Marketers remain wary of purchasing's involvement

23 June 2004
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24 June 2004 | Eloise Seddon

Marketing and purchasing professionals still have some way to go before they work more effectively together, according to the latest quarterly procurement survey from spend management company Ariba.

The survey found that more than 56 per cent of procurement directors have little if any visibility and control of marketing budgets, even though marketing represents on average 5-10 per cent of total company spend.

And despite 90 per cent of the procurement directors interviewed saying that savings could be made by working closely with marketing, they still faced strong resistance from their marketing counterparts to forging a closer working relationship.

Nearly 60 per cent admitted that marketers were suspicious of procurement specialists intervening in their work.

Almost 40 per cent of the procurement directors said that measuring creative work was the hardest problem.

Cleone Robst, Ariba's UK marketing director, said marketing people were protective of their agency relationships and "don't like purchasers parachuting in to negotiate hardball with their suppliers at the end of a process".

They felt that when procurement was involved, it meant their budget would be axed. "But what purchasers want is to be involved from the beginning and to help marketers use their budget to gain greater visibility, accountability and control."

Martin Christopher, professor of marketing and logistics at Cranfield School of Management, said getting the two disciplines to co-operate was harder than most organisations know.

"Marketing departments have to work more closely with all the players in the supply chain. They need to share all information and smart companies are doing this."

Effective co-operation would rely on traditional functional barriers being broken down, he said.

"These are big challenges for long-established companies and can't be achieved overnight."

The survey was conducted in April and May among 121 procurement directors from large companies in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France.


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