Make procurement marketing-friendly

I’ve been in and around marketing, advertising and media for almost 15 years and have seen a profound change in how procurement interacts with marketing. For the better (fortunately), but there’s still work to be done.

“Neolithic Procurement Man” was only interested in cost, with price being the ultimate end game, not at how creative agencies really add value. But since then, we’ve learned that marketing and creative agencies are more than just numbers, and that reducing costs and saving fees does not necessarily make an agency a better business.

It is vital that procurement professionals understand how creative agencies generate value and, crucially, that communications is a creative business with some intangible values and outputs, which are not easily measureable.

An effective way of building that understanding, and therefore trust between marketing and procurement, is to bring marketing in to the process. Allow your marketing colleagues to judge the quality and value for money of a creative idea by helping to design and implement the most appropriate tools and metrics. Procurement can then ensure marketing maximises what or who they are paying for.

Furthermore, how about treating the “creative” part of service separately from the “functional” part by constructing fee and reward structures appropriate to each? The creative part is where the true value is delivered by the agency; the functional part is where procurement can help agencies become more efficient and cost conscious.

Procurement professionals have been building bridges with their marketing counterparts for some time now. Ultimately, I think we should become an integral part of the marketing team – only by working closely with our marketing colleagues on an ongoing basis will we really understand what they are trying to achieve.

This will then help us procurement professionals become trusted advisers and not people to be wary of.

Tony Squires
Head of marketing procurement
4C Associates


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