The Marketing Procurement Podcast

2. The outcast of the procurement family?

December 09, 2020
The Marketing Procurement Podcast
2. The outcast of the procurement family?
Show Notes Transcript

Inclusion is a powerful tool for business growth. It is proven that employees are more engaged and deliver better results when they feel a sense of belonging.
Have you ever felt that Marketing Procurement somehow doesn’t fully belonged to Procurement?
Have you ever felt that Marketing Procurement was sometimes disconnected from Marketing?
The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it exists. So, let’s start naming the issues that contribute to the Marketing Procurement stigma. There are many solutions worth exploring to strengthen the Inclusion of Marketing Procurement community within Procurement and then within Marketing.
This episode starts the conversation on this vast and important topic. It also provides some pragmatic ideas and solutions that everyone can start testing as of next week.
Rate (5 stars) on Apple Podcasts, Review & Subscribe. Feel Free to invite others to join our Marketing Procurement Community.
Take care of yourself and take care of each other.

This is an auto-transcript generated by a computer.  As such, it may contain misspelling, inaccurate punctuations, or typos. Thank you for your understanding.


If I ask you to describe how you felt in marketing procurement in one word, what would it be? For me, it would be an outcast. I wonder if and how many people out there felt the same



I'm Magid Souhami, homegrown marketing procurement leader who turned president of global business. marketing procurement has been mainstream but remains unchartered, misunderstood, and sometimes undervalued. These podcasts aimed at better codifying marketing procurement. 



Hello, marketing procurement family the topic of inclusion is an important one. I think it's a root cause to many of the systemic issues that we face in marketing procurement, and therefore tackling it understanding it putting some words into how lack of inclusion sometimes can feel is super important to then be able to identify some of the solutions to enhance marketing procurement position within the company and outside the company. If I ask you to describe how you felt in marketing procurement in one word, what would it be? For me, it would be an outcast. I wonder if and how many people out there felt the same. 



Marketing procurement was one of the last areas created in procurement. So this results in somehow different treatment and on the other hand, the expectation to belong within procurement. Don't take my word for granted here. What I like to discuss today are some of the signals that describe that feeling. I believe perception is the reality so how people perceive a given situation within marketing procurement or outside marketing procurement has to do with some element of the reality behind it. Feelings are also an important set of facts. Often time we tend to discard them, we consider facts to be figures, data, things that we can measure, where actually I believe that feelings may be a very important indicator when it comes to inclusion. 



So today is really a reflection about some occasions when I felt we could do a much better job at making marketing procurement feel more included, not in a way to complain about it. The objective is rather to just put a name on things. name some of the issues so we as a marketing procurement community can start solving them. There are two types of signals that I usually look for out there. Some of them fall within the first category that is more tactical, lack of inclusion, and the second one is a more structural lack of inclusion. 



Let's start with the tactical lack of inclusion here I think about sometimes when marketing procurement was just happened to be missing on a broader procurement distribution list or when a company or supply chain update was shared without including marketing procurement because people were assuming that it was not really relevant for the marketing procurement folks. 



Another example that was actually brought to my attention by a team member asking why was marketing procurement sitting farther away from our leadership team, or even sometimes not on the same floor sitting in a different location to be co-located with marketing, instead of being co-located with the rest of procurement? 



Fair question, other tactical signals are sometimes the year-end letter includes mainly example and success stories from direct procurement. And very little if none from marketing procurement. There are instances where the procurement VP or the CPO were not spending quite the same amount of time with agencies compared to some of the other direct procurement supplier or logistics supplier chemical supplier, sometimes even making the mistake to call an agency a supplier which is verbatim that does not make them react well as you know. So thinking about solutions here to solve some of those tactical issues. 



Few things to consider regarding email communication. A default inclusion mode to me is better to have an opt-out from too many emails than feeling left out. So why not starting just to add marketing procurement to most of the distribution list that the rest of the procurement organization gets and let people do the filter of what they think to be relevant information and whatnot. along the same line, consider sharing your privilege of information If you're a marketing procurement organizational leader, then you may have likely access to information that comes from the broader procurement organization or the broader supply chain function about performance, business performance, plant-related update, logistic and so on and so forth. Just consider sharing that as a matter of education with your marketing procurement team, The other way around. I observed many times the fact that marketing procurement was actually sitting on quite a lot have information that they took for granted regarding brand strategies, marketing strategies, media, PR, and that information was not being shared with the rest of procurement. So when we think about inclusion, it goes both ways. We need to create a bridge that connects marketing procurement with the rest of procurement. And the other way around, we need the rest of procurement to better understand marketing, procurement.



Some of the softer element in tactical lack of inclusion, I found that often time just being a better listener trying to be not saying that you can always be perfect there, it's quite hard to detect some of the tactical signals like people feeling farther away feeling separated, feeling a lack of belonging there, I would say being a better listener or trying to is important to think about few things, listening not to respond as we do. We all do. It's human nature. Most of the time listening to signals really trying to understand how people feel not only the word that they say but their body language, their level of energy, use all your sensors. If you're in a leadership position to take the temperature of your marketing procurement organization, and then creating some space for open conversation. Often people will not set up a structured meeting or use their one to one time with you when they know there are many other business priorities to discuss. So you have to create some space for those kinds of conversations can be informal can be a coffee break, and be lunch off-site events where you can get some of those feelings out of the chest. 



