The WFA Sourcing Board is refreshing its goals and ambitions after three years and a half, with a series of new initiatives to help marketing procurement practitioners drive efficiency, effectiveness, and delivery. Laura Forcetti, Director of Global Marketing Sourcing Services at the WFA, explains.
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A lot can happen in three and a half years. A lot has happened, both for the world and for the WFA’s Sourcing Board. Set up in May 2019, we’re now publishing a report reflecting on the huge amount of work that’s been done and identifying how we build on those achievements in the years to come.
As WFA’s Global Sourcing Board: Our journey forward outlines, the work in the next couple of years will focus on diversity, talent and enhanced best practice.
These new projects are only possible now that we have been through a shift from ‘profit at all costs’, to asking the more fundamental question of ‘how do businesses create value’. The truth is that even today, marketing sourcing can still find it frustrating to balance how much time to spend doing good work on value vs spending time claiming savings, to get recognition within the company and beyond.
The Board, co-chaired by P&G and Mars Inc., currently has eight members, and represents companies spending more than $32 billion on communications each year. Highlights of the journey so far have been:
- Project Spring: identifying the fundamental principles of what constitutes great marketing procurement. Driving forward that vision with meetings with organisations across the industry, work to understand the key challenges faced by teams to evolve the perception of the discipline, and their performance, and offer solutions with stakeholders inside and outside each company.
- Creating a path to perfection: since no two organisations are at the same level of maturity, the Board created a maturity framework that identifies four different phases – from Tactical to Leading – and will hopefully help WFA members move to the next step, where that’s appropriate.
- Deep dived into three pillars identified in Project Spring: performance, people (internal) and partners (external), and provided definitions to identify at what maturity phase organisations might be for each of those pillars as well as insights on how to move up a level.
The report also outlines the new agenda for the next couple of years – based on research among the much wider representation provided by the Sourcing Forum, which has 1,700 members, and aligned with the priorities of the WFA’s CMO and the WFA’s Media Forum.
These findings have enabled the board to identify key priorities for the future, including broadening the marketing procurement talent pool and attractiveness of the role, developing a procurement’s unique skillsets needed for launching C-level careers and enhance the role’s standing internally.
A key element for 2023 will be looking at agency and supplier diversity. With marketing procurement uniquely positioned at the intersection of external capabilities and internal business needs, it can play a key role in accelerating supplier diversity.
The Sourcing Board will work with the WFA’s D&I Taskforce to deliver a world-first guide to best practice in procurement’s role in boosting diversity, creating opportunity for diverse-owned suppliers and agencies as well as collaborating on industry approaches to supplier and agency diversity tracking and certification. This will help teams around the world avoid behaviours that have been proven to reduce the chance for under-represented agencies to become part of the team. Collaboration with the D&I Taskforce has already identified issues such as systematic triple bidding and ensuring sourcing processes are welcoming for smaller organisations or new talent.
The Board will also be seeking a more proactive platform in 2023, participating in more meetings and events, both to celebrate the work that’s already been done and collect feedback on their goals for this year and beyond. The future of marketing procurement exists well beyond the WFA network, and we hope that many will get in touch to support us on the journey but also to advise us of their experiences and successes.