MarPro - The Marketing Procurement Podcast

Emily Bruhn | Medtronic

July 28, 2021 Rusty Pepper / Dana Small / Emily Bruhn Episode 5
Emily Bruhn | Medtronic
MarPro - The Marketing Procurement Podcast
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MarPro - The Marketing Procurement Podcast
Emily Bruhn | Medtronic
Jul 28, 2021 Episode 5
Rusty Pepper / Dana Small / Emily Bruhn

This week on MarPro we chat with Emily Bruhn the Global Sourcing Category Manager  for Marketing at Medtronic about her background as a media buyer at both an agency and also General Mills made her a more well rounded and empathetic Marketing Procurement professional.  

Key learning from this episode include...

  • Measuring ROI
  • Changing Industries, but Staying in Marketing Procurement
  • Navigating the Agency Landscape
  • Consolidating the Vendor Pool 
  • Challenging the Status Quo
  • Earning a Seat at the Marketing Table 
  • Globalization Challenges

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Show Notes Transcript

This week on MarPro we chat with Emily Bruhn the Global Sourcing Category Manager  for Marketing at Medtronic about her background as a media buyer at both an agency and also General Mills made her a more well rounded and empathetic Marketing Procurement professional.  

Key learning from this episode include...

  • Measuring ROI
  • Changing Industries, but Staying in Marketing Procurement
  • Navigating the Agency Landscape
  • Consolidating the Vendor Pool 
  • Challenging the Status Quo
  • Earning a Seat at the Marketing Table 
  • Globalization Challenges

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LIKE
SHARE

Dana:

it is another edition of Mar pro I'm Dana small, and I'm here with my famous code. Mr. Rusty pepper. It's how you

Rusty:

do it famous. Wow. That's a first usually it's just a, who's this guy. Why is he talking? Why is he here?

Dana:

Yeah. Talk you out, man. And it is marketing. You're in marketing, right? You gotta talk yourself up, sell yourself.

Rusty:

We got to market. We got to always mark it, but now it's. Now well into this journey with Mar pro humbled and very much in all the, really the response we've been getting, it's been a really exciting to see it. I know we haven't really started hitting the gas yet with everything, but it's pretty exciting to see some of the conversations that we're having and really the feedback we're getting. Looking forward to a great conversation we're going to have with our guests today. So why don't we go ahead and get her intro to.

Dana:

Sure. So this is Emily Brun. She's from Medtronic. Emily, why don't you give us a brief background and intro about

Emily:

yourself? Sure. Hello. Thanks for having me. I'm Emily Brune. I currently am working for Medtronic. I'm the global sourcing category manager, supporting marketing. I actually started my career on an untreated. Sourcing path. I out of school, worked for a local advertising agency here in Minneapolis as a media buyer and planner, and spent about five years there in various media facing roles. And then transition was able to take an opportunity to. Those skills. And, but bringing that more into the sourcing world where I worked with general mills supporting media right away, and then ended up also supporting various other marketing categories, creative agencies, PR package design. Before I landed at Medtronic, well,

Rusty:

we call some, it starts off on the marketing side and then it finds their way over to. Does it's going to be a unicorn. That's what Dana calls it.

Dana:

You just don't see, she's got media experience. So this is the first time we've had somebody with actual media buying experience, but a lot of marketers don't come over to the dark side, but it's more of the procurement peeps moving over. It's through the marketing side. So it's interesting that you have media buy an experience. So could you tell us more about that? I'm interested in learning, like how you got into that and then how. buying onto into the dark side. Procurement.

Emily:

Yeah. Even falling in media was a little bit untraditional. I actually studied journalism and mass communication really thought I would take that career path. But when I finished school, One of the bigger recession. Wasn't a lot of opportunities in the journalism space, at least not in larger markets. And I wasn't willing to go to a smaller market to start that. So happened into a job, kind of an entry-level role at a media agency and really loved it. It was the clients we worked with were amazing. I loved the negotiator. In fact, I loved working with multiple different teams. We got to engage with the creative agencies, the clients. So enjoy that and then got more into the planning side, which was fun and eventually loved working at the agency. It gave me so many great opportunities, but I was looking to expand professionally and knew some folks that at general mills and they were really looking to expand their indirect. Uh, sourcing group and specifically we're looking for someone that had media background. So I feel very fortunate that they took a little bit of a leap on me. Cause again, I didn't have that traditional sourcing, but I think thankfully they saw that a lot of those skills could be translated, but negotiating the influencing and working with clients, a lot of that's very similar to how we work in sourcing.

