The key challenge at BT is tackling marketing procurement tail spend.
Paula O’Reilly, head of marketing procurement at BT, said 80% of spend went to a core of 15 “strategic agencies” but there were “hundreds” in the tail.
Speaking at ProcureCon Marketing in London, O’Reilly said 95% of spend was in the UK. “We have to get the best agency for every category,” she said.
“Simplification has to be a good thing because you have accountability but more importantly you have the right agency that delivers what you need.”
Asked what her key priority was she answered: “Tackling tail spend – we have hundreds.”
During a panel discussion on simplification, Valérie Revol, head of marketing procurement at LVMH, said there were 70 brands in the group.
“Unfortunately the DNA of LVMH is independency and all the brands do what they like,” she said.
O’Reilly said BT, which owns EE and Plusnet, had “dabbled” with in-housing for “low-risk stuff” such as copywriting and website design and build.
Damian Ellis, director global procurement: trade marketing and brand activation at Mondelez, said: “For us its about freshness and with in-house I am not sure you will get that.”
In a separate discussion, Malik Akhtar, VP marketing procurement at Bayer, said: “High-end strategy, I would not see that being done in-house.”