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Procurement: The Way Ahead

Last week saw the latest edition of ProcureCon Marketing, the conference and exhibition dedicated to the marketing procurement community.

Media Marketing Compliance (MMC) is one of the event’s sponsors and we aim to play a key role in the evolution of the procurement function in helping make Marketing more effective, transparent and efficient.

Our panel session at ProcureCon explored the ways that contract compliance auditing actually enhances the client/agency relationship. This may sound counter-intuitive. Surely the agency’s financial objectives are the opposite of the advertiser’s, aren’t they?

This may have been the case in the Bad Old Days, when contracts were arguably treated by agencies as merely guidelines and they sought areas of grey to either gloss over or treat as debatable.

Times are changing. Contract rigour is improving and more clients are adopting contract compliance auditing as a standard business discipline. Agencies increasingly expect to be audited and are starting to provide fewer roadblocks.

This move is overdue. Marketing as a business discipline should aim to emulate others where contract compliance is not seen as optional.

Yes, a lot of marketing is hard to measure and quantify and media in particular is very hard to monitor. However, data exists to provide more transparency than ever before. The tools and techniques exist to track and measure ad appearance and exposure if advertisers are insistent on working with partners to do so.

As stated by Stephen Broderick of MMC at ProcureCon, the amount of transparency achievable is in direct correlation to the advertiser’s determination to achieve it. With the right partners, contracts and tools, real visibility can be secured.

With the right contracts and audit rights, marketers and their agencies have a clearer, cleaner relationship and know where they stand. Obstacles to successful auditing can (and sometimes do) harm the client-agency relationship and lead to a loss of trust.

The ProcureCon edition of ‘The Review’ from Marketing Procurement iQ carries a great op-ed from Tracey Barber, the Global Chief Transformation Officer at Havas Creative. Tracey talks about the need for a more open, trusting relationship between clients and agencies, but also states that the relationship within clients between Marketing and Procurement is crucial.

This is another area where good contractual discipline plays a part. It provides a central point of trust among all stakeholders and takes doubt out of the equation. Marketers can get on with the business of growth without having to worry about whether value is being lost unnecessarily. They may not have the time to get involved in the contractual compliance process (and should not need to), but their relationship with their chosen agencies relies on the kind of trust that is strengthened by contractual adherence.

This can only help the process of alignment between Marketing and Procurement that is identified at conferences like ProcureCon as essential to effective operations.

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