Rusty:

Any type of when you, before you made that jump over some of the reservations you had about maybe making that.

Emily:

Yeah. First of all, going from like a small independent agency to a huge multinational company was a little bit scary. And then just looking career path. I didn't know a lot about sourcing. I didn't know about the challenges. So it was a little bit of a leap of faith to say, okay, I I've heard what they're saying, and they're looking for these skills and you can learn that. So that was probably the scariest part was just a lot of the unknown. But we're

Dana:

finding, I think with a lot of our guests, people end up having to have somebody to take that leap of faith on them. If you need somebody with that type of experience, who's been on the other side and interesting enough, you've been on the agency side, which is cool. You almost have to have that in everybody. I think in marketing procurement, nobody has a straight. And so I think your family actually makes is one of the straightest. It makes sense. You've gone on from that side, but I've heard agency life can be rough. I know you're at a smaller agency, but did you have a good agency experience or a bad agency experience? Cause I know it, it can be one of those things. People aren't fond of.

Emily:

No, I did. It's a grind. It's a grind. I feel like I have a lot more empathy now that I'm working with agencies, I've been there, especially at those entry levels. You're putting in a lot of hours, you're at the Beck and call of your clients. Uh, you're not making a lot of money, but it did give me a lot of opportunities. I got to do a lot of cool things. I was working with the big, still almost 10 years ago, but working with the big cable networks and it was fun. You got to go to upfronts and you got to do things that I certainly am. Twenties wouldn't have been able to do on my own. So I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for all of the things I learned around negotiating and the marketing space like that still today translate. So it was definitely a grind. I, people that can last for 20 plus years, they've got a lot going on for them. Let's

Rusty:

talk about the ton of general mills. What were some, the takeaways that you had from that experience specifically? That you feel have really helped you with your current

Emily:

role? I think coming in at general mills was really at its infancy in terms of marketing, engaging with sourcing. And it was almost a benefit for me coming in new, I think, because. Play a little bit of that new card. I didn't know what the relationships were supposed to look like. I wasn't aware of how they should be engaging. And so it forced me to really take the time to understand what does marketing look like? What are marketing needs, what role should sourcing be playing rather than coming in with preconceived notions. And I got a lot of good advice take the first six months to really learn. And we're here to be a partner and to make. Marketing's jobs easier not to come in and put down a bunch of mandates. So I owe a lot to the team that I worked under.

Rusty:

So you said they get pretty strong leadership that really what allowed you to take, give you enough room to be able to really grow and evolve into that role and what your responsibilities were?

Emily:

Yep. Yeah. I've been fortunate both at general mills and Medtronic to be under sourcing leadership that really understands the nuances. Sourcing in general, but also specifically marketing.

Rusty:

Perfect. But either marketing is a core to their, sorry. Didn't mean to cut you off there, but it is absolutely one of those areas that you have to have marketing is at the center of what any CPG company

Emily:

does. 100%. And so what I don't think would have gone was if we come in with a bunch of mandates and ensures sourcing professionals, we are there to help protect the company to drive savings where we can, but. I feel very fortunate that I've grown up under leadership that. Acknowledges, that's not the only savings is not the number one driver, especially in marketing. It's how can we add value? And so I would say there was some tension with some folks that maybe have more of a traditional direct materials background, and having to remind them that this is a lot different. And these are things that, especially in CPG, this is what's selling the company. We should be investing and making smart decisions there. How can we make it that easier for marketers?

