Finding Common Ground with Procurement

For more than a decade, marketing has been driven by its ability to engage consumers via digital and social platforms, encourage consideration, elicit responses and measure success. This heightened focus on metrics combined with the explosion of channels and content needs has dramatically changed the nature of the relationship between marketing, finance and procurement.

While these departments have become more collaborative and strategic regarding content creation in recent years, there are still disconnects. Each department speaks a different language. And alternative creative production options have been scarce.

Finance and procurement are laser-focused on reducing waste and inefficiency throughout the marketing process. If money can be saved, money will be saved. Meanwhile, marketers face a daunting challenge: save money, increase agility, and maintain quality, all while broadening capabilities and diversity to ensure their brands are relevant and respected in both channel and cultural contexts.

In reality, procurement and marketing teams on either side of the fence have been forced to battle it out over the age-old, quality-versus-cost conundrum for a long time with little sign of change. Then COVID arrived and completely disrupted a marketing environment that had been maintaining its uncomfortable status quo.

A greater dependency on digital and social channels and the insatiable need for optimized assets at every touchpoint throughout the consumer journey intensified the demands on marketing’s budget. Add to that the exponential growth in video consumption, and the gap between marketing and procurement’s objectives grows.

Brand owners need strategic and creative thinking more than ever. However, the execution of those ideas needs to be more cost-effective and delivered with diversity, agility and velocity. Cutting a 30-second spot into a few short-form videos and GIFs on a six-figure budget is no longer the answer.

So, what is?

As one CMO told us recently, “When you’re trying to transform your business, all of the traditional procurement benchmarks and indicators fall short.” The most critical factor for organizations to successfully navigate the rapidly evolving landscape is finding a deeper, shared business purpose between departments.

That same CMO said, “If procurement doesn’t understand the [marketing side of] business and doesn’t appreciate creativity, then the only way to get around it is for marketers to become pseudo-procurement people and drive the process single-handedly ... there aren’t many marketing people who can do all that.”

Given this reality, the alternative solution is for marketing and procurement colleagues to align on a common understanding of where each team sees value. Another marketing leader recently told us, “I ask procurement to come and spend time in the marketing department so they understand what we do, our KPIs, and what we report on a weekly basis.”

From a strategic perspective, marketing and procurement are well-aligned. Both seek efficiency and savings through innovation and process solutions. They also recognize that marketing is not a zero-sum game where the lowest cost always wins. The art-and-science rule applies today as it always has and, ultimately, the combination of precision targeting with high-quality creative messaging delivers results. Since March 2020 and Apple’s release of iOS 14, this equation has become even more pronounced.

The question is, can you have your cake and eat it too? Is there a solution that can deliver the volume of assets required to feed the social media beast at speed, scale, and quality at a lower cost than current production models? The answer is yes—if your solution includes three key elements for success:

First is utilizing technology to streamline the process of finding, briefing, selecting and working with creative professionals.

Second, your professional creative network should reflect the diverse cultural, technological and geographic demands of your clients and their customers.

Third is access to people with an entrepreneurial mindset, willing to roll up their sleeves and focus on clients’ needs without the compromises that come with more traditional ways of thinking and doing.

While marketing and procurement may speak different languages, one three-letter acronym they both love to hear is ROI. In the context of advertising, asset production ROI becomes ROCI or Return on Content Investment.

That equation is simple. Make sure campaign assets are of the right quality so they perform within each advertising environment. Streamline the process of production so you can put them into market as quickly as possible. And finally, find ways to get them produced by professional creatives without the traditional layers of cost and inefficiency.

By focusing on the most efficient and strategically driven solutions for delivering on ROCI, marketing and procurement will easily find common ground.

Genero is an IHAF supplier member connecting in-house agencies to a global creative platform and talent network. Visit their website to learn more.

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