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- Matt Seiler, CEO, IPG Mediabrands
- Alan Wexler, EVP, North America & Europe, SapientNitro
- James Gross, Co-founder, Percolate
"I usually say that I’m the poster child for procurement. That’s because I’m woefully tired of my peer group complaining that they have been commoditized by procurement and by the procurement process. In fact, it is not procurement that has commoditized us; but that we have commoditized ourselves. Procurement officers can be tremendous advocates for our industry and the work we do, if they see and understand the value in what we bring to the table. If you can’t prove your value, you’re at risk, and you deserve to be commoditized.
"Yes, procurement has an important role to play but needs to evolve. Senior marketers are under increasing scrutiny to demonstrate a direct link with business results and ROI. Yet too many marketing and brand decisions are based on emotion and subjective, creatively-driven responses.
As technology plays a bigger role in marketing decisions, and marketing programs (especially digital) become more measurable, procurement can play an integral role in adding structure and accountability to marketing decisions. Emotions will always come into play but procurement can play a valuable role as third party arbiter to help balance the inevitable emotion with an eye on performance. This skill becomes even more important as CMOs and CIOs increasingly sit at the same table.
If procurement managers are focused exclusively on price, they are probably not making decisions in the best interest of the company. Procurement needs to evolve from being a price-focused decision to a value-focused decision. By doing so, procurement has the opportunity to raise the bar for the industry by adding structure and accountability to the equation. They have the power to hold market buyers accountable for business success and for compensating agencies for their ability to deliver quantifiable results. If they embrace this challenge, procurement can evolve from the dreaded line-item cost cutter to a strategic decision maker."
"Procurement is the investigative layer that takes the workload off the buyer when making a purchasing decision. In most cases, the buyer doesn’t have the perfect amount of information to make the appropriate decision for the specific product or service that is being evaluated. This often happens inside large organizations and creates a need for a specialized role that goes beyond procurement’s perceived job; use the collective buying power of the organization to get the lowest possible price. Procurement can satisfy this need by collecting data and understanding issues like the cost-benefit analysis and risk profile of the organization they are looking to partner with, but as access to previously held private information becomes more readily available and public on the internet, their role could become less relevant."
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