Rusty:

We hear that a lot. We talk about that with the whole fact that the mentality within procurement can be really vast when it comes to the way that people approach the responsibilities and marketing is such a emotional element as well. And there's a lot of subjectivity to it. So you can't just come out with price just because somebody is more expensive, they might be more expensive, but the results and revenue that they're driving for the organization. 3 4, 5 X of what? Somebody that's less expensive. You mean save upfront, but on the long side of it, it's going to be a lot

Emily:

worse. Yeah. Yeah. The challenge though is proving that out, but how do you show those two scenarios and what that can look like? So that's definitely a challenge.

Rusty:

So Howard, let's talk about that. How are y'all doing that? Or how have you been able to measure and prove out savings?

Emily:

There's the easy stuff, but when you put something out to bed, you'd still do some RFPs are moving away from that, but obviously you can work on rate cards. You can look at the hourly. Rates that somebody is charging us. We will sometimes build in rebate models. If we start hit a certain threshold, we'll have some that comes back to us. We haven't quite cracked it here at Medtronic at how do we look at more of the ROI and talk about the value? Because there are some categories where we are spending more and we are doing so purposefully, but we know that there's like a value creation component. And when. General mills. We were really digging into that. If we were spending more and we're investing more in strategic agencies, how do we tie that? Can we tie that to sales or two? We were even doing like consumer surveys and sentiment. Can you tie those together? Because we know intrinsically that that's, there's a tie there, but how do you prove that out becomes a little bit more challenging?

Rusty:

Were you able to leverage and lean on your partners and your agencies to be able to help with, try to quantify that and to deliver that.

Emily:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And we even had some of that built into our compensation models to look at how can we, we know they, they're not responsible for all the sales. Certainly there's many factors outside of that, but can we take a few different things and look at that together and show, this is the ROI that our marketing partners are helping to drive.

Rusty:

I think this is a good little spot to re-introduce our co-hosts tonight, today, Dana small, who had some video and audio issues earlier. So welcome

Dana:

back. Okay. I'm back. Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. I was like, this is. Yeah, it just disappeared. Yeah. They came right back. That's all aliens. No, but so I was listening to you guys. And so interestingly enough, you're at Medtronic. And so you're in the life science medical space, which I'm also in, but I'd be interested to know who you guys market to you're right. Besides, are you still, do you have HCP marketing? Do you have DTC? Because as Medtronic, you guys are very much a. Uh, device company. So to me, I think DTC, I don't think a lot of media spend there, but I could be completely wrong. So can you give me a brief understanding, like how you guys are set up and.

Emily:

Yeah, historically, we've been very healthcare HCP focused. We do, we have different portfolios of products. And I would say three out of the four are, again, historically very healthcare focused diabetes is our one unit. That's a little bit more customer facing because as a diabetes patient, you do have a little bit more control around the products and therapies that you're choosing. I do think we'll start to see a shift, even when you just think about media purchasing in general with the technology out there. Targeting a healthcare audience. You don't have to just target them within the new England journal of medicine or on LinkedIn. You can find where they're going. So I think. They will still be a heavy audience. I also think we'll start to see some shift into more DTC efforts as well. I just think that's natural just given the way that people are having should maybe be having more control over their healthcare and are maybe more interested in it. So I think there'll be a natural shift over the next couple of years.

Dana:

And so you've seen from going from general mills now to over to the medical side, that's got to be different. What do you w what are the positive pros? Cons of each?

Emily:

Yeah, it was crazy. I knew it would be quite a difference because coming from CPG, like marketing is that golden child. Running the show at Medtronic. Obviously we marketing is a huge component of that, but the R and D that is the golden child as it should be the differences. Why don't I look at the marketing spend there's differences. We're spending a lot more on market research, a lot more on public relations and communications. We're heavy. We're also a much larger company, probably two times the size of general mills. So there's a lot of internal communications and that kind of falls under my purview agencies that help craft those global communications. So that was a big change. Yeah. I think understanding the shift in audiences to different consumers has been interesting, but there's also a lot, that's the same in terms of the partners. Did you

Dana:

have more fun with the CPG side? A little bit more fun with and ask her that now she's

Rusty:

still Metronic Metronic more than Sheila.

Dana:

Okay. Let's put that aside. Rusty.

