The obsolescence of marketing materials constitutes a major problem for many companies.  The CMO Council has said that obsolescence creates an "epidemic of waste" that undermines the development of an efficient marketing supply chain.  Consider just a few of the findings from a recent CMO Council survey.

  • 60% of survey respondents said they spend at least 20% of their total marketing budget on marketing "consumables" (primarily printed materials such as marketing collateral documents, promotional items, and point-of-sale materials), and 30% of respondents said they devote at least 30% of their budget to such materials.

  • Over 70% of respondents said they do not track the obsolescence of marketing materials.

  • Companies that do track obsolescence report large amounts of waste.  Forty percent of respondents said they waste 20% or more of their marketing materials because of obsolescence.

Source:  Mapping + Tracking:  The Optimized Marketing Supply Chain(CMO Council, 2010)

Obsolete marketing materials represent a complete waste of precious marketing dollars.  The cost of obsolete materials is essentially an investment in marketing communications that never reach the intended audience.  A closet or storeroom or trash container filled with obsolete marketing materials is a tangible manifestation of budget funds that could have been used to support productive marketing programs.

Just as important, obsolete marketing materials can have a major negative impact on marketing effectiveness.  Forty-two percent of the respondents to the CMO Council survey said that fresh marketing content is critical to their go-to-market strategy, but 51% of respondents admitted they had used marketing materials that contained outdated content.  In today's business environment, every interaction with a potential buyer is important, and sales can easily be lost if prospects are provided outdated information.

The good news is that obsolete marketing materials are no longer an inevitable "cost of doing business."  I've posted a new marketing resource at Scribd that describes how web-to-print solutions can greatly reduce and, in some cases, completely eliminate the waste caused by obsolescence.  With marketing budgets under constant pressure, a solution that can eliminate the waste (and costs) of obsolescence becomes extremely valuable.  Therefore, if you're a web-to-print solution provider, this should be a major part of your marketing message.

You can access the new resource here.