builds trust amongst the audience, which wouldn’t happen if they all were subject to a generic email blast.”

“Having a strong multi-marketing strategy is essential as consumers have higher expectations and reaching them in a variety of ways is key to companies’ growth,” Garduno says. “It’s about being thorough and never being complacent.”


Christena Garduno ( is chief executive officer of Media Culture, a multichannel brand response media agency that drives growth for global clients with innovative and performance-driven media campaigns. She is a member of Forbes Agency Council.  

business relationships

5 Ways To Strengthen Your Business Relationships And Grow Your Company

Another record year for entrepreneurship could be in store for 2022. But how many of these new business owners end up succeeding will depend on more than the quality of the products and services they offer.

Creating and nurturing customer relationships allow businesses to offer a more personalized and enticing customer experience, which produces the buyer loyalty that is vital to a company’s long-term success, says James Webb (, a successful entrepreneur in the medical and fitness sectors and author of A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity.

Relationships are the greatest asset an entrepreneur has,” Webb says. “To retain customers, it requires a process that turns every touchpoint with a customer into an opportunity for communication, trust, and mutual growth.”

But Webb emphasizes that an entrepreneur’s success is also highly contingent upon the strength of other business relationships as well.

“Good relationships with employees bring new meaning to work, strong productivity and new ideas that carry the business forward,” Webb says. “Relationships with financial partners allow you to take risks. Mentors and colleagues can help you view strategy and processes through a different lens.

“The more you cultivate all of these business relationships, the more you, they, and your business can grow. But you can’t take them for granted. Relationships are gardens that need tending.”

Webb offers these tips to entrepreneurs on how to strengthen their relationships with customers and other business associates:

Invite customer feedback. Webb says to truly know where your company stands with customers and what you can do to improve and better meet their needs, you need to survey their thoughts about your products and services – ideally in person. “Most of the time unsatisfied customers don’t approach you with a detailed list of things they’d like for you to improve on,” Webb says. “They just leave for one of your competitors. So set aside time to get their feedback and show them you care.”

Make your customer feel valued through the entire experience. “Consider the customer experience from start to finish,” Webb says. “Find opportunities to go the extra mile and make shopping with your company enjoyable. Positive words will spread like wildfire about your business, especially on social media, and remember, negative words can spread, too. Make customers feel they’re a part of something special by making them feel special.” A key part to the customer experience equation, Webb notes, is providing good website content that gives them insight and a quick path to solutions.

Encourage a sense of ownership among your employees. Webb says giving employees a voice in major decisions, more responsibility and allowing them to own stock are ways to create a sense of ownership and strong ties between your employees and your business. “Inspiring your employees to love your business as much as you do will strengthen your company’s foundation,” Webb says. “Your business will be that much more likely to survive setbacks and grow.”

Be generous with compliments. “Employees know you can’t give them a raise every time they do a good job, but recognizing them when they do good work makes them feel appreciated and goes a long way toward making them want to stay at your company,” Webb says.

Value your vendors. People who service your company regularly are a big part of the infrastructure that keeps your company rolling. “Treat them like honorary employees,” Webb says. “Everyone from your suppliers to your web designer is an important part of your extended team, and nurturing these relationships with nice gestures and consistent communication will just make your company stronger from the ground up.”

“It’s critical to be humble enough to understand that you need great relationships to succeed as an entrepreneur,” Webb says. “I’ve seen talented people fail because they thought they could do it alone.”


James Harold Webb ( is the author of Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey To Prosperity. His career in radiology saw him rise from a technologist to becoming a leader in the industry as the entrepreneur of several companies focused on outpatient medical imaging, pain management and laboratory services. In 2014, Webb turned his attention to the fitness sector and developed, owned and oversaw the management of 33 Orangetheory Fitness® franchises throughout North Texas. They were all sold to a private equity group in 2019. He currently owns the franchise rights for Dallas, Austin and Houston for BeBalanced Centers, a homeopathic hormone weight-loss franchise. His team has three stores open with plans for another 15 to 20 over the next four years.

product branding

Product Branding: Small Tips that Bring Huge Success

What makes a good product? Quality, design, usefulness, and the proper market are all contributing factors. But there’s one more thing that relates to products of any size and scale – product branding. It’s the best strategy to attract the right people and encourage them to come back.

But do it wrong, and you’ll confuse even the people who came specifically for your products

Let us help you do it right with this brief yet very informative guide.

What Is Product Branding and How Is It Different from Corporate Branding?

Product branding is a combination of actions that brand a specific product. Basically, you analyze the item, look for unique specifications, and market them, creating a separate identity for the product. 