Emily:

Come on. I can. I actually followed a leader from general mills to Medtronic. So I feel like he would probably agree with me. So I feel like can take a little more leeway on that. Certainly it was so fun. Being able to go on commercial shoots with, be hiring talent and be involved in that and watch TV and see the ads that you've had a portion of being on. That was awesome so that I missed portions of that. But CPG is also a really tough industry to be in right now. Cost pressures, not just from sourcing cost pressures overall, so that. That's hard on anyone

Dana:

that makes sense. I can understand that. What do you think about though? So now you have to deal with a lot of HCPs and that type of marketing is a huge difference. Right. And when you think consumer versus HCP and you guys also have, especially agencies like Medcom agencies.

Emily:

Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of regulatory and compliance have actually been working with compliance because my. In theory is the majority of purchase orders that are coming through. And a lot of times it's not super clear on, is this something that has to be tracked for transparency purposes or have you gone through the appropriate approvals? It's a much bigger matrix to figure out and had to have a crash course and sunshine act and all the other healthcare related regulations.

Dana:

Yeah, that's gotta be tough coming from CPG to, into health care. Like I know a lot of people have struggled with it, at least that I've seen coming from different industries because there is a lot to know in the back end versus general mills is just anybody can go out and buy some cereal.

Emily:

Yeah. The privacy privacy, and then those sorts of issues. Obviously part of gender most too, but this is to a different level and just many different components that you have to be aware of it. And it's different in every country to.

Rusty:

What are the categories that you are managing and you're responsible

Emily:

for? So we divide them up media planning and buying branding and creative services, kind of anything under the brand strategy, content creation, market research, public relations, and communications print. So any marketing related print and then promotional like branded merchandises. Yeah. Okay.

Rusty:

You've got all those different compliances that you have to deal with within each of those. So what are some of the biggest challenges that you see from a marketing procurement standpoint? Or is there one that really stands out that you're like, gosh, I really wish we could solve this. Could be solved at some point.

Emily:

Yeah. One I would say is the agency landscape is so vast. I think one challenge is. There's always the question of, can you find one agency that can do multiple components of the marketing work that you need? Or do you need a specialist in each? And then how does that work? What are the cost implications of that? Obviously having multiple agencies takes more time internally to manage that, but sometimes it's hard to find an agency that can play in more than one of those buckets or help you with all the way from your brand platform, all the way down to your advertisement that's on there. So I think that's a challenge and it can be the agency landscape. It keeps getting broader and more complex. So that's a big.

Rusty:

Dana. Do you see the same challenges? Cause you're a very similar industry called

Dana:

much. It's interesting because although we she's producing more of a medical device, we're still like we're in drugs. So it's still similar. I will say I have seen the same things with agencies. We do try to. Consolidate and where we can write it and maybe have a digital agency built in. But I, at least I found similar to what Emily was saying is that trying to get an AOR to do everything makes the most sense, like strategically, but it doesn't always pull through a lot of times, we'll see an agency who's great on the creative and strategy, but their execution just is lacking right there. They're good at one thing, but not necessarily others. So I do see that the agency landscape is. Procurement wants to go in and say, Hey, let's consolidate, let's use an AOR. Let's find efficiencies. You end up still having to piece things out because one agency typically can't do everything well. And we've talked about like digital, how digital should be almost pulled out as its own category. But yeah, it's hard to get an agency that can do everything.

Rusty:

Aren't there a lot of product categories that you could say that about, right? Yeah.

Emily:

It's a cha and you've got to find that sweet spot because when I started at Medtronic, we had thousands, 5,000 plus different marketing suppliers, every, yeah, it's insane. So we've spent the last

Rusty:

5,000. Hey, it took me a while to process that I was like, wait,

Dana:

let's imagine it'll spend this like epic spend.

