Procurement needs to trust marketing more, says Mondelēz

Mondelez’s global procurement boss admits his department needs to work on having confidence that marketers can make the right agency choices and empower them to make those choices.

Procurement departments need to stop trying to get in the middle of marketers’ relationships with their agencies and instead trust them to make the right decisions, according to Paul Smith, senior director of global marketing and sales procurement at Mondelēz.

Speaking at the ProcureCon Marketing conference in London yesterday (13 June), Smith said procurement has a role to play in motivating both marketers and agencies to do the best work. But that it “cannot get involved in everything”, particularly at a company such as Mondelēz where innovation is so important.

“As the procurement guy you have to have full trust in your marketing stakeholders and we need to work on that. Procurement needs to trust marketing more,” he said.

“[Mondelēz] has a huge innovation agenda and often I find a lot of the guys in procurement want to be over buying agency talent for this or that innovation. They want to get involved and they want to buy everything and suddenly we are slowing down the innovation timetable. There is quite a challenge on us in procurement to actually empower quite a lot of things to marketers where we know we can’t add value or add value fast enough.”

Speaking on the same panel, Bayer’s VP of marketing procurement Malik Akhtar, said he sees procurement’s role as one that “facilitates an efficient and effective relationship between the agency and marketing”. He said it is not its role to position in the middle of that and to instead help them work better together.

As the procurement guy you have to have full trust in your marketing stakeholders and we need to work on that.

Paul Smith, Mondelēz

“If procurement positions in the middle of that it becomes obstructive and not helpful. We should help the agencies better understand what it is like to work with Bayer and help marketing better understand how an agency works,” he added.

“I spend more of my time focusing on marketing to develop that consistency in how we brief, how we write feedback. Al these things we could get better at and the trade-off would be enormous in terms of the agency relationship.”

READ MORE: Procurement needs to stop being a ‘lone ranger’, says Ladbrokes Coral

Akhtar said that while procurement is often seen as the “bad cop” to marketing’s “good cop”, he sees it as “good and thorough cop”. He explained that procurement is under a lot of pressure to ensure that a business is “contractually pinned down” and has the right compliance rules in place otherwise it will “come back to hit you”.

“The amount of compliance and rigour expected of me and my colleagues in terms of thoroughness is very high. So thorough cop is absolutely part of the role,” he added. “It is all about a business partnership and relationship and about being really transparent. But if we haven’t got that thoroughness pinned down we are in trouble.”

And Mondelēz’ Smith agreed, saying recent revelations by the Association of National Advertisers around media transparency mean this is even more important now. “I have had my trust knocked really badly through some of these financial audits and where money is actually placed with agencies. I am not naïve, and having being with groups ANA, ISBA and the 21 different places agencies can move money, holding groups and so on, I am not naïve. I think the way to work and discuss this with an agency is very openly and transparently.”

Hide Comments1 Show Comment
Comments
  • Tim Peppiatt 6 Jul 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Some real training in the more technical aspects of marketing production for procurement people would go an awful long way . The quality of RFP’s is still on the whole shockingly bad, asking for our policy on ‘modern slavery’ whilst important isn’t a get out of jail card for the lack of rudimentary understanding.

  • Post a comment

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here