Ten tips for buyers to work collaboratively with marketing

21 September 2020

Ditching jargon and open, honest communication are key for procurement and marketing teams working together to achieve maximum value from agency relationships, a webinar was told.

Louise Deane, marketing procurement category manager at Suntory Beverage and Food Europe, told the webinar that being involved at the very beginning of the pitch process enabled procurement to have full visibility of the process.

Deane outlined her own experience of working with Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s marketing team on a pitch for a creative agency. 

She said: “Right before we even started talking to any agencies, I was involved to help the team to define how we were going to select the agency, what we were going to do and all the different briefing stages that we included within that.

“It was great to have that full visibility of the whole project and from a procurement perspective to have a really good input into that. It meant that I could then affect the outcome in a positive way from a procurement perspective.”

The webinar was organised by the Institute for Practitioners of Advertising (IPA) and CIPS and focused on developing better working relationships between procurement, marketing and agencies.

Deane added building open and honest relationships with marketing teams and agencies was essential, and both should be engaging with procurement regularly so buyers have an understanding of how the relationship is progressing.

“I can see if the relationship is going well or not and when we do our quarterly reviews or our six monthly reviews, I've got a much better understanding of how the relationship is working if I've been involved at various different touch points,” she said.

Also speaking as part of the webinar, Charlotte Wolfenden, managing partner at creative agency Adam & Eve DDB, added that procurement’s involvement in the pitching process was “invaluable”. 

“They offer a different dimension, a different form of evaluation that gives a rigour and a methodology to something that's quite intangible. Creative output is hard to define sometimes and I think there's a bit of logic applied to the magic which ultimately helps everyone,” she said. 

IPA and CIPS have shared top 10 tips from marketing on how procurement professionals can work with them to ensure that they achieve maximum value from their agency relationships:

1. Leverage our expertise

We’re both experts in our respective fields and working for the same company. Let’s respect that and use it to work efficiently together. 

2. Respect our time

Allow sufficient time to complete the process. Be responsive and respectful of each other’s time. 

3. Knowledge share 

Know the agency marketplace; who is good at what, who the movers and shakers are – and follow the talent. This really helps us. 

4. Be open and collaborative 

Understand what is important to us and help us get the best value for money with the right agencies, without compromising creativity or our agency relationships. 

5. Help us with the engagement process 

Simplify the process; tell us what we need to do to get suppliers on board or contracts in place quickly. Don’t blind us with process. 

6. Explain the contract process 

Simplify the language without the jargon. Explain the meanings, risk and impacts of our contractual commitments in layman’s terms. 

7. Post contract 

Work with us to identify new ways of working and technology that can speed up our processes and make us more efficient and responsive. 

8. Scope and category clarity 

Understand our category. Appreciate the complexity of our category and what we’re buying. Marketing is not a commodity. Adapt the procurement process to meet our needs. 

9. Partner with us 

Be accessible and agile – help us work with speed, especially if we need to get to market quickly. Be willing to be more readily available to us when we are holding a pitch, and manage our expectations on response times.

10. Stay involved

Stay informed; attend supplier events, conferences and fun stuff that we do, or that agencies invite us to. It really helps the learning process and helps build relationships. Consider sitting with us and join our team meetings so you become a key member of the marketing team.

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