Corralling Creatives - Driven by Marketers Part II: How to Make a Partnership with Procurement Work

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Winston Churchill's concept of perfection is easier said than done. Bringing change to a large organization takes more than philosophy. It demands buy-in from the top down, and an organization's willingness to be nimble. Large organizations enjoy longevity because they remain nimble and open to change. Take telecom companies, for example: in the last 20 to 30 years there have been multiple iterations of technologies implemented – and not necessarily by telecoms themselves. Change is rampant and necessary to stay in business, and nowhere has change been more evident than in the Procurement group. Although Procurement has always had a mission of controlling costs, partnering with other business units, such as Marketing, provides many opportunities for improved category management. The relationship between Marketing and Procurement has been proven to work best when each of the respective departments collaborate on budgetary and contractual needs. Procurement can provide Marketing with excellent support and take the negotiation and legal handshake over so Marketing can focus on their mission: to brand the company to the consumer and support product sales. Granted, it is easier to "perfect and change often" when all consumer-facing campaigns are under Corporate Marketing and one Vice President. Procurement can readily support Marketing's needs by creating a Marketing Category and dedicating a Strategic Procurement Manager and team to handle RFPs, contracts, renegotiation, score carding and vendor management for media buys, print buys, public relations and advertising agencies. The Procurement department can show Marketing how they can manage the spend and bring savings against the marketing P&L, as well as save time. The relationship between the two departments should be very collaborative, for example:

  • Procurement and Marketing can work together to identify budget categories that Procurement can help streamline
  • Marketing can provide a list of preferred vendors
  • Procurement can handle support and vendor management during execution of contracts and beyond

Collaboration throughout the RFP process between the two departments will solidify trust in Procurement. Procurement's performance can be tracked using an internal scoring system with targets set for savings achieved in RFPs and contract renewals. This allows the Marketing business unit to have visibility into what makes Procurement valuable to the organization: time and cost savings against the Marketing budget, and support and execution of longterm contracts. The Procurement department needs to pride itself in excellent service and savings to their internal business unit clients...and having a solid relationship with Marketing can help move their support for other business units forward internally. Marketing is the perfect advocate for Procurement.

Celia De Benedetti