Providing tangible benefits to marketing

Author: Mark Tiedens
Runner breaking the finish line tape


Overcoming hurdles to central, outsourced marketing execution

In my last post, “Top three hurdles to achieving alignment,” I wrote about challenges that procurement professionals have in driving alignment with their marketing stakeholders as uncovered in a new benchmark paper from WBR Digital, “Revenue Responsibility and the Evolving Role of External Procurement and Marketing Capabilities. Clearing the first of those hurdles, “Getting different marketing teams on-board with a centralized, outsourced approach” is possibly the most difficult, depending on the number of teams, brands or business units which exist in the enterprise.  As a refresher, disparate market groups fear slower time to market and less differentiation of their individual brands when the enterprise forces a centralized approach to marketing procurement. Core to overcoming this challenge is the answer to the following question:

“Can the implementation of a centralized, outsourced procurement governance program provide a framework for more freedom for brands to execute campaigns faster, and with more differentiation than a decentralized approach?”

The short answer is, “yes.” Find below a few ideas about how you can overcome the challenge of getting marketing teams on-board with a centralized, outsourced marketing execution approach.

1. Never lead – or even mention – cost reduction as the primary impetus for the initiative. Instead, focus on agility, reduction of time to market and brand quality. Cost control and reductions are key metrics for the procurement organization. In conversation, put those goals on hold for a moment until the program receives buy in. Staying within budget is important to the marketer. Sales pipeline and ROI are increasingly new metrics on the marketer’s scorecard, along with quality and brand control. Spend some time with your marketing stakeholders to understand their pain points and challenges of getting campaigns to market faster, driving pipeline, or quality. It turns out that faster time to market and increased brand control are benefits identified of a centralized, outsourced approach to marketing execution. Start with these common goals and then continue the conversation.

2. Adopt a federated approach to your procurement governance program. A federated approach allows collaboration and information sharing between semi-autonomous, decentralized marketing groups, brands, and lines of business. A concept borrowed from IT governance, a federated architecture or approach promotes information sharing that allows for process, technology, and supply chain leverage while promoting autonomous activity by each marketing group or brand. The major advantage of this approach is that enterprises can amortize costs associated with implementing top-tier, efficiency-driven processes, technologies, and marketing supply chain leverage across multiple groups. Examples of these technologies include on-line proofing, store profiling, variable data publishing, e-Procurement, digital asset management, and more. These advanced capabilities, in turn, promote autonomy in campaign execution and facilitate agility, speed to market, and quality.

3. Promote an on-site account support model. A decentralized approach provides individual marketing teams with very personalized, rapid service from their suppliers. The idea of implementing a centralized, outsourced procurement strategy, on the surface, would replace this personalized service with an unknown supplier, selected through an RFP process. Procurement professionals can mitigate risks and fear by promoting solutions that feature on-site account services. On-site representation ensures that the outsourced marketing execution provider acts as an extension of your company and guardians for your brand, benefiting your marketing teams. Because these on-site teams become involved early in campaign processes, they can help influence decisions in the initial campaign development process that affect down-stream costs and benefit your cost-containment goals.

The same concepts apply to the other hurdles such as lack of willingness to make changes and stakeholder defensiveness. In all cases, focusing on marketing goals and concerns overcomes objections and provides tangible benefits to marketing groups. With the hurdles behind you and happy marketing teams, you can start to capitalize on the 20-30% savings opportunities.