Emily:

Yeah, yeah. The way we were the way we're structured, again, going back to there's different portfolios and they were all working very siloed and we're a company of acquisitions too. So you'd have an acquisition, they'd bring their partners along. So I understand how it got to that point, but, you know, Definitely had duplication. So what we've really been focusing on since I've been here the last almost three years is how do we consolidate? But then there's that fine point? How far can you consolidate or you still need to give people some choice. We know that there aren't, isn't one partner that can do everything even within a sub category. So are you trying

Dana:

to consolidate like across regions or have you tried to cross brands? I know at least in my space when I tried. You know, brands to do that. They start throwing out the diva act and I can't have that team. I need my own. I need the AA team. I need my own agency. Do you see the same

Emily:

for sure? We, our focus has been cross-brand or cross portfolio, so we've actually, and this was started. I cannot take credit for this, but there is a program that was started prior to me joining the marketing preferred partner program mouthful. So we shortened that to MP3. But what we really do in that program is we look at each kind of sub, so market research, branding, and creative services, and we bring together subject matter experts or marketers from every single portfolio, come to the table to talk about what current partners are they working with? What capabilities are they looking for? What's important to them. Do they need someone local that's on the ground and they need global capabilities. And then we go and we try to. We kind of outline get everyone's feedback. What's the important things and consolidate the current roster based on that. So involve everyone and look at all right. In this sub category, we currently have 200 vendors. We're going to get that down to 30 based on what you've told us. So there's definitely still, we will have partners that are very specific to diabetes or various specific to cardiovascular. Yeah. I think I had to learn a lot on that too, because I was came in with a mindset. You can, you all can work with the same partner. It's fine. And I realized that's not the case, so we definitely have some specialties, but at least we've taken a good chunk of kind of that tailspin that.

Dana:

I think that's always an excuse that I've gotten from all of my marketing people is, but you don't have this type of experience, but they don't have medical writers that are like, your yours is diabetes, or you don't have hemophilia or you don't have this specific experience. And a lot of times I'll exclude agencies based on that. And I feel like it really narrows the. Who they can use. I think if you can get a good agency in there who understands medical, then you're okay. And the disease state helps, but I don't think it should be a make or break, which most marketers end up doing, at least from what I've seen.

Rusty:

Yeah. I remember two marketers. We were building relationships with our partners. We're working very closely and aligned with them on everything that we're doing because it's helping build and support and stand up the business. So when all of a sudden we start talking about, oh, we need to maybe look at making a change. It's kind of like, we, it took us years to get to this point. And now there's a chance that there's going to be a change and that's not easy to do, man. Just think about all that time and energy. So gotta

Dana:

think though, too, like what to me, when I think of old agency relationships, and I'll be interested to hear your opinion on this, Emily, a lot of times you get people so baked in, they maybe have more knowledge than the actual brand because the brand can flip over the marketers a lot. But they also get it's the law of the jungle. They also get a little bit lazy. They start resting on their laurels. They know your brand better than you do, and you're not getting as good as service or quality that you could from potentially a new agency that would come in and be fresh eyes. So for, from my perspective, it's not always good to have that super long-term relationship. They almost can get, you know, a little bit lazy sometimes on the back end, knowing that they, they have so much history.

Emily:

I agree. There's pros to both things and having that consistency and knowledge, because again, on the client side, we might have turnover. And so having that brand has history is important, but I have seen complacency with partners. I even saw it when I was at the, when I worked at an agency, we had a client that had been with the agency. Since the beginning of the agency. And you could just see, not that they did any last work, but it was a little less pushing. You knew what the client wanted. So you might not bring forward any new ideas because he knew they might get shot down. So I think there's something fair or to be said for introducing new partners that can challenge and break the status

Rusty:

quo. Yeah. And I think there's a way to do that, where you bring somebody and they take a project. Here's a, you're all of a sudden, it's like, And it puts everybody on notice that, Hey, wow, we got to, we got to sharpen our skills. Rehone the stone and make sure that we are as hungry as we once were, because I do think agencies, there's no doubt complacency exists everywhere. Yeah. Even with your own staff in house, it doesn't matter. It's you get comfortable. That's just human nature. So it's how do you keep people sharp, engaged, ready to go every time. And there's a, there's this, some companies have a really good culture to be able to create that.

