Repairing the Relationship Between Procurement and Marketing (ICYMI)

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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.

As case in point, our Editor-at-Large Sydney Lazarus recently reviewed several takeaways from a new report by Globality, Marketing Procurement 2017: Key Opportunities and Barriers in Advancing Procurement’s Business Impact.

Chief among the concerns of the marketing procurement professionals surveyed was the interplay of speed and risk. Digital technologies are changing the way marketing is done at a rapid clip, but since the technologies are so new, they are often confusing, hard to implement and expose organizations to disruptions if implementation fails.

Such caution has earned procurement the ire of marketers everywhere. Issues around speed are one of the major reasons why Pepsi fired its entire global marketing procurement division in 2015.

And Pepsi is not alone. Whether it's other global marketing procurement executives or the marketing trade press, procurement is the go-to punching bag. This led one of our readers to submit a question, a kind of plea for solidarity:

“Do other areas of procurement get as much negative press from suppliers as marketing procurement do?”

As it turns out, marketing procurement does have some company.

For example, when procurement started to get involved with IT purchases 20–30 years ago, IT managers “weren’t very keen,” Peter Smith, managing director of Spend Matters UK/Europe, told us.

The legal profession also sees procurement as more often than not getting in the way, our Managing Editor Taras Berezowsky discovered. Lawyers hold a disdain for e-auctions in particular, because they reduce the relationship down to the lowest common denominator: price.

That all sounds pretty damning. But really, procurement is just trying to do its job. Which led us to another question: Does marketing procurement deserve a bloody break?

In the mind of Tina Fegent, who sent us the question that kicked off our article earlier this week, people need to look at the good marketing procurement is doing in addition to the usual complaints.

“We all know that procurement is not perfect,” she said in a Q&A published Thursday, “and sometimes we don’t help ourselves by not having the knowledge we should have, and saying [for example], “let’s use our IT RFP for buying digital services … But there’s a lot of good procurement people out there as well. Go talk to people at Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart or Disney who are trying to push the boundaries, push innovation, etc. This all just tipped me over the edge.”

Do you have a question about marketing procurement you need answered? To start, be sure to check out our Spend Matters Plus series for our concise advice:

And if you have more questions still, send them to us with the nifty box below (we’ve already received another one about marketing procurement that we are looking into!):

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