Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Tyler Adams, GEP.
As the rules of marketing are redefined through technological advances and niche agencies providing unique services, integration between marketing and procurement becomes critical. Some companies have advanced rather quickly in marrying these departments while others are still struggling to align on how best to even begin. Here are some of the biggest challenges facing organizations in this space and suggested solutions for solving them:
Challenge: The struggle for many organizations in the space is a familiar story. It’s no secret to the marketing world that procurement professionals are measured on their ability to deliver cost savings to the organization. Marketing folks usually have a different agenda, intrinsically motivated by opportunities to increase revenues through innovative ideations and executions. With this in mind, procurement lends itself to vulnerability, constantly questioned and challenged by marketing departments deciphering whether they’ll facilitate and subjectively support them, or if they will serve as a tunnel-vision roadblock with sights solely on a diminishing dollar sign.
Solution: Again, it’s no secret that procurement is measured on savings but this cannot be the sole motivation for your department. If goals within marketing procurement are 100% tied to savings, it’s time to make a change immediately. A company or brand’s integrity, largely formulated by marketing departments, should never be compromised for the sake of shaving marginal dollars. Procurement must prove their commitment to maximum value creation. The emphasis should be on helping marketing to achieve their goals as efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality.
Challenge: Marketing professionals are passionate about the brands they represent and are reluctant to invite procurement to the table for the sake of diminishing the creative process. Many marketers have trepidations because they do not believe procurement has the knowledge or expertise necessary to support their function.
Solution: Know your role and invest in learning. Procurement should not be driving creative decisions but rather highlighting opportunities for marketers to improve their client relationships or processes for executing initiatives. In addition, gain trust by educating yourself in the space. Ask your marketing teams what publications they read on a daily basis or what sites they visit to help them in their decision making. Immerse yourself in the space and bring your own new ideas and thoughts to the table. Procurement professionals have to invest their time in working side-by-side with their marketing teams. Marketers will revert to spending their budgets without procurement involvement if there is no trust.
Challenge: Oftentimes, Marketing departments are largely comprised of “right-brained” individuals. Ideas are big. Integration has massive potential. Budgets remain constraints. This presents the challenge of “us vs. them.” One of the biggest challenges you will encounter is proving yourself as a vital member of the team.
Solution: Demonstrate your value. As a marketing procurement professional, you have access to benchmarks, materials and overall experiences, which can surely benefit your marketing department. Also, drive the process. It’s an arduous task. And as marketers are oftentimes consumed with trade shows, photo shoots or campaign development, they do not have the time to facilitate a project like an agency search. The goal here should be to convince the marketing team that they can’t do their job without you. You are no longer on the other side of the fence; you are the “left-brained” team member who facilitates, keeps the team’s goals and expectations grounded, and drives maximum value.
Marketing is a relationship business. Building relationships with consumers is at the heart of all marketing initiatives. A strong working relationship between marketing and procurement will only enhance your ability to connect with these consumers. Align your goals, build trust, and work as a cohesive team to deliver results that create the maximum value for your organization.
For more interesting thinking on procurement, visit the GEP Knowledge Portal.