This year's Procurecon Marketing conference was held in Nashville, with just under 200 agency management and marketing procurement practitioners in attendance. The size of the conference was perfect for networking, and we had the pleasure of hosting our first Agency Management Leaders dinner, with 20 marketing procurement directors and senior managers getting together to trade ideas and make new connections. Much of the value of these industry conferences occurs outside the official sessions, so it was a pleasure to help facilitate some of these discussions in a less formal environment!
I also had the honor of co-presenting a session on the use of Business Analytics in the agency management space. Kate Short, North America Marketing Procurement Group Manager, Nestlé, was the star of the conference, and I was happy to be able to add "color commentary" to her case study. Kate provided a history of how their Scope of Work program has evolved over the last few years, to the point now where they are using the Decideware Business Intelligence module to help make informed, data-driven decisions around their marketing agency spend.
In 2008, Nestle started consolidating and defining the various elements needed for a well-managed SOW program. One of the key steps they took was to create a standardized set of deliverable types that categorized all the outputs agencies created on their behalf.
Then in 2011, Nestle engaged Decideware to help automate this program using a technology platform. The goal of this phase was to improve the workflow needed for efficient collection of their North American Scopes of Work, and place them all into a centralized repository. Even in the first year of collection, there was a wealth of comparative information that they could report on, and for more advanced analysis, export to Excel. This program is now in the process of being rolled out to other regions in order for the regions to also gain these efficiencies.
The final stage Kate discussed was the move to applying advanced visual analytics to the data set. Nestle reviewed the new Business Analytics module that Decideware had in R&D and initially collaborated in a pilot project to refine and adapt the platform for their needs, with a subsequent move to a full rollout across her marketing procurement team.
We created a set of dashboards that help answer some of the most complex business questions Kate's team are asked to solve. Using the rich data set that is collected during the scope definition and staffing process, they are able to review the agency fee investment portfolio, making balanced decisions around staffing mix and output costs, as opposed to simple inputs.
What was particularly interesting was Kate's emphasis on the level of engagement that this has provided in discussions with her marketing stakeholders, right up to the CMO level. The ability to use factual data, in a highly visual and digestible format, to help her stakeholders optimize the value they are getting from their agency investment has been a known win. The new process has been, in her words, "a way to have a much more strategic conversation".
The issue of getting senior marketing stakeholder engagement was a common theme throughout the conference. Kate's presentation was a refreshing change in actually providing an answer beyond "we all need to communicate more". Her talk gave a pragmatic way to achieve this, from a KPI objective, meeting both the CMO's requirement for increased brand growth and the CPO's need to demonstrate effective budget management for value-maximization.
For additional information on Business Intelligence and Decideware's Agency Management Solutions, visit: http://www.decideware.com or contact Steven Wales at email@example.com.