The combination can be very extensive, with months of research and tons of effort invested. Or it can be a lucky combination of package color, catchy name, and motto.

Don’t confuse it with corporate branding, though. Branding products or services means separating them from the whole picture, and evolving and adjusting them to the market.

For example, when you want to brand logistics and/or your supply chain, you’ll be emphasizing the promises made and kept, and encouraging customer and partner loyalty. This means delivering quickly and always on time, fast responses, etc.

Remember how quickly Nike’s shoes get to the shelves of most stores? That’s because of the company’s supply chain that delivers a great customer experience and supports the corporate brand associated with the speed, strength, and ease of the ‘Just Do It’ motto.

To achieve such results, your supply chain and marketing teams have to stay in touch and create a message that will sell a particular aspect of the business. A change in logistics branding can also garner more loyalty even from current unsatisfied customers.

Intel’s ‘Just Say Yes’ campaign has helped it pacify frustrated clients dissatisfied with the quality and speed of the company’s services. The campaign introduced a new standard of customer care and the company improved the speed of request processing.

A supply chain is crucial in product branding because it establishes trust and customer loyalty. And this doesn’t just mean giving people what they need quickly. It means doing so in a way that will make them want to come back and trust you.

Why Is Branding a Product Worth the Effort and Investment?

Especially if you include supply chain and logistics into the product branding strategy, it’s definitely worth the investment of finances and effort.

We have 4 reasons why:

Your product becomes recognizable.

By hearing a phrase, seeing brand colors, or through another association, people will immediately think about your product. Remember the Nike product branding examples. When we hear ‘Just Do It’, we think of Nike and its straightforward strategies like delivering at light speed.

You distinguish the product from competitors.

Once your product becomes recognizable it will stand out, like the brand H&M, which is marketed as a representative of affordable fashion but without the burden of cheap, exploitative labor. Their supply chain transparency definitely stands out.

You establish an emotional connection with customers.

Promoting the speedy and ethical qualities of your supply chain will cause emotional responses from potential and current customers.

It separates the parent company from product failures.

Having a certain product branded farther from the company’s design allows for experiments. Ideally, even a failed one won’t really taint your reputation because the association won’t be too strong.

Now, to the top recommendations on branding a product!

Tips to Focus on While Developing Product Branding 

So, we’ve established the importance of product branding. We’ve found out that a ‘product’ isn’t just an item but can also be a service, such as logistics or supply chain. Finally, we know that not every branding is successful.

But how to make it work well for your company?

We have compiled some of the most effective recommendations for your product and service branding:

Deep research of the audience.

One of the most important things is finding out who your target is, what they want, how they will use the product, and what their values are. By knowing key characteristics of the target audience and their needs, you can start building a strategy to meet their needs and brand your products accordingly.

Why is this important? 89% of shoppers tend to trust brands that share their values.

If we’re talking about branding services like supply chain and logistics, you’ll also need to learn about the location and demographics of the audience. User behavior will let you know where and how they look for the services you provide.

Identifying competitors.

There are multiple ways you can identify and analyze competitors. First of all, remember that every business that wants to stay afloat nowadays works on its online presence. If your competitors are online, you can track them by simply searching for products and services similar to yours.

To find your competitors online, you can search for targeted keywords and see who is on top of Google. Alternatively, you can use an SEO platform like SE Ranking for a competitor search. There, you can enter your website to see who your main organic and paid competitors are and how well they perform. This will help you see what approaches they use and, possibly, what they are missing in their strategies.

Also, pay attention to the advertising aspect. How are their press reports built? What do customers say about their companies and products? Also, don’t pass over business directories, informational websites, questionnaires, etc.

The key to this step is further analysis using the data you get about your competitors. Find out what kinds of products your competitors release, who they target and what marketing channels they use, what their brand values are, how they distribute, etc.
To summarize the data, you can use the SWOT strategy. It’s easy and to the point.

Include product personality and its brand identity.

You have to know exactly where you and the product or service in question stand. What’s your goal? What gaps do you want to fill with the product? What do you have for customers that others don’t?

First of all, people see the picture, and 5-7 impressions can make people remember and even build trust in your product and brand. So be prepared with a great, stylish logo, high quality packaging, taglines, and the name of the product. If we’re talking about supply chain and logistics, it’s the clothes your drivers wear and the condition of their vehicles.

As you finish preparing the picture, it’s time to get deeper. Tell the history of your product or service, dive into its values, the glorious mission, uniqueness, etc. By going gradually, you’ll create a funnel that people will exit already wanting that product or service.

Embrace consistency.

Even if you do all of the above, if you’re not consistent, people won’t trust the brand. One mistake is fine, you can do damage control, but you’re going to waste a lot of money and effort if you don’t have the same message spread across platforms. The design of images and the quality of products and services also need to be uniform.

We’ve already answered the question of whether the investment is justified. But let’s add that sticking to your product brand consistently has a huge impact on its success.

That’s why creating a system and following it is so important.

Don’t forget about your staff.

Your staff has a large influence on how your company and products are perceived. We already talked about driver clothing and vehicles, but what about their tone and values?

Your teams should share the values of the brand and highlight this the best way they can. The job of the company is to remind the staff of the mission, the usefulness of the product, and the goal of the company. It’s essential to keep everyone motivated to not only do their job well but take those values and communicate with them.

The best-case scenario is having a team that shares your corporate philosophy and supports the importance of the product you’re trying to brand.

An excellent example is how your people deliver the product, what they say, what tone they have, and how it correlates with the image of your company.


Product branding is a powerful tool that can bring your business to a new level. It allows you to experiment without risking the company’s reputation. It provides an opportunity to give personality to each of your products and gain a target audience for them that is separate from that of your business.

It helps enhance what you create and give it life. But you have to do it right. Include every element of design and history into one system, be consistent with your message, and, of course, create high-quality products and services so that people who are drawn to the brand actually have something to love.

digital experience

How to Enhance the Customer’s Digital Experience from Search to Sale

Many companies were engaging in digital transformation before COVID-19 hit, doing so to meet changing customer expectations and business needs. But leaders saw the pace of their digital journey accelerate dramatically during the pandemic in order to keep up with the evolving customer experience.

One report shows that over half of consumers believe online experiences will be more important than in-person ones. With an increasing amount of shopping, buying and selling being done online, companies have to learn how to connect with customers in the digital realm and give them an experience that will make them want to come back, says Christena Garduno (, chief executive officer of Media Culture.

“The customer experience has been revolutionized and improved through digital technology,” Garduno says. “It presents a tremendous marketing opportunity. Now the reality is that the customer experience has gone mostly digital, and it’s become imperative for companies to focus on the entire experience, which is the totality of the path a consumer takes while seeking, purchasing, and using a product or service.

“It’s every step and every touchpoint in the journey from interest to acquisition. Many companies need to rethink the different types of interactions that consumers have with them. When digital is done well across the board, it can allow your business to build its brand and long-lasting relationships with customers.”

Garduno offers tips for companies to enhance the customer experience through digital means:

-Be prepared with the right information. “Your customers are always ‘on’ in the digital world, so it’s essential to deliver the right information to address their needs,” Garduno says. “This is a big task; one person can’t deal with so many scenarios. But being upgraded digitally gives a company the technology to have a centralized knowledge platform where information can be quickly accessed.”

-Go beyond data and interact with customers. Using analytics helps you understand where users go once they land on your website or open your app. But getting customers’ opinions is crucial. “Talk to those who have been through your digital experience,” Garduno says. “Take data from surveys, emails, and social media to gather more info. Plot out a digital customer journey to highlight the touchpoints and make sure each interaction works.”

-Be consistent across all platforms. “You want your customers to experience unity across all the digital channels they use when interacting with your brand,” Garduno says. “Data needs to be consistent and interactions similar across all platforms. You need to know your brand and make sure you have it positioned so that everything online supports it.”

-Optimize for mobile. With consumers living through their phones, Garduno says it makes a lot of sense to make sure that your website, app or other materials found online are optimized for mobile. “Pay attention to page load time and ease of navigation,” she says. “People want speed and convenience.”

“It’s essential to create the best customer experience strategy for positive digital interactions with your brand,” Garduno says. “Brands that don’t adopt digital solutions will suffer. The pandemic expedited this transition to an exciting time for forward-thinking companies.”


Christena Garduno ( is chief executive officer of Media Culture, a multichannel brand response media agency that drives growth for global clients with innovative and performance-driven media campaigns. She is a member of Forbes Agency Council.  


How to Avoid 2021 Holiday Shipping Delays

The question of how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays is hot right now. Both logistics companies and their clients want to get an answer — how can we make this work?

People got used to the fact that they can order anything they want online, and it’ll be on their doorstep in a day or two. They got fond of convenience, so the demand kept growing. However, during the last two years, we’ve seen a shift in the logistics challenges facing the industry. The waits are longer than before, and we can’t expect that they’ll get shorter during the holiday season.

Luckily, things are going fine for now. People are getting their packages, but the real rush is yet to start. So, let’s see how customers can help the retailers, and then we’ll talk about how to prepare for shipping out.

How to Get Your Packages In Time

It’s only natural that you want to surprise your friends and family during the holiday season. If some of them live abroad, you might want to send them a package to unwrap on Christmas morning and share your love that way. However, you’re not the only one thinking this way.

