Interview with marketing procurement expert Tina Fegent
A procurement client said to me recently that it is only a matter of time before marketing procurement is seen as the agents of change. The enablers to work alongside their marketing clients to be able to help them achieve their marketing goals by making sure that the right agencies / suppliers are in place with the correct commercial framework around them. Whilst working in this area for 25 years and constantly battling the negativity of us being involved in the marketing spend, I think that this tide is now turning.
We have had recent events that have highlighted that the commercial relationship with some sectors of the marketing spend aren’t as transparent as they should be. Whilst this may be ok with some parties, it does matter when it affects the strategy that the marketing client is pursuing and it certainly doesn’t help in the key element of a relationship that is built on people and high levels of service – trust.
Marketing Procurement is the most dynamic, exciting, forward thinking; customer centric and entrepreniual category of spend to work in.
Agents of change will be pushing the boundaries more in marketing procurement, driving better value, asking and auditing for transparency as well as forging long strategic relationships with agencies.
Procurement can help marketers take risks
In the wake of the economic downturn and the Brexit and Presidential election result in the UK and USA, many brands, and marketers, have found themselves paralyzed by fear. Whether that is a fear of losing market share to a rival, of alienating consumers, or on a personal level losing their job; marketers have baulked at taking a risk.
Procurement will help to create an environment where they can take risks. We all know that no one got sacked for buying IBM, but would you have banked on buying an Apple product not so long ago. Procurement will look to try new suppliers, want to look at start up’s; try different commercial principles, put everything at risk with a gain share in place or look at the case for investing in technology to drive efficiencies and consider ways of working.
Procurement can help bind organisations and agencies
Sometimes agencies are not aware of this simplest of objectives. Clients can be poor at sharing data and research findings with their key agencies. Procurement want agencies and suppliers to deliver and can help both sides to the share information so everyone knows what direction you are going in. Knowledge is power as they say. So engage with Procurement in the future to ensure that you get the data and information that you need as agencies to do the job for them.
Positive Procurement vibes
Procurement and the client stakeholders are sometimes not aligned, are Marketing sharing and working closely with their strategic agency partners? Time and time again, I see relationships breaking down as marketing use the entry of procurement into this category as a reason to be negative about their role and the value that they bring. The UK Magic and Logic initiative in 2006 was all about the 3 parties working together, yes it is that old but still as up to date as ever.
For me it is about looking forward, being positive, calling out bad practice and agencies investing time and money into understanding how procurement works and how, by engaging with them, they can make it work.
Breaking the odd rule
Whilst Procurement have to operate within the laws of the land of course, I think Procurement in the future will and should embrace maverick thinking and guard against the curse of marginal thinking when managing the key relationship that are in place with the suppliers and agencies of the marketing community.
Key future trends
The key trends that I see in the future don’t really vary too much for what I have been saying for many years:
- Procurement to work closer with their marketing client’s to ensure that whilst the basics are covered (fees, contracts, audits), they need to move up the supply chain and ensure that measurement and effectiveness is in place for the investment that is made in marketing. The ANA study in the USA last year supports these as key recommendations from their recent media investigation.
- Procurement should take joint ownership of the ROI /Investment agenda. This is a weak area for clients and I do think that Procurement have a role to play in helping marketing understand the investment and measurement that is needed. ROI should be integral to every marketing plan. It is as important as understanding your target audience and developing brand positioning
- Procurement will develop robust SRM programmes for all key marketing relationships be they agencies, production suppliers or media owners. They should be 360 degree with all sides participating in a regular review session. I recommend 6 monthly and agencies, if clients aren’t doing, need to invest in this area
- Procurement will drive or support the drive and investment to embrace technology – the agency ecosystem that will drive efficiencies for the client organisation. For me, ways of working, against 360 degree with all sides participating is key to maintaining the relationships, and stop, sometimes, unnecessary pitches for the sake of a niggle
- Procurement have to challenge their marketers and agencies more especially on the make versus buy, in-house vs outsource model
- Procurement has to learn and continue to learn about the category that they buy. Third parties are used to audit media or review agencies finances, they support Procurement in production costs, and they can help find agencies. They all play a good role but we need to ensure that Procurement has that knowledge as well where it is needed. Agencies can help in that by inviting procurement into the work space and helping them understand the great work that they do for clients.
Tina Fegent is CEO of Tina Fegent Consulting which offers a procurement consultancy service to clients.
Published by: admin in Agency Growth