Ditch the Pepsi Blues, Already: Become a Marketing Procurement Asset Part II

Today’s guest post is by Brian Seipel, a marking project expert at Source One focussed on helping corporations achieve both marketing and procurement objectives in their strategic sourcing projects.

In our last post we noted that when Pepsi did away with their marketing procurement department, it was a big deal, but it wasn’t really a shock. Marketing teams have never had a great relationship with procurement. Procurement is still trying to get their foot in the door when it comes to marketing spend, so it isn’t too much of a surprise if that door occasionally gets shut in procurement’s face.

But, despite this example, Procurement should not have anything to worry about. Organizations don’t get rid of marketing procurement — they get rid of bad marketing procurement. And if Procurement can demonstrate value, Marketing will listen. How does Procurement do that? As per yesterday’s post, it starts by becoming an asset, not a roadblock. The next step is to …


Work with marketing to establish which group should lead discussions on different aspects of agency selection. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but quantifiable apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult, if not impossible, for some marketing initiatives. Concede the value-oriented comparisons to marketing, but take charge where a number crunching comparison is warranted.
Procurement pros also need to do a better job at understanding marketing goals as well as how objectives are phrased using a marketer’s language:

  • Markets select agencies as partners, not vendors. There’s more at play than who can do a job at the lowest cost.
  • Tune into ROI. A marketer wins not by reducing the dollars they spend, but by improving outcomes of what those dollars buy.
  • Promote actions that achieve your long-term goals. Instead of focusing on cost avoidance, work with marketing teams and agencies to establish process improvements that lead to greater efficiency.

A failure to speak the same language or understand priorities is a big reason that procurement is alienated from marketing initiatives; getting on the same page in these ways helps.

These goals don’t always align with the costs savings mandate procurement pros are tasked with, which necessitates a discussion with the top brass to iron out inconsistencies. The point we need to make is simple; I would rather take part in guiding procurement on Marketing’s terms than have no say at all. All of our value counts for nothing if procurement gets overlooked and shut out because we don’t offer compromises.


Spend time with a marketer, and you’ll see what they want out of an agency. All of those key qualities need to apply to procurement, as well.

They want to have a relationship with their agencies, not just a series of transactions. They want to work with an agency that not only carries a brand’s identity, but can support their vision for how growing it. They want an agency that can turn on a dime to support new, hot, unconventional campaigns — and has the knowledge to assist in the decision making process for any uncharted waters.

They want an agency that “gets it”. If we want that seat at the table, procurement needs to “get it”, too.

Thanks, Brian.