As we’re getting closer to the end of the year, more and more people are sending parcels. Shipping companies are busy, and you need to account for that. Let’s go over a few things you want to keep in mind if you didn’t do your Christmas shopping just yet.

First off, expect delays. We know it sounds contrary to what we’re trying to achieve, but you want to stay realistic.

Secondly, plan ahead. Of course, if there’s a chance that there will be a jam near the end of the month, send or request your packages early. If you can, there’s nothing wrong with doing it right away. You’re better off if they arrive at their destination early than late.

Finally, be prepared to pay the premium. Planning so much in advance is often tricky, especially if you have a lot on your mind. Thus, if you see that you’re already behind, pay the premium to ensure your parcel will arrive when it should.

What Can Businesses Do?

Both retailers and eCommerce companies want to boost their sales, and the end of the year is the best time to do it. If you want to bring your sales up and keep your customers happy, you’ll want to learn how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays. Here’s what you need to do.

Prepare Your Inventory and Packing Supplies

Go over your books and your inventory, and think once again about what is likely to sell a lot at this time. Predict the number of orders you’ll get and make sure you have enough stock to go around.

On top of that, you mustn’t forget about the packing supplies either. No matter how many orders you get, they won’t be of much use if you can’t send the items people want to buy. And according to Murphy’s law, you’ll run out of them in the worst possible moment.

Don’t let this happen to you, and get yourself a bit more packing supplies than you think you’ll need. These aren’t that expensive – so you can afford them, and even if you end up with some leftovers, you’ll use them later.

Set Up Delivery and Return Strategies

If you want to be carefree this holiday season, you must sort out and fine-tune your shipping system. Get in touch with a reliable company and see if you can get a deal. They’ll be more than busy for sure, but if you have a few big shipments to send out, you might even get some kind of discount.

You also want to sort out your return strategy. Some people won’t like what they get, and they’ll want to return it. If you want to improve your eCommerce business and retain customers, your job is to go out of your way and make that possible.

Why Do Holiday Shipping Delays Happen?

If you did everything we talked about, you did everything you could. It’s not like you can take each package and take it where it needs to go by yourself. You’ll have to rely on transport companies to do it for you, and they’re under a lot of stress at the moment. Here are some of the factors that you can’t influence and that can make your shipment run late.

Bad weather. The weather can be unpredictable in the winter, and the shipping company can’t do anything about it. A significant snowfall certainly can push delivery dates a bit further.

A high number of shipments. As we mentioned, more and more people are ordering things online, and the higher the number of shipments is, the higher chances for delays are.

Traffic jams. They’re unpredictable and happen in a split second. So, even if delivery companies know about the existing jams, they can’t predict where the next one will happen.

And that’s all you need to know about how to avoid the 2021 holiday shipping delays. Be honest with your customers, encourage them to order early, and do your shopping as soon as possible.


Tobi Hook is an experienced transport specialist and a freelance writer. At the moment, he’s working with City Movers on improving their processes and spreading the word about their company. He loves to spend his free time reading sci-fi novels and building model rockets with his son. 

logistics company

4 Strategies Every Logistics Company Must Start Doing

On the consumer level, logistics companies are seen as couriers who deliver their most-awaited packages. But for business owners, the logistics industry is an extension of their service cycle. As such, logistics companies have a ton of responsibilities on their shoulders. 

As a logistics company, what practical steps must be done to maximize your clientele’s satisfaction? 

We can look into it in this manner. The primary goals of a logistics company can be broken down into three segments: warehousing, distribution, and transportation. For each goal, there must be actionable steps that your logistic company should do immediately. And if you are practicing it already, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. 

Here are some of our tips. Let’s go! 

Tip #1: Listen to Customers 

We know this is the oldest trick in the book. But, that only goes to show how effective this one is. The question now is how to listen to them effectively, considering that logistics companies cater to two different sets of customers. 

Client satisfaction surveys will never go out of style. You just need to upgrade the method to acquire them. 

To effectively collect data through surveys, make sure that the survey form is accessible. Most survey data now are collected through the internet. On top of that, most of them are composed of 5-7 close-ended questions only. 

Everyone wants it fast and instant nowadays, and you need to take advantage of that. Pose questions such as, “Which of our services are you most satisfied with?” and present them with choices. As much as you can, always provide choices to make the process easier for everyone. 

Apart from surveys, make sure to keep your social media presence known. Be active on social media platforms. 

Some might have hesitations thinking that logistics companies don’t need Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. But, best believe, you do. 

