ProcureCon Marketing London was another great opportunity to gather industry feedback on WFA’s goal of redesigning marketing procurement and making it a true strategic business partner.
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Perhaps the most disappointing statistic at ProcureCon Marketing, the global conference on marketing procurement, was that in a live poll at the event only five per cent of the audience said that current perceptions of marketing procurement were “extremely positive”. While 38% of attendees said they were “somewhat positive”, such a statistic underlines the need for a fundamental reshaping of the function.
WFA’s Project Spring is designed to achieve exactly that goal and a panel discussion led by WFA, featuring Jose Gonzalo Bisquerra Mora, VP Marketing & Sales, Global Procurement at GSK, and James Taylor, Head of Marketing Procurement at Diageo, highlighted the many challenges involved under the banner of Project Spring’s four Ps: Process, People, Performance and Partners.
Panellists tried to define the perfect marketing procurement value proposition, one that would boost that five per cent figure. They both put “fuel for growth” top of mind. “It starts with a view that marketing spend is an investment not a cost and means investing more in what works, focusing on productivity rather than savings,” said James.
That was reinforced by Gonzalo: “We need to embed the growth mentality and have it as part of our procurement vision. Give savings a different meaning and purpose, help our stakeholders fuel growth in the areas that are needed the most. From sourcing to resourcing marketing with everything they need to drive the business forward.”
Although 86% of those in the audience said that reporting lines present a challenge for marketing procurement to push boundaries, the panel said the function needed to go beyond this approach in favour of new working structures based on skills or tasks.
James illustrated with some current initiatives at Diageo that were designed to break down the silos by creating “squads around tasks or problems or business objectives, which pull from different parts of the business at any given point. So, you could be reporting to different people on different projects at the same time, with everyone having a single objective - a growth target.”
Hear below from marketing procurement professionals on the dos and don'ts of the function:
On the same day, WFA also facilitated a deep-dive workshop into Project Spring, with the views of senior global or regional marketing procurement executives balanced by those from agencies and consultants.
The session was co-led by Barry Byrne, Senior Global Procurement Director, Sales & Marketing at adidas and co-chair of WFA’s Global Sourcing Board, and highlighted some key changes in attitude and structure that could make a difference to the five percent.
Find out more about the WFA Global Sourcing Board:
Attendees suggested that marketing procurement executives needed to remember they work first and foremost for the company, not the procurement function. They needed to understand the business they were working in.
Traditional category structures also needed to evolve towards cross-functional teams per project or campaign. These could help address the challenge of reporting lines as highlighted by the panel discussion by including marketing, finance and marketing procurement teams, as well as, where possible, agencies, to ensure the successful delivery of the overall business objectives.
Procurement also needed to get out more and sit with marketers and finance a few days a month, understand what stakeholders are trying to achieve and agree with them on what levers sourcing can pull in their projects.
Finally, in order to bridge the CMO/CPO language barriers that may remain, it was recommended that cross functional teams start speaking the universal “language of sales”. A common KPI could then be a measure on the “cost per sale” – “how much will it cost me to generate a dollar of sales” – and the procurement’s performance would be assessed based on the optimisation of this cost.
External industry experts share views on the main opportunities for marketing procurement: