Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices


As supply chain issues create out-of-stock scenarios across industries, brands are missing the opportunity to better align their marketing, sales and supply chain leaders.

Marketing Can Support Supply Chain Management 

As product shortages and long-lead times continue, both customers and employees are feeling the strain. Between the lack of dock space for cargo ships and a shortage of truck drivers, experts predict that we’ll continue to see shortages until 2023. So how is this affecting brand loyalty? And how can brands improve customer experience during this crisis? 

Supply Problems Affect Brand Loyalty

New research from McKinsey reveals that product availability is the single most important purchasing factor. Only 13 percent of respondents who faced out-of-stock products in the past three months say they waited for an item to come back in stock. A whopping 71 percent switched retailers or brands.

As consumers develop new shopping habits, it’s time for marketers to re-evaluate their approach:

  1. Marketers need to better familiarize themselves with their company’s distribution and supply chain.
  2. Internal teams need to work together to help alleviate this crisis.

Here are several key steps brands can take ensure brand loyalty remains strong.

Do Not Cut Ad Spend

It’s no surprise that the brands with ongoing advertising campaigns are the most successful. While some brands are cutting their spending, others are taking advantage of the opportunity to snag new customers, shift loyalty or promote other products and services. Be flexible but keep your eye on the long-term goal of building customer loyalty. Brands that continue to run campaigns can experience several benefits:


  • Continue to collect first-party data which will support data-drive marketing decisions.
  • Continue to test and optimize ad copy while keeping existing customers away from competitors.
  • Test new opportunities like loyalty programs or allow shoppers to pre-buy.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Maintain Open Communication

You have numerous communication channels available. Use email, SMS or even advertising to tell customers when items are back in stock. If delays occur, use these channels to provide updates. Customers won’t be thrilled about delays, but they will appreciate a thoughtful update.

Internal communication is imperative as well. By working collaboratively, you’ll avoid overpromising and under-delivering which can be a detriment to brand loyalty.

Create Contingency Plans

A crisis scenario has the potential to interrupt business and significantly damage your reputation. But crisis planning is not just for your PR team. Work together to determine a Plan B for every scenario ranging from raw materials shortages to closures due to variant outbreaks. Effective communication during a crisis can be the difference between a positive outcome and irreparable damage.

Your Next Steps

Our supply chain issues won’t disappear overnight. Now is the ideal time to update your response strategy across business units. Use this opportunity to explore how to build stronger relationships and keep loyal customers happy.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about marketing during times of crisis? Reach out to us directly.


Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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