Having one is one of the easiest and most open forms of communication between your clients. It’s akin to practicing an open-door policy in your company

You can easily look for customer feedback and provide them with easy solutions without them needing to go through customer reps. It’s a win-win situation for both sides. 

Tip #2: Reduce Waiting Time

Time is an essential aspect of any logistics business. And in the entire process from pick up to delivery, there are several points where you can reduce waiting time. 

First and foremost, ensure that your communication lines are always open and available. Establishing a comprehensive company website is essential in this day and age, regardless of what industry you belong in. 

If you are yet to create one, tap the services of an established web design company. They will handle everything from inputting the essential details of your company down to the overall design of the site. Make sure to partner with a company that prioritizes web design and development. 

Work hand-in-hand with these web design companies so that you’ll come up with a website that best caters and depicts your company’s needs and services. 

This published website will then become the go-to portal of all your clients, new and recurring. With a few clicks, they can check out your services and rates. And if your site also comes with round-the-clock chatbots, then the website also becomes the easiest and most efficient way to reach you. 

Aside from those mentioned above, the website will also serve as your company’s personal tracker. Instead of updating your clients manually about their shipment’s whereabouts, you can just update them through the site by sending them automated emails or chats. On the flip side, your customers can also use the site in the same manner. 

Some logistics companies often disregard the importance of well-designed websites because the services offered are all “offline”, but most of the clients today are almost always “online”. There is a need to bridge this disconnect. 

Tip #3: Understand and Deliver Customer Expectations

As much as goal-setting is fundamental for building businesses, expectations-setting also holds the same weight of importance. A large chunk of customer satisfaction relies on whether their expectations of your services are met or grossly missed. 

Regular and properly-crafted surveys and social media presence can help with this tip as well. But, an even more practical method to achieve this goal is to set the expectations yourself proactively. 

Say, for example, you are a logistics company that specializes in the transportation of goods. Even before a client can demand when they want their goods to arrive, make the first move. Tell them what is expected from your services. 

Provide the details on how you carry out your services. Most importantly, uphold transparency when it comes to dates. When you can pick up orders, when you can deliver, and when you can drop them off. These details are essential for your customers and they should be held as your company’s top priority too. 

Another method to meet your customers’ expectations is to do timely tool upgrades. Something as simple as bill printers can decrease your usual service time. Automatic tape machines also do the same. If you have the capacity to automate more than half of your process, then invest in it.

Tip #4: Research!

Lastly, research will always be your most valuable strategy. The demand in the logistics company started as seasonal, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. To cope with this shift, full-blown market research is an effective tool to come up with solutions. 

But, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, simple research, such as looking into new trends or new delivery technologies, can catalyze further improvement for your company. 

Final Words

Even if logistics companies handle rough or brunt work every day, that doesn’t mean that you can forego other aspects of the company. Publishing company websites, social media profiles, and regular research should go together with the labor that gets done every day. These strategies keep your company running. 

If you are yet to start these practices, make sure to conceptualize how you can effectively translate your offline presence to the online domain.

manufacturing companies

Three Surprising Ways Marketing Can Solve Manufacturers’ 2022 Challenges

Manufacturing businesses small and large have had their hands full with the fall-out of the pandemic, and while it seems the worst of the crisis is now behind us, companies will continue to grapple with how to keep both customers and employees on board despite supply chain issues, intense competition, and labor shortages.

What’s sometimes overlooked is that the marketing function can help solve three of manufacturers’ biggest challenges in 2022—if the C-suite doesn’t limit marketing’s role to lead generation.

Here are three ways marketers can help manufacturing businesses navigate the many disruptions they will continue to face next year, in ways that extend far beyond product promotion.

Supply Chain Related Communications

Up until this year, the markets were very rarely rocked by supply chain disruptions. The Wall Street Journal did not even have a logistics beat in the last few decades. In 2021, everything changed when COVID-19 caused labor shortages, disrupting the supply chain of a vast amount of finished products and base materials—just when demand for manufactured goods surged.

So how should companies communicate about delayed or canceled deliveries to their customers? One way is for marketers to segment the client database and then decide how the different tiers need to be serviced. When demand outweighs supply, choices need to be made on who will receive what, when. One useful approach is to distinguish between client segments based on profitability and potential. For each segment, decide how various customers and customer types will be prioritized. Include a comprehensive plan on how client communication will look across all channels.

Another way marketers can help companies navigate through supply chain issues is by deciding to not manage supply, but rather to manage demand. This can be done through turning down the promotional activities for a series of products that are running short or use targeted price increases to affect demand.

Customers can and will understand more than some managers may expect, but they need sensible and consistent information. For information to make sense, it needs to be based on a coherent and methodical approach to client service in a disrupted market. Customers time and again have expressed appreciation for timely communication even with “bad news” as it helps them with plans and projections.

