Helping Marketing to Deliver on ROI Accountability

Author: Christopher Rand
People at table


Marketing is on the line for driving revenue. Can procurement be the hero?

WBR Digital, in partnership with HH Global, has surveyed over 100 marketing procurement professionals to better understand trends in the outsourcing of marketing procurement  responsibilities. The results of how the alignment of procurement goals with marketing accountability is now published in the 2017 ProcureCon Benchmark report, “Revenue Responsibility and the Evolving Role of External Procurement and Marketing Capabilities.”

Christopher Rand, Digital Content Manager, has authored this guest blog post to offer WBR Digital’s analysis of the data and provide insights into future trends to benefit the corporate bottom line.


Marketing and procurement seem like odd bedfellows at first—procurement is assessed by cost reduction and improving processes, while marketing is rated by quality and satisfaction. But in 2018, marketing faces some unfamiliar challenges. Now, marketers need procurement teams more than ever.

Advances in technology have made possible a new level of accountability among marketing teams, adding performance metrics like revenue, ROI, and cost reduction. Now, marketers must consolidate their resources and creative capacities to drive better solutions.

For procurement teams, this is nothing new. Specializations in cost reduction, optimization, and business process outsourcing (BPO) are requirements for meeting stringent corporate requirements in this area. This is one essential force that now binds the two teams together—accountability.

Strategic alignment of marketing and procurement goals

In our 2017 report, "Revenue Responsibility and the Evolving Role of External Procurement and Marketing Capabilities," researchers from WBR Digital discovered that 60% of companies either agreed or strongly agreed that their marketing teams were being held increasingly responsible for ROI and sales pipeline generated by their activities.

The most revealing trend: over half of companies use business process outsourcing (BPO) for marketing execution, 51% of which do so for creative execution and production—artworking, localization, visualization, and more.

For decades, procurement has had capabilities marketers are missing in terms of maintaining accountability. Now, by using BPO, procurement can bring forth solutions to help control time to market, carry out brand control, and reduce costs, along with other capabilities now in high demand among marketers.

The cost benefit of BPO for creative processes

It starts with greater visibility into marketing processes. That way, procurement teams can locate opportunities to outsource marketing capabilities for greater efficiency and ideally, more profitable outcomes.

With real-time marketing spend information, procurement can help marketing optimize its processes on a continual basis and deliver on revenue targets put forth by corporate stakeholders. In our report, we found that procurement and marketing teams resolved issues with brand control, quality, inefficiencies, technology, and more.

It’s a win-win: when BPO is carried out by marketing execution experts, marketing and procurement goals are aligned. Marketing teams benefit from greater resources carefully selected with the help of procurement teams, which also offer savings and measurable benefits for the company.

Business strategies for managing print procurement

If we were to hone in on print procurement as a means of facilitating greater marketing capabilities, we’d see that most companies (58%) are already managing print procurement externally, even if only partially so. The results of that effort will speak volumes about the procurement-marketing alliance and what it can do for overall performance. We found the following benefits in order of frequency:

  • Cost reduction
  • Improved time to market over competition
  • Achieving ROI
  • Brand control

All of these successes had double-digit responses, ‘cost reduction’ being a majority. These benefits extend into other areas—creative execution, for example—as well.

Moving forward: overcoming silos and business-unit centricity

The BPO model that brings marketing and procurement teams together needn’t be isolated to a single internal partnership. Where these two teams found advantages in outsourcing capabilities like print and creative execution, procurement teams can work with other departments to identify specific pain points as well. Take a look at our success rates in the marketing creative and print execution space—read our recent industry report—and consider what these strategies could do for your business.