Marketing is one of many functions which was put under growing pressure following the economic crisis. As a result, many businesses have seen increased collaboration between procurement and marketing. The latter needing an ally in the quest to maximise value and the former enjoying a more strategic role within the business.
But what’s next? How can a forward looking business go one step further and future proof itself, whilst ensuring all spend is being managed in the most efficient way possible?
A lean, structured approach
In my experience, the best results are delivered by focussing on lean-driven process improvements and the implementation of a highly structured programme. This approach allows leading businesses to understand and take control of spend.
Generally speaking, any in-depth redesign will necessitate senior stakeholder involvement and will include a variety of work streams.
All too often only isolated elements are being implemented, which then fail to deliver the expected benefits. It is therefore critical to understand that any such initiative can only deliver the full extent of improvements and value when done as a comprehensive programme. This will ensure that all individual elements can work and deliver hand-in-hand as they are built on a solid and encompassing platform.
A marketing-specific Lean Six Sigma redesign of the internal and external working processes is usually the starting point and key to ensure that process waste is being removed and a culture of ‘continuous improvement’ becomes embedded. This builds on extensive data analysis and usually underpins and drives other work streams as well.
These commonly include:
- Menu pricing
The introduction or review of menu pricing which reflects current market value for any given service.
- Digital Asset Management (DAM)
DAM aims to centralise marketing assets, such as logos, guidelines and other media elements. Successful implementation results in a more streamlined process, which in turn greatly reduces costs and drives efficiencies.
- Core Agency contracts
These include audits, staff retention programmes and increasing the visibility of forthcoming projects.
- Performance reviews
A pillar of any effective marketing procurement function. How you measure your agencies over time and use empirical data to make improvements is critical for any business. One of the keys to successful performance reviews are the implementation of 360 degree feedback. One-way communication is seldom the path towards success.
Focusing on the use of specialists is a sure-fire way to obtain better value and higher quality output. For example, if you need to create a promotional video, don’t rely on your regular creative agency. Let them work on the storyboard, but find a specialist for the actual filming and post-production.
- Supplier consolidation
Yes, it’s a classic, and placing the right level of spend with the right agency is procurement 101, yet this remains an area where many companies can improve. Once the initial analysis is carried out, procurement can leverage consolidation to drive volume through the best agencies.
Marketing spend is one of the most complex out there, particularly for multi-faceted and global businesses. In addition, marketing procurement remains a relatively new category and despite how rapidly it has evolved over the past years, there remain many challenges to tackle.
Working through each of the work streams detailed above, can trigger a snow ball effect in terms of value delivered. Each success serves to make a business case for the next. Upon completion 4C’s clients typically see savings of between 20%- 35%.