March came in with Red Robins hopping around the still snow covered grounds of Gramercy Park.
The primary colored Calder stood tall as its shapes moved in the light breeze.
I apologize for the delay in this letter.
The good news:
I got my first dose of the COVID vaccine Tuesday.
The bad news:
I’ve been sleeping since I got it.
As a result, this letter will be a short one.
While I’m happy to be vaccinated and excited about starting this return journey to normalcy, I’m still disturbed by the difficult and chaotic process that I went through getting an appointment.
I was thrilled to qualify under the recent guidelines because I have asthma.
I thought this would be the big hurdle.
But it wasn’t.
Instead I had to visit slow, difficult-to-use site after site. Each required me to fill out long forms before I could see if any time slots were available.
And even then, I had to keep checking each one every day—early in the morning and late at night. I got lucky last Saturday and found a new batch of available appointments for this past Tuesday.
What surprised me most was the lack of people waiting for their shot at the vaccination location—a high school. Being a New Yorker, I always expect to wait on a line. But I was the only person there!
COVID vaccine supply and distribution highlight important elements of your business that have an impact on your marketing.
This underscores Peter Drucker‘s approach that marketing must be integrated across your business. Unless all elements of your business work together, you can’t deliver your product, services and/or content to the people who want and need it.
As a result, you marketing fails to achieve its goals.
Why is managing supply important to your marketing?
Because you need enough product and services for every prospect and customer who wants it.
Estimating the amount of supply you need to produce is difficult. Most companies have a range. You either produce too much or not enough. I recommended erring on the side of too much. Otherwise you may lose customers to competitors who can deliver the goods sooner.
Fortunately the US has new vaccine options and increased production.
Actionable Marketing Supply Tips:
- Know your audience. Take the time to TALK to your best customers and end-users. Use this information to help project how much supply you need.
- Work with other businesses to deliver higher than usual quantities of products. This includes making sure that you have the necessary inputs, and production facilities in your supply train.
- Access options for using excess production capacity to meet other customer needs. This can be a lifeline for your business when the supply train breaks down.
Why does product and service distribution matter to your marketing?
You can have the best marketing in the world and attract prospects who want and need your product. But, if you can’t get your product to them in a timely and easy-to-use way, then you disappoint them. Even worse, they will look for other options to fill their need.
Actionable Marketing Distribution Tips:
- Diversify your distribution methods. Where possible use several distributors so that you can continue to get product to customers of one distributor can’t support your needs.
- Offer prospect and customers multiple ways to order from you and to have products delivered or picked up. For example, I would have had an easier time getting my vaccination appointment if I could have called and waited for someone. Alternatively, if I could have sent an email or text or left a phone number for a call back.
- Test other options. For example, pharmacies are offering vaccines in my neighborhood, but impose stricter requirements than the CDC and New York state recommend. Explore other ways to serve customers and bring in revenue when distribution networks break down as they did in Texas last week.
On Tuesday I led the Voice Lunch discussion on the topic of marketing. As background, Voice Lunch is a set of Zoom-based conversations across a variety of topics related to voice platforms and technologies. You are welcome to join the conversation. Visit: https://register.voicelunch.com/ to register.
Have patience since the conversations can be difficult to understand at first. Many of the people who attend have deep technical and conversational design experience.
But don’t worry—They’re very friendly and answer your questions no matter how simple they seem.
If you join the International Voice Lunch on Tuesdays at noon (NY time / 9am CA time), I am usually there. I’d be thrilled if you joined me. I’m happy to answer your questions.
I hope you, your family and friends, and your community stay healthy and safe.
If you qualify for a COVID vaccination, get one. Even if you sleep for a few days like I did, it helps you avoid worse alternatives: serious illness, hospitalization or death. And help your family and friends find appointments for opportunities to get vaccinated.
As always feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or other input that can help our broader community.
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