In many organizations, Marketing is still one of those sacred cow categories that Procurement has (very) little influence over but yet often accounts for (up to) 20% of spend. It’s also one of those categories that, like packaging, logistics, and MRO, straddles the boundary between direct and indirect (which are, as you know, two categorizations that SI despises because it’s strategy and complexity that matters). And, even though it (should) have a substantial impact on sales and revenue, the reality is that it has a much greater effect on the bottom line as an average marketing organization is overspending in the double digit percentages on a significant percentage of its spend — especially when the spend is on consumables (like print) or commodity services (like website design, social media marketing, or production overhead costs).
But mastering the marketing way is not easy — marketers, like financiers, have their own language, their own modus operandi, and their own tastes and in each aspect are often quite different than Procurement, who they tend to distrust because they tend to firmly believe you have to spend (lots of) money to make money, so Procurement’s agenda of reducing spend runs counter to everything they believe in. And, conversely, Marketing’s traditional focus of spending their entire budget to raise brand profile and sales (even if not absolutely necessary) runs counter to everything Procurement believes in.
But this is just the tip of the marketing mayhem that Procurement has to get a grip on if it wants to help the organization get a grip on marketing spend. In order to even get through the door and get a foot in the marketing department, Procurement not only has to appear non-threatening and not focussed entirely on spend reduction, but has to talk the talk (and master the marketing lingo), walk the walk (and dress for marketing success), and live the life (to the point that they are comfortable with the marketing way).
But this just get’s Procurement in the room. In order to get Marketing to listen, the “savings” message has to be buried, and the focus has to be on what marketing cares about — helping them get the best creative talent and ensuring they have as much money as possible to do this. (In other words, it’s about helping Marketing achieve “cost control” on non-value added products, like print, and services, like commodity social media campaign management, web design, or production house services.) The best value marketing can bring is a campaign that increases brand value (perception), and this takes the best talent, who want the top dollar. Procurement has to be able to convince Marketing that they can help Marketing do this by better cost control and better processes.
Then, once Procurement get’s the core messaging right, they have to bring the right process messaging. Some Marketing departments are still in fax, email, and spreadsheet hell when it comes to tenders, bids, and negotiations. They don’t have good supporting platforms, processes, or tender management support. This is the value — and power — that Procurement can bring. But the messaging has to go beyond the canned e-Negotiation messaging that Procurement was sold on. Marketing projects are not typical products or services and Procurement has to understand this to get Marekting’s support.
Procurement has to understand Agency (Lifecycle) Management, the importance of scope of work, the nature of agency search consultants, market intelligence (for marketing), and campaign management, among other critical marketing terms and techniques. When you put it all together, the education and understanding needed to even approach the sacred cow marketing spend is quite considerable indeed, and the education available to you quite limited. Until now.
Over on Spend Matters Plus, the first three parts of a new six-part series on How to Get Marketing Spend Under Management by the sourcing doctor and the spend anarchist are up for your educational pleasure. This in-depth series, which will take you through mastering the marketing way, understanding the value drivers, engaging executive support, bringing a message of structure and support in agency management, going deep on tender support, and agency intelligence, is just what you need to understand marketing and finally get marketing spend under control in 2016.
We hope that this ground-breaking first-of-its-kind series is just what you need to take your organization’s spend management to the next level. For those of you wanting to dive in, here are links to the first three posts: