In our last post, we noted that most Sourcing and (e-) Procurement platforms are not appropriate for Marketing and Services Management. We gave a number of reasons for this, but the big ones can be summarized as:
- lack of a creative, digital, or advertising suppliers in a supplier network
- lack of an appropriate project definition for marketing projects
- lack of an appropriate workflow for marketing or services projects
- lack of appropriate collaboration for internal and external partners
Marketing, unlike Procurement, needs to be as focussed on the relationship and the creative as Procurement needs to be focussed on the cost and the deliverable. It’s all about the message, the delivery, and the brand. That’s more than just a DVD with 30 seconds of a TV spot, a zipped download of a new website, or a document outlining a new brand building campaign.
That’s why marketing needs a solution that allows it to:
- identify new suppliers it would not find otherwise that might be able to serve its creative, digital, or advertising needs to help it increase returns while keeping costs in line
- define marketing projects in a way that allows for meaningful RFPs, evaluations, and workflows
- allow Marketing to collaborate with Procurement, Engineering, and other internal stakeholders in a manner that is conscious of organizational strategy and budgets
- allows Marketing to collaborate with suppliers and track progress, deliverables, milestone, and overall supplier relationship with marketing suppliers
Shortlist.co, which will be doing a major North American launch early next year, is a new web-based platform that will allow a Marketing organization to do all of this. This platform has three major elements:
Vetted, Indexed, Supplier Network
The platform contains thousands of global suppliers in the advertising, creative, and digital space that are vetted by Shortlist.co as real and capable of performing the advertised service offerings. They are indexed by location (from region down to city level), size, and offering.
Services Project Management
Everything in the platform revolves around a project. Project creation is quite simple, as all a user has to do is enter a name (which can be changed later), and optionally assign it to a campaign (which can be done later) and a category for budgetary purposes (which can be done later and changed later as well). Once a project is created, a user provides a description, creates and / or attaches an RFX, selects suppliers to distribute the request to, defines a response due date, and the project is launched. Alternatively, if this is a project that is undertaken on a regular basis, the user might just select a template, make a few alterations, update the supplier list, define the response dates, and launch. Then, the user defines a review team, sends out the review invitations, and when the responses come back, the review team can independently and collectively review and comment on the proposals. Once one has been accepted, the budget can be revised and recategorized, and at all times the team can see how much of the budget has been allocated year to date and how it breaks down into campaigns and categories (such as UX design, web site development, tv spots, internet video, social media campaigns, etc.).
Collaborative RFX Capability
While RFX is not unique to the platform, it is extremely well integrated into the project and has all of the functionality one would expect in the creation of a detailed RFX for services. In addition, the tool supports side by side comparison of multiple responses to make evaluation by each team member easy, and can aggregate the scorings from multiple team members to allow for organizational ranking, allowing each team member’s input to be taken into account during agency selection. Furthermore, the weighting adjusts to the actual number of reviewers who have commented on an item, so that if only one of three reviewers has an opinion, a 9 (out of 10) does not become a weighted 3.
The insights capability is still being built out, but right now the platform also supports an initial set of project and partner comparison reports that allow an organization to answer, at a minimum:
- how award allocations compare to budgets
- how spend breaks down by category and campaign
- which suppliers have the most projects
- which suppliers have the most spend (by category)
- the success rate of each supplier
The platform, which is being designed to be the marketing and service award, management, and collaboration tool between stakeholders and suppliers, fills a big need in many mid-size organizations today which have nothing to appropriately manage marketing and service spend, and even less that Marketing and Service Management can use. As a 100% multi-tenant SaaS solution, this allows a marketing organization to start immediately with no IT, or Procurement, support but yet involve IT and Procurement in all of their projects. Shortlist.co is definitely a solution that should be on your organization’s shortlist for agency & services management