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Acquiring stakeholder support for Marketing Procurement initiatives

Author: Mark Tiedens
Runner jumping over hurdles

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Top three hurdles to achieving alignment

The new benchmark report from WBR Digital, “Revenue Responsibility and the Evolving Role of External Procurement and Marketing Capabilities,” includes quantitative data collected from marketing procurement professionals. The report also includes some terrific qualitative remarks from the same population; many of which address the challenge for procurement professionals to drive support from their marketing stakeholders - despite an opportunity for greater than 25% savings. These themes echoed throughout the Marriott at this year’s ProcureCon Marketing conference.

The top three greatest hurdles among procurement teams to acquiring internal support for implementing an outsourced marketing execution solution, including both creative production and print procurement, include:

Getting different marketing teams on-board with a centralized, outsourced approach

Centralization across brands or marketing groups is the first hurdle, despite potential savings from aggregation of spend. Disparate market groups fear slower time to market and less differentiation of their individual brands. With centralization, rationalization, and aggregation, the thinking goes, individual brands would have to align schedules and formats at the cost of unique campaign time requirements, and sacrifice brand differentiation and quality in return for cost reduction. By extension, the marketing teams perceive that the outsourced approach requires them to relinquish control and to give up a degree of marketing freedom, putting their brand at risk.

Lack of willingness to make changes

Marketers routinely launch campaigns, monitor results and make changes to improve results. Given that changes in approach and creativity are among marketers’ core values, this challenge comes as a bit of a surprise. Digging a bit deeper, though, it is not change per se that concerns the marketer. Rather, marketers have invested in building an infrastructure that enables them to react to their markets quickly, make changes in messaging and resulting in campaigns that achieve results. Changing a part of the marketing execution infrastructure raises concerns -- any changes must increase market agility and the ability to react quickly and decrease time to market.

Stakeholders on defense

At the ProcureCon Marketing conference, one of the delegates shared that she “never told marketing that a solution would reduce costs” as it puts them on the defensive. Clearly, as one of the major benefits for implementing an outsourced marketing execution is reduced cost, it is no wonder that marketing procurement professionals have a difficult time achieving alignment with their marketing stakeholders. Particularly taken in context with the reasons behind above two challenges: fear of losing brand control and market agility.

A formal assessment is a good place to start to acquire internal support for procurement efforts. It is an opportunity to gain a holistic view of each brand’s requirements resulting in insights into gaps and shortfalls and the discovery of opportunities to improve processes.  The three most-cited benefits cited in the report —spend visibility, secured brand quality, and improved time to market over the competition address both marketing and procurement needs. For procurement, though, stressing benefits to marketing beyond cost control is critical toward gaining alignment with marketing.

Watch for my next post on how to overcome each of these hurdles. If you are ready to move forward, contact us here.