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From "Sourcing" to "Resourcing": re-labeling Marketing Procurement for Success

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This past week I had the privilege of attending the ProcureCon for Digital and Marketing services conference in London.  About 200 marketing procurement professionals from companies like Bayer, Adidas, Kellogg, L’Oreal, Mars, Duracell, Mondelez and more came together to share best practice, learn from peers & industry leaders and network with colleagues.  Having attended dozens of marketing and procurement conferences over the past decade, I was really looking forward to hearing what the latest trends are from around the world.  However, there seemed to be an old theme popping up . . . again. That is,

 

“How do marketing procurement professionals change the internal perception held by their marketing stakeholders, in order to have a greater impact on the business goals of their respective organizations.”

 

We’ve all heard this for years.  Marketing doesn’t see procurement as a valuable asset. Agencies see procurement as a blocker, slowing down the process.  The Business sees procurement as the team to help cut budgets and reduce spending.  So, there was an entire panel discussion devoted to how we should “label” marketing procurement, in order to change the perception of what they do.

 

At Decideware, we partner closely with many of the top advertisers in the world, helping procurement, agency excellence and marketing teams work together, to drive business results.  So, it got me thinking, how are so many organizations still struggling with this Procurement / Marketing relationship, while other organizations we see have procurement teams that have managed to become trusted advisers to their marketing colleagues and become an integral partner in driving both marketing and business goals. 

 

And then it hit me, it’s really all about, 2 letters . . . . let me explain.

 

Procurement or Sourcing are the terms that are often used to describe marketing procurement professionals but what do these terms actually mean? According to dictionary.com, the definition of “Sourcing”, is:

 

to find or acquire a source, especially a supplier OR to contract a manufacturer or supplier

 

And the definition of “Procurement”, is:

 

the act of obtaining equipment, materials, or supplies

 

Is that really what the most successful marketing procurement teams do or want to be perceived as doing, simply finding a supplier and writing a contract?  What if we took the word sourcing and added just 2 letters to it?  What if the perception changed from a profession that sourced agencies to one that “Re” sources marketing with everything they need to drive the business forward?

 

The dictionary.com definition of resourcing is:

 

a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed OR  provide a person or organization with materials, money, staff, and other assets necessary for effective operation

 

Isn’t that it?  Don’t all marketing procurement professionals want to be seen as THE “resource” who can be readily drawn open to provide their stakeholders and organizations with the materials, budgets, staffing, tools, expertise, data, support and commercial acumen necessary for effective operation?

 

Having previously worked in a marketing procurement role for a top 10 advertiser, I know first-hand how valuable and professionally satisfying it is to help resource stakeholders with everything they need, when they need it.  A brand director may need to be resourced with a new agency, marketers may need to be resourced with more senior agency staff, the VP may need to be resourced with information about the current marketing supply chain and the CMO might need to be resourced with a comprehensive view of marketing investment by region, brand and agency.  Meeting these needs provides important opportunities for marketing procurement. What if today’s marketing procurement professionals became THE resource that marketing turned to, for all of the above and more?

 

It’s a simple 2-letter change, from Sourcing to Resourcing, but the change in thought process and the labeling could have a dramatic impact to re-position marketing procurement with important stakeholders and thereby fully enable value generation for marketing, brands and the business.