Competitive Marketing Procurement Service Providers

Published November 2021

It has never been more difficult to sustain margins and retain customers than it is now, in late 2021 and will continue to be as we move into 2022.

Increasing prices or adding surcharges is becoming the industry norm. Allowing for, what is hopefully, short term cost increases in supplied materials, resulting from energy cost increases and supply chain disruptions.

In this environment pressure on margins is significant, meaning you are constantly working harder and harder for less return.

This compounded with competitive pressures makes it tempting to think price decreases are the only option that is open to you. Further compounding your margin issues.

Price decreases, though, are not the only approach.

As a Marketing Service Provider, delivering a service that supports your customers brand initiatives and ensuring their marketing campaigns run smoothly is equally as important as price. If not more important when you consider the damage associated with a failing campaign. A smooth automated supply of goods and services is expected: enabling employees to make rapid purchases and accept goods and services quickly and with minimum effort.

Plus, the customer sees knowledge of the supply chain as increasingly important to them and their ability to address sustainability and environmental concerns. If you are able to ensure that supply is constrained to specific suppliers and supply chains then this adds value to your offer.

If you cannot make yourself distinct from your competitors, then you will only be able to adjust prices to win business.

  1. Understanding the changing expectations of the new user

    The buying process has changed over the last 10 years. The internet has revolutionised the way we all do business. Today's buyer is looking for solutions that make their lives easier.

    The experience is now buying from online stores like Amazon. Where they order from a catalogue with a click, they get a confirmation by email, they can track where their order is and chase it online if it is delayed. They don't want to be emailing and calling to check on every little detail. They want a buying experience that is smooth, efficient and predictable.

    In addition, there is an expectation, from the user, that you are selecting suppliers that are making real changes in context of sustainable supply. Your own workforce, as well as your customers, expect to see changes and want to know that you are in control of the supply chain.

  2. Improve your current offering

    So if you could give your customers their own shopfront you could make their buying experience happier and more efficient. Providing buyer portals that allow each customer to have their own unique environment and supply chain.

    Claritum’s experience is that providing a branded and familiar shopping experience for customers results in a high level of adoption and usage.

    A system is required that makes it easy for customers to search, configure and order products and services and gives Print Service Providers the tools to automate their supplier relationships, order processes and make their operations more efficient. A system that allows for automation of the collaboration process between customers, expert buyers and suppliers: allowing collaboration on all aspects of the purchase lifecycle.

    Collaboration with Claritum
  3. Hold onto existing customers for longer

    We all know that it takes a lot more effort, time and luck to get a new client than to keep an existing one.

    The key to keeping customers is delivering the value that was promised, providing attention to detail and offering something that continues to improve the way the business operates.

    You cannot have the staff available to dedicate a customer service rep (CSR) to each customer. Automation and process efficiencies are critical so that your resources can focus on the key opportunities.

    We have found that when marketing service providers have implemented a customer portal for their customers, they keep those customers longer. Going the extra mile to provide your customers with a personalised catalogue and RFQ process means you become more valuable to them, and they will be much less likely to take their business elsewhere: it is their portal and they are in control.

    Journey to best practice for Procurement

    Combing this storefront and RFQ system ensures you have a unique portal for each customer. Where they can order both Bespoke and off the shelf items through the same system.

    New suppliers, products and services can be added uniquely to each customer as required. And, as the customer requirements evolve the portal can be changed and new process steps added if needed.

  4. Increase spend from existing customers

    Do you know how much your existing customers spend?

    Could you pull up a report that shows show how much each one of your clients spent over the last quarter or year that is broken down by services and products? Or would you have to look through disorganised manual records or access multiple systems to get to that information?

    If you can analyse your customers spend you can anticipate it. If you know what they ordered in the past you can nudge them to reorder in the future.

    So how smoothly can you handle reorders for a customer? If the reordering process is manual it could lead to mistakes. For example; if a customer requests to reorder some new business cards and asks that they have the same specification as last time, could you easily handle this? Your customer will assume that you have accurate records detailing their past orders. They won't feel they need to explain what they need again. They may not even be the person that placed the original order, all they know is that they want the same thing again and they expect you to know what that was.

    If you don't have accurate records then you can end up getting the order wrong.

    The customer wanted attention to detail but what he got was a mistake. A mistake like this costs businesses customers, and it can be avoided if you have automated ordering processes in place.

    Once orders are automated and stored in a cloud-based system you can access them at any time, orders are not lost and you can hang on to them for as long as you like. If a customer wants to reorder something that they last ordered 2 years ago you won't have to say that "our records don't go back that far" you can look it up in your system and impress your customer with your efficiency. Automated re-ordering also takes up less of your staffs time, leaving them free to focus on getting new customers for the business.

  5. Claritum delivers a solution

    Claritum delivers a solution that covers the requirements for an Outsourced Marketing Service Provider

    Claritum scope image

    • Manage campaigns as projects
    • Manage customers through their own portals
    • Automate supplier interactions and RFQs
    • One controlled data source for transactions
    • Combine Category, Project and Bespoke activity on one system
    • Provide portal access in multiple languages and currencies
    • Give access to individual portals anywhere and at any time
    • Ensure purchases are only from approved suppliers
    • Deliver management reports that make a difference

    Request contact to find out how we can help you and your customers achieve excellence.

    Or see our ASL Global customer case study