Emily:

Yeah. And I think sometimes again, I can see the. The pro of having an agency being that consistent, but should they be that like at the end of the day, they're there to be the expert on the capability they're bringing, whether that's creative strategy or branding, whatever that might be. And I would argue a good agency should have a well-oiled onboarding machine. So I totally understand that onboarding and offboarding partners can be very disruptive and you don't want to be in a cycle of doing that. But sometimes I think we rely too much on agency partners for that historical knowledge, when really that should be. And house, and we should be able to share that knowledge in a fairly quick way. Did you see that

Dana:

across both industries that they're even in CPG, they're very reliant on the agency. Yeah, that's interesting because we always think, at least for me I've been in pharmaceuticals, so I always think, oh, it must be something pharmaceuticals that we rely so heavily on them. And. We also just think they're like an extension of our team. A lot of the times it's a very personal, like we just had a barbecue agency and so they don't want their friends with them. They don't want to challenge that. Do you find yourself being a little bit nicer during negotiations being that you are on the other side of the.

Emily:

Agencies I'm 100%. I probably, yeah. Everyone has their own negotiation style. I think maybe it is my background. I'm a lot more collaborative having been on both sides. Again, my interest at the end of the day is protecting Metronic and getting the best value for us. But yeah, insight helps

Dana:

you to, with the negotiations because a lot of times you think, all right, knowledge is power, whatever. I could know about how that business runs and how it could run more efficiently. If you can bring that to the table, to them, you're almost at a slight advantage over them. Wasn't as you know how it works, you can say, Hey, let's go in shape, but let's make it fair, but this is how we can do it. I know how your business runs. Do you ever see they're hesitant about something like that or are people pretty receptive on the agency side when you let them know? You've.

Emily:

I, I do try to lead with that. Not that it's like some feather in my cap, but I do think that it shows them, Hey, I'm not somebody that a year ago was buying plastics or whatever. I truly do have experience and empathy. So I think that helps just build trust. And I'm a big, I like to build that layer of trust and partnership before we get into that's important to me. And that's where I've seen success, but it also works in, I can call BS sometimes if you're trying to tell me we can't provide that level of detail. Yeah, you can like, that's how you're running your business. So I think it goes both ways, but I think. Establishing that trust right away and showing that experience helps me if those tough conversations need to happen when I'm meeting new people, especially at the leadership level, some have had very negative experiences with procurement, just coming in and saying, this is the way it's done. We negotiate this. We have cost savings here. So. Always try to introduce myself and talk about the background. And I think, again, it helps people let down their guard a little bit like, yeah, I'm still not the expert. Like you, you guys are the experts on marketing. You're the expert on your brand, but I do know where you're coming from. And I think that helps establish that layer of trust, which is really important with my stakeholder.

Rusty:

One of the big issues that we hear a lot is the fact that there is a silo illness internally, where you have markings. Like this is my stand, my space. We'll let you know when we need you. And procurement's trying to get in there and trying to understand it. And they're there, there's a motor that they're trying to bring into the process as well. But the alignment between marketing procurement and marketing is very important. So I would think that from an external lens, If you've got somebody on the market procurement side, that it has a marketing or media background. That would be someone that would be easy to bring in on the front end a lot easier than somebody that reaches think as just a procurement focused person where you want to bring that in a little bit earlier. Hey, could you give us your perspective? This is what we're saying, or this is what we're wanting to do. Does

Dana:

it help you get a seat at the table? I think that's one of the things right. Rusty we've had with other people of procurement always wants to see that table. And it sounds like you might have a slight edge because they're going to bring you in earlier because you actually been there, you know that, and I think. It would make sense, but it'll be interesting just to hear your perspective. If you think it's gotten you a seat at the table a little bit easier than old

Emily:

procurement people. I think my background opens the door. I don't think it quite gets me a seat at the table. I still very much feel the pressure and I feel that's part of my responsibility to show why I should have a seat at the table. Neither company that I've worked at well, both companies have had a procurement policy. You have to work with procurement. I will say we never really. Enforce that to some extent, it's not, you have to include Emily in this meeting or at this time. Pardon me? It's a challenge to see. All right, I've shown them my experience. They're at least open to it. Now I need to prove my value. Can I stand behind that? Can I walk the talk that results in my, me and my team, putting in a lot of grunt work, especially if it's new stakeholders, we're going to step in, we're going to help them with scopes. We're going to do some tactical ideas. And slowly try to work our way up. All right. Maybe next time they involve us in the conversation with the agency and we might be able to say, Hey, I think you can, you know, scope a little bit differently, or let's think about this a little bit differently. And then maybe next time they're going to reach out to you when they're trying to choose a partner. So it can be a little exhausting because you have to, you're constantly fighting for that seat. But then when I think back to when I say. Under three years ago when we, no one knew what the role of sourcing was, why we were invited, why we were around. So again, I feel fortunate to have sourcing leadership. That's acknowledges the challenges and where sourcing should play with marketing and where we should.

