Friday, September 21, 2007

Will Procurement eat marketing's lunch?

On Tuesday this week, I was lucky enough to briefly present at this weeks Marketing and Purchasing Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Procurement (CIPS). I was invited to speak by Prof Robert Shaw from Cass Business School and the subject was "how we measure marketing effectiveness".

What was interesting was that the "we" in the question involved the procurement teams as well as the marketing and agency teams. For many larger organisations, this makes tremendous sense. What was especially interesting for me was to see that so many procurement professionals were clearly being challenged to assess the question of "what was returned" as opposed to just "what was spent" and it seemed like well established practice for many.
Of course, the reaction wasn't homogeneous and the audience appeared to divide into two groups. The first group knew that were only interested in focusing on cost control - even if they acknowledged that this was only 1/2 the story. The second group were open to looking at accountability but appeared to lack the tools or training to do so (bingo). What was clear was that the procurement function had lot's of tools and discipline to bring to the marketing function and this left many wondering whether the future of internal marketing teams was as a smaller coordinator of effort rather than as the owner of all marketing services for an organisation.
Another interesting discussion was the perennial one about over reliance on historic marketing assessment at the expense of creativity over future campaigns - clearly the agencies don't want to loose their creative authority. However the value of measurement may often be about measuring just how bad things are. There's no need to throw ones self over a cliff to prove gravity and the same is true in marketing. You don't have to spend fortunes to work out whether a message is having an impact.

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