These notes are from an event that originally ran on July 28th. If you are interested in viewing the entire webinar on demand, it is available on the Proxima Group’s site here. The panelists were Mark Simester, Marketing Director at Warburtons, Charles Ping, Chief Executive at Fuel, and John Butcher, Marketing Specialist at Proxima and the moderator was Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall, Proxima’s Commercial Director.
While the focus of this event was how procurement can play a role in better managing digital marketing spend, the insights shared during the panel discussion provided plenty of insight about how procurement can improve our dealings with marketing in general. Since marketing is often one of the last hold out functions, we can use all the advice we can get.
According to Proxima, budgets for digital marketing spend are substantial and rising. Although digital marketing serves a purpose similar to traditional agency approaches, being good at digital marketing does require a different kind of expertise. This may result in existing agency partners trying to subcontract out some of the work in order to meet their clients’ requirements around digital. It also results in more data – which can be valuable as long as someone (perhaps procurement) has the ability to analyze and apply it, and the organization (via marketing leadership) is willing to be flexible enough to benefit from what is learned.
For procurement specifically – and this is where the panel discussion offers wisdom for all marketing spend management – there is plenty of opportunity for positive impact. Taking a ‘classic procurement’ approach as one of the panelists put it, makes sure that time and effort are not wasted and that roles and responsibilities are made clear. Influence isn’t an all or nothing proposition. Procurement can play an active role in planning and strategy setting without having an opinion about the creative aspects of managing the category. In fact, knowing when we are qualified to have an opinion on a subject is key to successfully managing the relationship with marketing.
There are also opportunities for procurement to serve as a facilitator for collaboration and communication. Many times, multiple agencies with have to work together to deliver on a campaign. They will have difference contracts and may have different pay scales. Procurement can establish a framework that not only makes the joint effort more successful, but also takes some of the burden off of the marketing team.
As with other strategic categories of spend, digital marketing needs to be measured for its effectiveness – across all channels. Another way of looking at this is comparing the cost per lead rather than the cost per successful connection. Negotiating savings using a low cost, high volume approach (especially in digital marketing) is not going to achieve the objectives if those connections don’t covert into leads, sales, etc.
In some cases, the feedback we can actually measure (through digital marketing or any other marketing approach) is often over emphasized simply because it is measurable. Procurement must find a way to demonstrate that we understand this by being willing to measure ourselves on something other than cost or quality. Demonstrating complexity of impact with regard to our own contributions will go a log way towards convincing marketing that we can do the same for them.