Value Proposition

Manufacturing companies pride themselves on their legacy and track record. Claims regarding longevity and past success have a place in marketing communications. But having served your customers for many decades with products that work, is table stakes, and not something companies can use as meaningful differentiators or the basis for building customer preference.

Many businesses can still make a lot of progress in differentiating themselves successfully through a better understanding of what it is that their customers value. Insights gained through a customer survey or set of interviews (AKA Voice of Customer or VoC), as well as through consultations with sales and customer service about how purchase decisions are made, who makes and who influences those decisions and what features are important, are vital inputs for messaging that will resonate with the prospect. These insights are invaluable to company messaging and differentiation. Marketers are trained to facilitate these conversations, collect and analyze the data, and then develop and communicate a value proposition that credibly differentiates a company from its competitors.

Another category of differentiators pertains to purpose where marketers can help tell the unique origin story of the company and convey a message on purpose that extends far beyond specific product features.

Purposeful Employee Engagement

Branding is not just an external exercise. A company’s internal brand is at least as important. Defining the value proposition for employees is often overlooked and undervalued. This leads to turnover and poor retention, and hinders employee recruiting. Studies consistently show the high costs associated with onboarding and training new employees.

In many manufacturing companies, the HR function may not be well equipped to manage the complexities of employee engagement that businesses currently face. There is a part of the workforce (the white-collar one) that will work remotely, so that needs to be managed in terms of making sure people stay productive but also engaged with the brand. Marketing can especially help with the latter. With remote working more prevalent than ever, it is important for employees to understand the company’s brand promise and each employee’s role in helping to fulfill that promise.

With a labor shortage in the manufacturing sector, employees can demand more from their employers than they have in the last few decades. For some, the pecuniary aspect will be important, others will prioritize flexibility. Accommodating this is either costly (the first) or impossible to achieve for blue-collar workers (the latter). There is, however, something else to which many employees attach great value, and that can be achieved at no cost—a sense of purpose. Just as with a VoC program, a Voice of Employee (VoE) program can help employers better understand what will motivate and incentivize their associates.

Employees want to know and feel they are contributing in a meaningful way to producing a product or service that helps customers solve important problems. Marketing can help develop and implement purposeful employee communication which will help not only retain employees, but also attract new talent.

Bottom Line

Manufacturing companies will continue to have their hands full managing the fall-out of an unprecedented health crisis. They will have to successfully manage supply chain disruptions and seize opportunities to differentiate themselves. They can use their efficient approach to the current crisis, and their purpose to communicate a credible and purposeful brand that will bolster their hiring and retention of talent. Marketing can play a critical role in each of these areas when allowed to go beyond lead gen and product promotions.


Bob Sherlock and Dennis Bailen are Partners and CMOs with Chief Outsiders, the nation’s fastest growing executive-as-a-service company.


Did Your Customers Disappear? How To Get Them Back In 2022.

Perhaps orders are down, in-store traffic has hardly rebounded, revenues are frustratingly slow to return and employee spirits are in the tank as well.

When customers go away and don’t come back, business owners and CEOs are left to scratch their heads as they try to figure out why. A probable culprit is that the business failed to maintain authentic customer and employee connections while implementing the latest communication technologies that have pushed relational interactions outside of the reality of their consumer’s experience, says Phil Kelley Jr. (, author of Presence and Profitability: Understanding the Value of Authentic Communications in the Age of Hyper-Connectivity.

“Technology is rapidly changing the way people exchange information and ideas leading to tremendous efficiency opportunities, but no matter how much technology changes things, people have the same psychological need for positive human interactions,” says Kelley, who is president and CEO of Salem One, a company that specializes in direct marketing, packaging, printing and logistics.

If customers feel that they are not getting that interaction, he says, they are going to move to another business in search of it.

As businesses move into 2022, Kelley has advice for how they can bring back customers they have lost because of both external and internal communication misfires:

Customers want to talk with people, not machines. Kelley is wary of technology that cuts costs but fails to take the customer experience into account. ​​”Anyone at my company will tell you that I have a passion for answering phones as quickly as possible,” he says. “I absolutely refuse to use an automated call-response application. I know that if a client is calling us, they need something and want to talk to a person, not a machine.”

Relationships are built on true relational moments. Racking up “likes” on Facebook or Twitter, or sending and receiving canned sales pitches on LinkedIn, are not examples of really connecting with others, Kelley says. “Relationships don’t get built automatically, and leadership does not get conveyed by the number of keystrokes you make,” he says. “Success is based on the value you bring to the table, and comes only after investments of time and effort. A connection in and of itself is not a relationship, and for most people connections are missed opportunities.”

