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By Christine Moore
Managing Partner at Raus Global, Christine Moore, reviews the highlights and key takeaways from this year’s live event.
Procurement as an Ally
“Procurement needs to overcommunicate to agency leadership and staff that operational efficiencies are desired and help agencies plan and execute these projects for mutual benefits. Procurement can step up and be an ally for these conversations”
We saw a great turnout both in the number of participants as well as the number of sponsors at the ProcureCon conference last week. Topics covered a vast range, such as marketing procurement’s role in success, AI and the Metaverse, digital transformation, simplifying the RFP process and agency evaluations. Here’s some of the most actionable advice for marketing procurement to focus on in the next seven weeks of the year.
In a landscape and industry facing inflation and a potential worldwide recession, marketers need to stay focused and vigilant around transparency to drive real marketing effectiveness.
Some of us feel that we have gained transparency into our agency partners, but the truth is that we rarely see beyond the first level of partners. It is now imperative to focus on the entire value chain, starting with our direct agency partners, but encourage equal transparency into other agency partners, affiliates, mar-tech providers etc. We cannot continue to only scrutinize the first level agency.
The conference kicked off with a keynote by Stephen Broderick of MMC and while mentioning the table-stakes of procurement and marketing collaboration, sustainability, diversity, he quickly turned the focus to media and marketing effectiveness. Effectiveness in this space requires full transparency across and within your various supply chains.
ANA is currently undertaking an ambitious project to push complete transparency into the entire programmatic value chain. Marketers need to support and help drive the agenda to ensure more transparency in this space. Equally, further investigation into inventory deals need to take place – why do marketers only have access to the best priced media deals if they waive all rights to see the cost of that media?
Three key questions to ask yourself and your marketing team:
Clear strategic imperative and aligned KPIs
Other hot topics for marketing procurement that emerged from different conversations was the need to clearly align KPIs across marketing, procurement as well as the organization. At the risk of sounding repetitive – yes, the entire organization need to have one set of goals – often referred to as strategic imperatives.
The KPIs for each division, department and team need to be aligned to these goals, even if the direct KPIs will impact different areas to drive those goals. Having a genuine and open discussion with different stake holders upfront (and the beginning of each fiscal year) is imperative to be able to deliver successfully across the company.
Some of the specific hot topics mentioned at the conference were the focus on clear plans and priorities across all marketing channels. Integration and conversion are key to marketing teams and procurement can support that by ensuring that key partners are delivering both in terms of results but also on commercial and contractual commitments.
Procurement needs to focus on delivering on the strategic priorities to the stakeholders and not only focus on savings or cost-cutting. The end goals should be to support the organization to deliver value.
At the risk at sounding old-school, marketing procurement is different from most other categories within procurement. Our key stakeholder – marketing – is razor focused on delivering unique customer experiences to every potential customer.
While financial delivery is important to every organization in the for-profit sector, it is paramount to follow the philosophy of driving efficiencies, effectiveness, and simplification first, and as a result, savings will come. As one attendee said “while cost savings is a measurement, driving value creation is the end goal.
Manage your stakeholders
The advice from all members on the panel is to target your conversation to the stakeholders. While we focus on transparency and openness in our conversations with everyone, discussing all issues with all people is a bad idea. Make sure each stakeholder remains engaged, committed, and supportive by highlighting the agenda points that concern them, not the entire organization.
From the participants representing the agency networks or individual agencies, we heard a similar message. Marketing procurement is key to the success of any agency relationship. Common ground and openness are important.
It is important for marketing procurement to demonstrate understanding of the agency situation and work together on solving these when they impact both sides. For example, new salary disclosure laws in certain states will impact talent significantly and this is an area where marketing procurement can help agencies in determining the impact on the marketing relationship.
Having an open dialogue with agency staff will often generate a win-win scenario and agencies attending the conference believe in strong and candid conversation to drive further collaboration and value generation. Agencies understand that marketing procurement is focused on wrapping as much value into a deal as possible.
Turning the conversation to the internal marketing procurement team, after two and some years, it is key to focus on building group energy again. It is hard as many companies have chosen to become hybrid in terms of working in the office and working remotely, but as a leader, it is important to plan and engage in team activities and be open in communications, goals and KPIs. Transparency about these areas creates employee engagement and loyalty.
While many folks understand savings to mean fee reduction, marketing procurement has moved away from cracking the whip on fees alone in the past few years. Fees should be set at a reasonable level with transparency demonstrating its benefits and value to both parties. Marketing procurement is now much more focused on identifying operational savings.
To implement operational efficiencies, it is important that the agency personnel feel confident to bring issues to the table and for procurement to ask the hard questions. Again, the word collaboration, rust and engagement were used to describe these mutually beneficial discussions.
Procurement needs to overcommunicate to agency leadership and staff that operational efficiencies are desired and help agencies plan and execute these projects for mutual benefits. Procurement can step up and be an ally for these conversations.
Many agencies and marketing procurement departments have delivered optimization over the past two years. These now need to be solidified and worked into the day-to-day environment – the new normal. By doing this, the procurement team can shift from an old-school mentality of being reactive to becoming proactive and push best-in-class partner enablement. Procurement can lead the change in this field.
Be ready to rumble
As a final question, marketing procurement was asked what actions leading procurement executives should take NOW to be ready to rumble in 2023 and an astonishingly common theme emerged among the participants. They all said that prioritization is the only way to succeed. It is clear. That marketing procurement cannot do it all.
During the last few years, the procurement agenda has increased with sustainability and diversity activity, the agency world is becoming more complex by the day, the players are merging, divesting and introducing new services by the minute – therefore “relentless prioritization” has become the new normal for marketing procurement. To prioritize successfully, procurement leaders should evaluate the projects based on three objectives:
While marketing procurement must relentlessly prioritize projects on their agenda, the industry has seen more utilization of service firms supporting marketing procurement in the delivery of goals. While procurement is clear that they cannot do it all – they also understand that they can capitalize on external resources to help them deliver on a larger number by utilizing temporary resources, which either identify opportunities or implement on opportunities already identified in the marketing procurement’s daily business.
Christine Moore is Managing Partner at Raus Global