In 2022, influencers dominated consumer product marketing on social media. Emerging seemingly out of nowhere, they promoted products on Instagram and other social media channels and turned them into unexpected successes. Nowadays, established brands make extensive use of influencers to boost demand for their products. Recently, however, well-known cosmetics brands have seen celebrities suddenly launch their own fragrance or makeup brand and leverage their large number of followers to generate millions in sales through an Instagram-linked web shop – leaving a significant dent in the established cosmetics brands’ forecasting!
As a supply chain trendwatcher with quite a following on LinkedIn, I follow these kinds of developments keenly. This has also set me thinking about my own position in the supply chain world. Have I myself perhaps become an influencer in the eyes of supply chain professionals?
Lora Cecere, founder of the small US analyst firm Supply Chain Insights, has far more followers on LinkedIn than I do: more than 330,000, compared to ‘just’ 17,000 followers of my own. I am curious about how much influence she has over all those followers. Cecere writes frequently, and rightly so, about the need for companies to create a more ‘outside-in’ supply chain based on various market signals, and those include posts by Instagram influencers. So do Lora’s blogs influence companies’ supply chain planning behaviour? I know that her blogs are tremendously well read, but in them she often complains that companies are still frustratingly slow to embrace and apply her vision (which I endorse, by the way).
Incidentally, the same holds true for the bottleneck theory of the late logistics guru, Eli Goldratt. His book called The Goal was the most widely read management book of all time, but it frustrated Goldratt that so few manufacturing companies applied his perfectly logical theory in practice.
Annual LinkedIn performance
To monitor the performance of my posts on this website, I have been keeping a close eye on the LinkedIn statistics over the past few months. The 12-month figures (see image below) show that my posts on LinkedIn generated nearly 2 million views last year. That in itself is amazing, but what is particularly interesting is that a much greater number of people have been seeing and reading my posts on LinkedIn since June 2022.
Like a true demand planner, I am now analysing the data to figure out where this sudden boost came from. One thing I know is that, around that time, LinkedIn labelled our Supply Chain Movement group as ‘one of the most engaging groups on LinkedIn’. Perhaps that had a knock-on effect on my own profile? In addition, I’ve discovered that posts of our own visuals, such as the Strategy Compass, the Supply Chain Ecosystem, the End-to-End Visibility Assessment and the Top 28 Supply Chain Executives in Europe, generate huge numbers of views.
Use of the tools
The big question that now remains is to what extent my followers actually embrace and use these various practical tools within their companies. Hopefully this will become apparent in the course of this year. I wish all the companies and their supply chain professionals every success in managing their business in the face of a growing number of unexpected effects, including those that are caused by up-and-coming influencers.
Martijn Lofvers, Chief Trendwatcher Supply Chain Media