Technology is part of everyday business life, but when it comes to marketing procurement having fit for purpose solutions can make a major difference to an organization, its buyers and your access to good data.
What does fit for purpose mean? Put simply it means that the technology works for the organization and its users rather being a performance blocker. In a recent client study conducted by Efficio, they found that buyers were spending up to 40% of their time managing the system and not using it as the business intended, and this impacts the quality of the data you then access.
On too many occasions I meet with organizations attempting to use their existing ERP or finance system to manage the marketing category. While it’s a great way to capture supplier requisitions, a finance system does not take into account the issues commonly faced by buyers of marketing services and the data complexity associated with the category.
For marketing, finance systems can be challenging at the best of times driving them insane with their lack of flexibility for the category. Faced with the prospect of using a finance system, marketing buyers often escape into email and spreadsheets. While offering more perceived flexibility, they’re localised on user desktops making it almost impossible for the organization to access data.
Considering annual marketing budgets often run into the millions of dollars, using technology that is not fit for purpose runs the risk of significant financial cost overruns and lost productivity.
So, does this mean that marketing is the problem child when it comes to sourcing, or can an organization access technology that is fit for purpose for both parties? The good news is that technology companies are an innovative bunch, we’ve stepped up to deliver applications that take into account the more discreet or specialized requirements within a business. This makes it a much easier and cost effective option to deploy category specific solutions that support marketing and the collection of good data.
I’ve put together a very simple (non-technical) checklist that I think will help you get started on determining if the application you’re looking at will solve the problem for both sides.
1. Do you have access to your data, and is it good data?
Without doubt data enables great decision making. But print and marketing procurement is a complex category that is governed by highly bespoke and complex projects, making the category difficult for procurement to understand.
Because of this, marketing procurement needs more than just a standard procurement platform in order to collect good data. A system that supports buyers and suppliers ensuring they input correct specifications via a standardised workflow on every transaction, we all know the saying, s$#% in equals s$#% out.
Having access to good data enables a business to look at just how effective the company is buying in the market. For most buyers, creating a contestable bid environment is what they assume delivers value, however when we look deeper into the data we often find that price over time has in fact increased and a company may be paying as much as 20% or 30% more than they realised.
Whether you’re undertaking the analysis yourself or engaging a 3rd party to manage, you must be able to easily access your data within the platform, create reports that can then be independently reviewed and analysed so that action can be taken in order to improve your bottom line results.
2. Has it been designed to support marketing procurement?
If you want rapid uptake from buyers of marketing services, then it’s critical that the app is designed for the category with features such as:
a) a great dashboard that delivers instant access and visibility to projects, quote requests and jobs for buyers
b) the ability to create and manage projects/campaigns
c) simplify the quote creation process that is standardised for all buyers linking them with approved suppliers
d) ability to review supplier bids and select suppliers based agreed criteria, (price, environment, social and compliance)
e) ability to award jobs (seamlessly generate purchase orders for suppliers) and set agreed milestones for improved job management
f) ability update jobs in real-time with changes or variations to better manage costs
g) the ability to write complex reports and output in real time providing the business access to meaningful data
3. Does the app support real-time collaboration between buyer and supplier?
We all know that price is important, but the relationship between the buyer and supplier in marketing is unique, it’s personal and built around trust. At every step in the process buyers and their suppliers need to share information and files (documents/artwork) to support decisions, stay on track and provide a single repository for all that business critical IP.
An in-app comms functionality not only enables great two-way collaboration, but by taking it out of email ensures transparency and eliminates single points of dependency.
4. Can it integrate with the company finance/ERP platform?
This is an organizational priority, today’s APIs give organizations the ability to integrate an external application (that meets the needs of marketing buyers) with the organizations finance system, for me this is the number one priority.
In summary, the opportunity exists right now to adopt new technologies that are fit for purpose for both marketing procurement and the organization helping both meet the demands of an evolving digital economy.
If you want to find out more on how we can improve how you manage and collect your data, then book a call with us, we’d be happy to help.