Purchasers struggling to forge ties with marketing

1 October 2003
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02 October 2003 | David Arminas

Purchasers still struggle to show they can create successful partnerships with marketing departments, according to a new study sponsored by CIPS.

Half of the survey's 100-plus purchasing managers and directors, all from UK firms, said they get involved in the buying process only at the contracts and auditing level, when it is too late to make an effective contribution to the buying process.

Only slightly more than 20 per cent of respondents said it was the marketing department inviting them into the process.

Half of respondents said purchasers were the main driver for procurement involvement in the buying of marketing services.

But 15 per cent of respondents said it was the board's decision for purchasing to be involved.

Paul Keirnan, associate director of public relations firm Edelman, which jointly conducted the survey with CIPS, said the results showed that purchasers had not convinced marketers they could add value to their buying of services and marketers' relationships with advertising and media agencies.

"It appears the majority of marketing purchasing decisions are still led by marketing, although purchasers appear to want to be partners in the process," he told delegates at the third annual Marketing and Purchasing Conference in London last month.

"To be included, they need to show that they have a greater understanding of marketing services than most of them have."

The survey found that purchasing is used most often by marketers for buying design and print services and used for least buying creative services such as media and public relations.

Mark Coulson, a former IT buyer at Vodafone UK and recently made responsible for purchasing marketing services, said purchasers new to marketing need to shift perspectives from buying objects to buying outputs.

He told SM: "We need to get an awareness of the dynamics of relationships within marketing and their agencies. You now procure intangible things from media agencies. Purchasers have a natural instinct to be price conscious, but you can't only do that with marketing."


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