Some observations from the ANA 2013 conference

Our own Mark Ordover shared with us the following observations of the recent ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference in Phoenix.

We just returned from the 2013 ANA Advertising Management Conference in Phoenix. Similar themes seem to resound through the formal presentations and into the various breakout sessions and food breaks.

  • How can procurement find a place within their organizations to drive a common strategy between both marketing and procurement where procurement is bringing innovation and added value to their marketing partners as well as thoughtful cross brand cost efficiencies?
  • How can procurement develop trust within their internal organization as well as with their external marketing partners?

Still, the resounding feedback from external agency partners is that many procurement professionals today don't really know what the external agency does, where their value creation is and therefore only focuses on the cost side of the equation. Sopan Shah, Global Leader, Advertising and Marketing Procurement at Nestle had some powerfully simple advice, "Procurement professionals need to build relationships with their external partners by spending time with them! Days, if not weeks, should be spent with the external agency partners to build relationships, understand their work flow, continue to educate them selves in a very fast paced evolution of marketing and media channels." Without a deep understanding of your partners capabilities and their talent pool, it makes it very hard to create a contractual relationship where mutual goals are met and agreed upon!

Another theme that continues to get big discussion is the role of Big Data in today's business environment. Clearly, today's technology enables businesses of all shapes and sizes to collect data on their supply chains, sales, marketing touch points and customers to a level that has never before been available. But the resounding question is, "What do you do with the data? And how to avoid being buried beneath it?" Again, I find the best advice tends to be the simplest! Sandra Zoratti, VP Marketing of Ricoh Production Print Solutions LLC sumed it up the best when she advised "Start small. Use one brand. But start!"

Because of the volume and depth of the available information, you need to compartmentalize the data, maybe using one brand so that the organization can begin to test the data, develop assumptions, strategies and tactics from the analysis and then execute on those tactics.  

Clearly, as you wander through the various meetings and discussions, similar issues regarding the roles of procurement within the organization still abound. Can procurement and marketing co-exist and share similar objectives? Who should procurement report to and is it wise to have procurement professionals still so focused on cost regarding marketing?

It seems clear to me, that like a great football team, you need many players on the field to all execute their specific jobs within a coordinated ballet among other individuals to pull off a great play. Same within organizations. Procurement professionals need to help the organization look for efficiencies within purchasing habits across brands and business units, however, they need to evolve within the organization so that their business intellect and relationships enable them to help suggest ways to innovate and add value within the marketing world. Both groups need to train off the same playbook to make this happen. 

Lastly, as technology drives change, it seems obvious that the role of the marketing professional within the organization is changing with it. Whether it is data driven analytics that drive decision making or new technologies that continue to change the viewing and spending habits of the consumer, the new world of the marketer is one of dizzying change! In some organizations, the marketing departments are becoming larger spenders on IT than the IT department. Wow! Seems clear to me that there is more than enough here for both procurement and marketing to work together to build the organizations success.

Thanks ANA for another great few days!     


About Mike Lake

Mike is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Evergreen Trading. When not playing jazz trombone he is probably obsessing about writing content that will capture the attention and interest of business people and fellow learning junkies everywhere.

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