Marketing and Procurement departments, it seems, may forever be at logger heads.
Procurement is often seen by Marketing as the monsters coming in to cut Marketing’s budget. They are seen as being surrounded by numbers and graphs, contracts and clauses.
Marketing is often seen by Procurement as the art department. They are perceived as the ones with all the creativity and brand awareness, but without the knowledge on how to buy what they do, better. And instead of fluttering around with an Excel spread sheet, they are swanning about with presentations covered in pretty pictures.
Sadly, some minds cannot be changed.
It is true however, that Procurement can offer a whole lot more to Marketing than is often thought. The thing is that it is not all about cost saving! Discovering time efficiencies is just as valuable as getting an agency to cut its costs, and sometimes even more so.
Marketers often do not have the time to ask their agencies the questions which are engrained in a Procurement professional’s mind: What are your costs made up of? Who is doing this work? How long will it take each person to complete a stage in this job? Can you do it quicker? Can you use a different level of resource?
Often, the only instruction from Marketing is: “This is my brief; this is my budget; please do it for me.” – an instruction which would send an ice cold sting down the spine of Procurement.
The relationship between the two departments is tough – they often do not speak the same language.
The solution? Listen! It’s all good and well for Procurement to enter a room and make changes to the way the Marketing budget is being spent, but without knowing the exact objective of the Marketing department, what good is it all going to do if they don’t somehow strive towards the same end objective?
Some tips for the Procurement professional:
– Rule no.1: If you want to influence your stakeholders, you need to listen to them! No good working on a cost savings initiative without having your customers on board.
– Ask for a clear description of the final objective of your stakeholder, and together come up with a plan on how you can both achieve it, as a team.
– Suppliers are a great source of information, advice and ideas. If they are willing to work with your organisation, they will be willing to partake in your mission.
– If you are stuck on something you don’t understand, ask for help. It’s pretty simple. There are experts in all areas, you just need to ask them. You might be surprised at the reaction you will get.
– You may not be creative in the Marketing department, but you can be creative in your strategic thinking. Don’t be embarrassed about your ideas. No idea is silly!