Marketing Procurement Initiatives Internally: A Left Brain/Right Brain Approach

At the Best Practices Exchange roundtable discussion in Chicago this month, Brian Sommer and I gave a joint presentation on how procurement organizations can better market their initiatives internally. What's our primary advice, you ask? It really falls into a few general areas. First, procurement organizations need to rely on both left-brain and right-brain influencing techniques by using equal parts metrics and emotionally-driven marketing to convince others not only to make investments but to work more closely on the sourcing and execution sides of procurement initiatives. Second, good old fashioned market content can play a huge role in rallying the internal troops to get on board with initiatives (which might take the form of newsletters, awards, wikis, blogs, etc.) Third -- and this ties in with the previous point -- it is critical to take a marketer's approach and mindset to selling initiatives by treating all communications and selling efforts as campaigns, just as marketing executives would.

It's critical to give serious thought to marketing procurement, drive investment, adoption, and reach. Think about who you're dealing with in your company. As my colleague Brian likes to say, children hate change, and your colleagues are just older children. Change is a political, emotional, technical, economic, organizational and power problem. It's not only critical to be prepared to take on all of this, but also to be prepared to disrupt the status quo. All of this will require stepping on the toes of others -- but the key is making procurement's involvement a win/win for everyone involved. Ask yourself: Are your internal marketing efforts helping out in this regard today (whatever you do, please don't tell us that "change management" is your marketing solution -- that's the kiss of death, in our view).

If you're a practitioner and you would like to hear our presentation, let us know. We've been thinking about offering these types of joint programs to companies in a more formal way -- outside of a handful of internal procurement marketing initiatives we've been involved with in the past -- and leveraging our general marketing and content creation experience that we deploy to help vendors and services providers better hawk and sell their wares. Above all, we would value feedback from the Spend Matters user community on whether or not our internal marketing approaches are useful in terms of driving support for technology funding and adoption -- as well as targeting spend categories which have traditionally fallen outside of procurement's influence.

Jason Busch

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