Growing pains: Marketing procurement is moving beyond the ‘misunderstood teenager’ years
It’s clear that there are big opportunities for marketing procurement to fundamentally change the perception of the discipline, writes Laura Forcetti, WFA Global Marketing Sourcing Manager
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After three days at ProcureCon London and a day at the WFA’s Sourcing Forum hosted by IKEA in Malmö, I have witnessed several opportunities for the marketing procurement function to fundamentally change the perception of the discipline.
Many of these may not be new but what has changed is that there are now many more advanced sourcing teams putting them into practice:
- Marketing Sourcing as trusted advisors: An evolving marketing landscape has translated into a multitude of global agency rosters. We’ve moved beyond the ‘off-the-shelf’ model. This presents an opportunity for marketing procurement specialists, who have a transversal view of the business needs, to boldly act as trusted advisors on the right model that their stakeholders should use;
- Marketing Sourcing as change agents: With the proliferation of digital channels, agency structures and capabilities, roster models are in constant flux. This presents an opportunity for marketing procurement experts to show their understanding of the industry, offer innovation and enable smooth transitions;
- Marketing Sourcing as partnership guardians: An area described by one WFA member on the ProcureCon stage as “everything that goes beyond a negotiated contract”. Client-agency relationships remain critical, whether short or long-term, they will always need work and this is an opportunity for marketing procurement to act as partnership guardians;
- Marketing Sourcing taking ownership: Many WFA members are calling on the industry to rethink the agency remuneration model. This is a an opportunity for marketing procurement who is better placed than ever to take a proactive stance, develop alternatives and enable better marketing;
- Marketing Sourcing as a value driver: Metrics have to be about driving value not just savings. Outcome-based models present an opportunity for marketing procurement to move from a single cost metric towards multi-dimensional metrics including ROI considerations.
WFA’s Project Spring initiative is designed to build on this opportunity and improve perceptions of marketing sourcing performance, highlighting its value contribution to the business. The project will seek to support our marketing procurement experts along this journey as they move from a historical focus on cost and savings, towards strategic and sustainable contribution to brand and business growth.
We aim to raise awareness around the potential for the marketing procurement function and it will then be down to WFA members to see if they want to take it further or not, driving business growth beyond focusing on the bottom line.
Five key areas of challenge have already been identified during recent Sourcing Forum meetings in Dusseldorf, New York and Singapore: Process, People, Performance, Place and Partners. A broader survey will be launched this summer, giving all WFA members the opportunity to have their views heard.