Marketing procurement 'like buying parts for the space shuttle'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
5 June 2014

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5 June 2014 | Will Green

Marketing procurement is “closer to buying spare parts for a space shuttle than plastic cups”, a conference has heard.

Thibaut Eissautier, CPO at Diageo, told delegates the complexities of buying marketing services meant cooperation between marketers and procurement professionals was essential.

He said the role of procurement was adding value by “enabling marketing to be even better” and “bringing the best of the agencies inside” the organisation.

“What often happens is the value is not understood because it’s more difficult to measure,” he said.

Eissautier, speaking at ProcureCon Marketing in London yesterday during a discussion between CPOs, said the work was not like “buying plastic cups”.

“Marketing procurement is closer to the spare parts of a space shuttle, so you need to work closer together,” he said.

Kevin Parke, indirect procurement director for Coca Cola Enterprises, said: “I think the responsibility for changing that relationship [between marketing and procurement] lies with procurement. If you talk about cost and price, that is the image you will have. You have to talk about adding value. Our approach is we have aligned, collaborative agendas that are agreed across the piece. We have clear measures about how we add that value.”

Thierry Bellon, CPO at Air France, said marketing procurement was an “R&D area for procurement”. “On the one hand you have procurement, and you have marketing people, whose role is to see how you can sell to people products they don’t need,” he said. “It’s really a different area. It’s interesting for me to see how we can build real bridges and cooperation with the marketing department.”

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