Brand communication should meet customers on their terms. Businesses often fail to get the most out of their advertising because the connection to the customer is off in some way, Kelley says. He gives as an example how online advertisements often work. If someone searches for a product, they soon see advertisements for that product on nearly every website they visit, even if the website isn’t appropriate for the brand. That can become annoying. “You need to know where your brand is showing up, and what kind of customers and potential customers your brand is in front of at all times,” Kelley says. “You also need to know who those customers are, what their tastes and preferences are, and how they do and don’t like to experience things.”

Connect in a way that turns customers into repeat customers. Long-term success depends on repeat customers, but too many businesses treat their relationship with customers as simply transactional, Kelley says. That doesn’t make for a satisfying relationship. “The highest-value communications are person-to-person, but that certainly doesn’t mean that your company can’t make a connection without those face-to-face communications,” he says. “Amazon is masterful at forging relationships with its customers just via their website. They do it by making it easy to find, order, and have delivered things that people really need or want. They make it easy to find more information on the products and make it easy to return something the customer isn’t satisfied with.”

Know that a great corporate culture results in satisfied customers. It’s well-established that an organizational culture where people feel engaged, connected and purposeful helps achieve financial success, Kelley says. “This is because the attitudes of the people in an organization ultimately reach and affect customers,” he says. “To put it simply, satisfied employees tend to foster satisfied customers. So, the time and energy you devote to creating a positive corporate culture is not an add-on to getting the job done. It’s an essential part of getting the job done – or at least, getting it done well.”

“Relationships are so important to people,” Kelley says, “that any company that makes a real connection with a customer can win that customer’s loyalty for life.”


Phil Kelley Jr. ( is the author of Presence and Profitability: Understanding the Value of Authentic Communications in the Age of Hyper-Connectivity. He also is president and CEO of Salem One, which specializes in direct marketing, packaging, printing and logistics. Kelley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Tech as well as an MBA from Clemson University. He has served on the boards of directors of multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Kelley has been an active voice in the print industry, refocusing industry success definitions within the rapidly developing world of corporate communications. 


3 Ways to Take Your Company From Product-Focused to Customer-Centric

The data: Companies that focus on being customer-centric can position themselves better for success than companies that don’t. Research shows that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable, people will spend 17% more for a good experience, and 76% of customers expect businesses to understand their needs.

The expert’s take: Dr. Debbie Qaqish (, ForbesBook author of From Backroom to Boardroom: Earn Your Seat With Strategic Marketing Operations, says more CEOs and executive teams must figure out how to transform from being product-centric to being customer-centric in a digital world.

“For decades, companies took a product-focused approach,” says Dr. Qaqish, Partner/Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group. “Marketing flooded prospects with product messaging and product conversations. Today, some companies are fleeing from this approach. The conversation is about customer problems and how they can be addressed.

“But many companies still struggle to know how to truly make customers the center of their businesses. It’s essential now in our digital world. CEOs need to realize that the customer is in control, and that companies can no longer win on product strategies alone. Business leaders need to create a corporate capability that allows the company to sense and respond to customer changes in real-time. They must have actionable customer data and use systems that track smart engagement with the customer.”

Dr. Qaqish uses a customer pyramid model to analyze how company leaders can transform their business from being product-centric to customer-centric:

-Change the mindset. To take on a customer-focused viewpoint, Dr. Qaqish says it’s essential that leaders first want to understand the customer. This could entail sitting in on customer service calls. “To get the entire company on board and engaged requires leadership implementing an action plan, including employees being empowered to make decisions geared toward customer satisfaction,” she says.

-Broaden the skill set. Dr. Qaqish lists four capabilities company leaders and employees need to become customer-centric: tech/data/analytics, marketing, business acumen, and customer knowledge and insights. “The shift to a customer focus is about building a strategic capability as a response to new strategic directions,” she says. “One big change is today’s digital customer. With a few clicks or swipes, the digital customer is firmly in control of their own journey with your company. In response, the company’s capability must include mapping, auditing, and optimizing the customer journey.”

-Sharpen the tool set. “The biggest changes in the tool set involve how technology is purchased, managed, integrated and administered,” Dr. Qaqish says. “The way your marketing technology is stacked is a highly visible indicator of your company’s true intentions regarding a customer-centric focus.” She suggests testing the marketing technology to see if it’s aligned to support and enhance the customer journey. “In the middle of a sheet of paper, draw a picture of your customer’s journey from being a prospect to a repeat buyer,” she says. “List the stages of the journey and note all of your technologies around it. Determine how much they support or enhance the stages of the customer journey. A similar exercise can be conducted with data. List the customer data sources and the type of data generated.”

