The Professional Services Category

‘Ask Spend Matters’ Lightning Round: Marketing Spend, Public Procurement and Finding a Contractor

As we work behind the scenes to turn Ask Spend Matters into a more regular feature, we thought we’d chip away at a few of the reader questions we’ve been sitting on. As managing editor Taras Berezowsky promised last month those who have submitted a question but not heard back, we haven’t forgotten about you! Today’s lightning round edition, if you will, tackles three specific questions on the value versus price debate in marketing spend, where federal agencies find their suppliers and how to find a young person to prepare those boring databases.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 5) [Plus+]

One of the most important elements of tackling marketing spend is executive buy-in, which requires aligning the vision of the CMO, CPO and CFO. In fact, don't do anything until you force this to happen. Above all, ensure that your CPO is well briefed, and don’t let this person destroy your credibility by going into meetings with the CMO with the usual procurement speak. Take the time to get your CPO genuinely interested in the topic as a means of furthering his own interests and even career. For example, in a CPG or retail company, all executives can further their interests by knowing more about marketing. In general, some might call this attaining “stakeholder buy-in,” since there may be stakeholders who are critical decision makers but are not C-level. You get the idea.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 4) [Plus+]

marketing

Today we continue our exploration of best practices and strategies for attacking marketing spend with the importance of training; a return to the potential benefits of decoupling creative from production; and the necessity of cultural sensitivity to bridge the gap between marketing and procurement teams. Missed the previous installments of this series? Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before reading on!

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 3) [Plus+]

Torchlite

Our first takeaway: focus on media value. Media is often the largest spend in the marketing budget, and the real challenge is to not look at how to reduce the price point of media buys, but how to develop methodologies to measure the value of media specific to the strategic requirements of the brand and business. As we’ll soon explore in more detail, technology and analytics beyond generic spend analysis is key to understanding media value.

Repairing the Relationship Between Procurement and Marketing (ICYMI)

For the past two weeks, Spend Matters has been taking a closer look at the marketing category. As most of the supply management world knows, the relationship between procurement and the marketing function can hardly be described as rosy. While we’d like to say there’s hope on the horizon, the obstacles to advancing procurement’s strategic value are still, well, standing in the way.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 2) [Plus+]

The next topic we must address in considering the basics of attacking marketing spend is potentially the most sacred of all: agency selection. In considering how best to engage in this area, it is important to consider the costs of both sides going through the process. For agencies, the costs to manage and respond to an RFP can be quite high. Some agencies estimate their total cost at around $200,000 per RFP — on average!

Granted, the bulk of this expense comes in the form of soft costs. But the undertaking is considerable, and carefully vetted among agencies. This point is important to emphasize: agencies are quite picky about the clients and projects they bid on. We hope the following example, based on how one West Coast-based agency approaches RFPs, provides insight into the best means of engaging the right set of firms.

Does Marketing Procurement Deserve a Bloody Break? Our Q&A with Tina Fegent

marketing spend

In our series Ask Spend Matters, we recently answered this question: Do other areas of procurement get as much negative press from suppliers as marketing procurement do? We had the chance to chat with our question asker, Tina Fegent, who lives near Oxford, England, via Skype as we kicked off our reporting process. Here are select excerpts from that initial conversation. (Read the full piece to see where it all went.)

Do Other Services Procurement Areas Get as Much Negative Press from Suppliers as Marketing Procurement?

Tina Fegent is mad as hell and she’s not going to take it anymore. OK, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but for someone with a couple decades of experience in the marketing procurement space, Tina is officially en garde when it comes to marketing services suppliers (namely, the agencies) bad-mouthing her chosen profession. That really got Tina’s goat. So she she came to Ask Spend Matters and asked us a question: “Do other areas of procurement get as much negative press from suppliers as marketing procurement do?”

New Report: Obstacles in Advancing Marketing Procurement’s Strategic Value

marketing spend

There is still a case for marketing procurement, as a new report on the function’s obstacles and opportunities shows. Globality, which connects clients with small service providers, commissioned a survey of 300 senior procurement professionals from around the world. It gleaned eight major takeaways from the survey, which are presented in the report, Marketing Procurement 2017: Key Opportunities and Barriers in Advancing Procurement’s Business Impact. We’ll look at a few of these more closely.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 1) [Plus+]

Torchlite

Like MRO, packaging and logistics, the marketing category straddles the boundary between direct and indirect spend. And we all know (or so marketing folks claim) that it has a substantial impact on sales — allegedly, at least. The direct commercial impact is notoriously difficult to assess, although the new breed of analytics-driven spend analysis tools targeted specifically at marketing spend (e.g., cross-channel, competitive insights, etc.) and campaign performance can help. But put these in the agency parking lot for a minute. We’ll get into them later in this analysis and series.

For now, let’s focus on the marketing category as one among many — what makes it unique, what makes it similar and what are important trends.

Legal Sourcing and Billing: Category Sourcing, Maturity Models and Services Procurement Linkages (Part 2) [Plus+]

forced labor

Legal spend is a bit different than other categories in part because it cuts across all aspects of the business and the lines between “make” and “buy” can be drawn differently based on customer, need and timing. The fundamental challenge in this regard is that legal spending must be aligned with sales (customers), procurement (vendors), finance and operations (products) to deliver the right level of value. If it’s seen as a siloed compliance function, legal is doomed to languish as a subperforming cost center. In considering legal sourcing maturity, it’s essential to keep this in mind.

Accenture Spend Trends Category Insight

Top Challenges and Questions Facing Corporate Legal Departments [Plus+]

UpCounsel

The market landscape for legal services is much more dynamic than it may appear to most outside observers — and as a result we are seeing a number of meaningful trends in the market.

The provider landscape is rapidly changing. Firms are specializing in certain legal matter areas, and non-law firm providers are emerging as viable alternatives to perform certain types of legal work at lower cost and higher efficiency. And as in almost every industry and market, technology is playing a more transformational role in the legal services market, with implications for both buyers and suppliers.

In this article, we share some of the frequently asked questions we have received from GCs, and our responses and recommendations.