This was the topic of this week’s webinar hosted as a debate between 4C and Spend Matters.
The contention from Spend Matters’ Managing Editor Peter Smith was that following the demise of marketing procurement within PepsiCo all marketing procurement might be doomed.
Peter, as we all know is a persuasive speaker who really knows his procurement, and he contends that this may indeed be the case. Peter noted that the reality is that marketing procurement is a complex spend category and requires more knowledge a depth of understanding that most procurement people just cannot bring. Whilst I agree with Peter that this may be the case with generalists, we all know that there are some great marketing procurement professionals out there (a lot were on the webinar) and I think that some of them would also agree it can be challenging, but we shouldn’t be daunted by a challenge. Peter talked about bringing value and not just cost reduction to the table, as well as showing value through expertise and subject matter knowledge. This I think is interesting because whilst he proposes that this may be too much and this may be the end of marketing procurement, I take the opposite view.
This detailed category and sub category knowledge is exactly the point. As procurement professionals (and people how love the subject matter) we need to really understand what we are buying. Whether this is programmatic or market research, if you understand less about the subject than your stakeholder (let alone the supplier) you are dead in the water – surely this is the same for all procurement. No more big stick procurement here! From my side of the argument the devil really is in the detail. Keep up with the market, work out how to bring value, not just cost reduction and you’ll be talking the language of your marketing director in no time. I and the team here spend time talking to new vendors, listening and participating in webinars, going to conferences. Know it, love it, live it
The webinar format is interesting and this event (maybe it’s the people attending) in particular generated a great deal of comments and questions. One in particular interested me. Getting the balance between finance, marketing and procurement is key – where do the savings go, to the bottom line or reinvested in the brand. We all know the arguments that go on, but in order to be truly effective we need to understand and resolve this. The answer to this is really at the heart of what marketing procurement should be, engaged with the stakeholders including finance and marketing and making sure that value realisation is key – not just procurement savings.
My overall contention was that through this detailed understanding of the market, the new entrants and technology, coupled with engaged stakeholders, the future is bright for marketing procurement.
It seems also that the audience agrees with me – 59% of them were with me on this.