Lastly, consider proactively challenging the status quo there is not enough being shared about marketing procurement success stories, take it on your own responsibility to change that brand, your team, and its work if your team was a brand, what would be its brand equity? What do you want it to be known for? In the end, we are experts in the marketing advertising and storytelling industries. So why not using the skills at the benefit of marketing procurement, make sure your leadership team across procurement and up to CPO are well equipped with key information for relationship management or just for representing fairly the complex and many contributions of marketing procurement. 



On the more structural lack of inclusion. The procurement scorecard way too often does not account for all the value created by marketing procurement because it's designed for and by direct procurement talent council or staffing meetings are another place where structural lack of inclusion may take place. You may hear a claim like she or he is not ready for promotion because she or he only had marketing procurement experience Career path may be limited because of some of the common beliefs of leaders who would not take a marketing procurement buyer into a direct procurement role. And marketing as a function would not either sometimes take a marketing procurement person and put it into a marketing job. training materials are used to coach sourcing skills across procurement. But those materials could have been designed initially by or for direct procurement. So it's important to strike the right balance and include indirect marketing procurement examples, let's think about a few ideas to solve some of those structural issues. 



We start with the procurement scorecard there is a need to evolve it many marketing procurement contributions don't fall straight into most of the existing scorecards, the way I usually think about it is three folds, and you may want to think about it along those lines existing adjusting or creating so how much of the value from marketing procurement could actually be well captured by using the existing scorecard. Just making sure that everybody understands what marketing procurement delivers and how it translates into the existing scorecard, some needs adjusting. If a KPI has been there for many years and needs to embrace or to be tweaked to better capture marketing contribution. Let's do it. Lastly, and if a KPI does not exist, then let's create it. Here marketing procurement needs to be proactively bringing solutions and putting examples that can be easily quantified and understood by everyone. Structural lack of inclusion related to scorecards is actually broader than that because measures drive behaviors and repeated set of behaviors over time create a certain culture to illustrate the point if you want to shift from a culture of cost-cutting, which is unfortunately yet way too often how marketing procurement is perceived by agencies and turn your organization into a value creation engine likely need to partner with finance to create a robust total value framework there was excellent work done under the protect spring initiative lead and chip road by the WFA. 



Talent council and staffing meetings are also places where lack of inclusion materialized in a structural way, have learned that I wanted to share here, a practice that we initiated as a leadership team in one of my recent experience was just to disclose biases, I find it extremely powerful because there are some people expressing things as I have never had a marketing procurement experience. All of my careers have been in direct procurement or supply chain and therefore I don't think that I understand sufficiently marketing procurement contributions or complexities to appreciate the people's work. Another idea here is to think about shifting the narrative of the discussion and focus more on transferable skills and learning agility instead of just checking the box of previous competencies. 



Let's also think about the career path for marketing procurement buyers and marketing procurement leaders. A powerful tool here or idea is to create mentorship programs that do expose marketing procurement talents way outside their working relationship. As an example, a media buyer would only or mainly interact with their media counterpart or at best marketing or brand team, how about connecting she or he with the logistic the plant or engineering leaders. At the end of the day, think about media, it's an extreme case, but the way it's being bought using an open market and a regulated market is very similar to the energy trading mechanism. So there are some transferable skills and behaviors and competencies that can go all the way from media to engineering and the way energy is being bought. 



Training materials need to be fit for the purpose of marketing, procurement. If I think about one of the most important skills that every procurement leader needs to master, which is negotiation, how did it make you or your team feel when all the business cases in such training include only raw materials or packaging supplier or logistic example? Couldn't we use an agency example for inclusion of marketing procurement, and frankly, for the benefit of everyone? An idea is to train negotiation skill using more marketing procurement example, think about using the case of an agency fee they had the buyer needs to negotiate not only the fee or just a number, but most importantly, the staffing structure, the seniority, the worldwide footprint, and the understanding of the agency team of the brand business and finally, their motivation to work day in day out with the marketing team to make the brand successful. So it's a very rich example to use in negotiation training that could be used across all procurement. It uses several skills, relationship management, influence, understanding of the business. And of course, the basic commercial acumen required to negotiate 



The structural inclusion of marketing procurement is crucial within procurement, but also within marketing. I want to share an excellent experience that I had recently actually sitting on the marketing leadership team that made a huge difference because I could be the voice of procurement towards the marketing leadership within the company and get firsthand insights, business priorities, and understanding of where the brands were going from a strategic standpoint, and then turn that into a marketing procurement action plan. 



Marketing procurement is one of the newcomers within the broader procurement organization, I often time felt as it was the outcast. My suggestion is to pay attention to two types of signals. Some are very tactical, others are more structural when it comes to lack of inclusion. I'm not saying that one is more important than the other, I would suggest treating them equally because perception is reality and feeling are just like other facts. 



My call to action for you would be within the next week, just take time to sit back and reflect on those two things tactical lack of inclusion and structural lack of inclusion. I invite you to think about the example that I shared and check if they're relevant within your own environment. I'm also sure that you will have other examples or additional ones to try to capture them and how about starting to have a plan for inclusion for marketing, procurement, within procurement, and within marketing. 



I leave you with one of my favorite quotes, none of us is as good as all of us. I think that embracing inclusion having a plan for it and also diversity is the right way to continue developing our marketing procurement community. 



Hey, marketing procurement family. Thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode. If you'd like it, give it five stars on Apple podcast. We have another great episode coming up next week so remember to subscribe and feel free to invite others to join our marketing procurement community. I look forward to seeing you again next week. In the meantime, take care of yourself and take care of each other.


Transcribed by