“The digital age has changed the dynamic of the company-customer relationship, and businesses that don’t prioritize more attentive relationships with their customers will likely struggle,” Dr. Qaqish says.


Dr. Debbie Qaqish ( is Queen of Revenue Marketing™,  a term she coined in 2011. She is ForbesBook author of From Backroom to Boardroom: Earn Your Seat With Strategic Marketing Operations and Partner/Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, where she manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. Passionate about marketing’s new role as a revenue creator and growth driver, Dr. Debbie inspires others to embrace revenue accountability in the customer-driven economy. She has been helping B2B companies drive revenue growth for over 35 years and is a motivational speaker, a columnist for numerous marketing publications, host of Get Real with Revenue Marketing, and teaches an MBA class at The College of William & Mary on Revenue Marketing.

reverse logistics

Reverse Logistics: Turning Costs into Opportunities

In 2020, lockdown and social distancing will have pushed e-commerce to unprecedented heights. This massive 30% increase in deliveries, further amplified by the Christmas shopping season, is leading to a similar wave of returns – nearly a quarter of all e-orders are returned by customers. Here are a few essential keys to ensure that you are in good working order for returns. 

In psychology, it is said that any “feedback”, even negative, is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to better understand the other person and to improve relationships. The same is true in reverse logistics: returns are an opportunity to transform a constraint into a positive customer relationship, as long as they are processed through all channels, the reasons for them are analyzed and the rate of returns is reduced.

Distancing will have strengthened online shopping

According to TNS Sofres, 89% of French people intended to use e-commerce for their holiday shopping in 2020. This period, as short as it is crucial, was expected to generate more than 22 billion euros in sales. In terms of deliveries, an operator like La Poste will have managed peaks of more than 4 million packages per day during this extraordinary period!

45 %  

Is the proportion of consumers who have returned at least one product purchased online in France within the year. Only Germany and The Netherlands have a higher rate in Europe.1

Reverse logistics, a commercial opportunity.

Before being a backward process, from receiver to sender, returns are an essential selling point. They represent the third decision factor of e-commerce customers, after price and delivery terms!

The consumer, therefore, expects clear information on the retraction periods used (increasing them to one or two months more increases the transformation rate), on the proposed methods (deposit in the mailbox, exchange or refund in the store, transport to the home), on the refund periods (beyond five days, they become an obstacle to the purchase).

Thinking downstream upstream

The return to sender is a channel for customer relations and satisfaction. For this, the keyword is unification. The retailer must be able to access homogeneous and centralized data on each order and its components (financial, logistical, marketing), whether the customer has ordered from a merchant site, in a store, via a market place or a call center.

Reverse logistics is also prepared from the moment of delivery, by simplifying the return procedure through the insertion of pre-addressed labels or by inviting the customer to visit the point of sale. If the products are returned to distribution platforms, the system will have to provide information on these temporary stocks and supervise the correct repackaging of the products, reducing the number of operations in order to optimize both time and costs.

WMS: the control tower

Such a capacity requires, in the background, the latest generation of Warehouse Management Software. This WMS process returns in real-time, regardless of volume and type. They provide an overview of their status, nature and reallocation: back to sales, forwarding to suppliers, destruction or recycling.

The latest generation of WMSs also list all physical and commercial characteristics: terms of sale, order history, via sequential package numbers and the various encodings used (GTIN 128, QR codes, RFID or Datamatrix).

To learn more, please visit our dedicated page.

Multiple benefits

Unified, the backward supply chain reduces the time it takes to put products back on sale, and thus reduces markdowns. Quickly and accurately classified through the WMS, returned products protect the brand’s margins and prices.

Reverse logistics also helps to: identify “serial returners”, know the context of each transaction, record special conditions (made accessible via any channel, at any time).

Another positive aspect is that return statistics influence commercial policy, by decoding consumer habits and customer expectations. The reasons for returns also constitute an alert on the quality of the products: informed in time, the after-sales service can deal with the situation with the suppliers concerned.

Finally, if the customer returns his order to a point of sale, it is an opportunity to offer him a discount coupon, a complementary product or a higher range, to introduce him to a new service. Before being a transaction, commerce is really about relationships.

End-to-end, omnichannel returns monitoring provides valuable insights into the impact of returns on replenishment, product availability and offering relevance. Unified reverse logistics processing creates two strategic advantages for retailers. Commercially, it is a loyalty and growth tool, a key element of a personalized relationship. Financially and logistically, it is an important lever for savings and simplification. It would therefore be a shame, and even harmful, to deprive ourselves of this partner

Statista, 2018.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.