Dana:

It's interesting because from what I've seen, I've been at two companies who originally I was not part of the, like the PO process. And it was like a place where if marketing one to work with us, they would otherwise they didn't have to, they, there were no policies, no procedures in place. Where, when I was at Amgen, it was like, you had to get this purchase order approved anything over a hundred or two 50, whatever the threshold was, you had to come through us and get our approval. And I feel like in that position, it's a little bit easier because. You get to see everything and then you can put a stop to certain things or at least negotiate on the back end. But I think it's a lot harder when you don't have that. And people just have to do it because they like you, or because you have to show your value of a business case and say, I did X with this. It's interesting though, to me, that you've said we, there was a policy for us, but people didn't necessarily have to use us. That's to me typically, I think if there's a policy, then they're going to be forced to go through me. And it gives me a little bit more power to say, did we make the right choice?

Emily:

Yeah. Yeah. It's always a struggle I have and it's something I bring up. I will have this discussion with my leadership sometimes. Why do we have a policy then if we're not going to enforce it. And I think they bring me back down to earth a little bit. We certainly would use it if we had to, obviously, if there was some activity happening that was detrimental or risky in some way, but I learned, and I continue to learn that broach probably isn't going to win you. The friends. So I, I will use it as a reference guide, especially if I find somebody who would be working with a partner, we don't want them working with, or maybe they're not following process in terms of having a contract in place or a scope in place for gently reminding them. But Hey, I'm here to help make sure you can be compliant with that policy. So here's how, and when to engage.

Dana:

Rusty Love's policies. Don't you rotate?

Rusty:

I have the book, every marketer, every salesperson it's always by the book. It's exactly how it is that where it's structured. No, it's just, there's a lot of variants out there. You've got to prove yourself in it. New vendors coming in, they've got to prove themselves and existing better. They've got to continue to prove themselves. There's there's it never ends. But I just think that. As marketing continues to evolve and it's just getting there's more and more layers that are being added to it. We've talked about digital being maybe pushed out and created its own little space, just because of the, how vast that's giving in itself. Where are some of the different challenges that you think about long-term that you think are gonna be really important for marketing procurement specifically?

Emily:

Yeah, I think you hit on it a little bit with digital. We've had the conversation of like, how is that on its own? Is it within other categories? How do we treat that? And so I think continuing to define just what we support and what the categories are, what the spend is. I think the. I feel like that the same challenges will remain when I go to industry conversations, it's a lot of the same challenges year after year. It's how do you show your value? And then that gets harder too, as we're continuing to spend more in these spaces, it's as we should be, what is the role of sourcing? How do we vocalize that? I think those are some of the big ones for me personally. And just the, how do we manage vendors and marketers and categories more globally? I just think that's been something we've been looking at over the last six months to a year is how do we, we have this program in the U S how do we expand that you can't really think of any category of spend, at least in our company, as a regional focus, everything is done with a global mindset now, and that's challenging from a external vendor. We're sort of global

Rusty:

mindset being driven

Emily:

from it's a good question. I, we, when we underwent some restructuring at the beginning of this calendar year, that kind of change that I think they saw, we might have some duplications of efforts. If we have product teams that are separated by region, especially on the direct materials side, how do we take the scale of Medtronic and look at that better? And I just think it's the nature of just how the global economy is working now. It's just hard to silo things by country or by region anymore.

Dana:

You talked about this rusty, right? The global versus regional. So what I've seen is global starts and then it gets pushed out to the regions and then it gets reworked. Have you seen that in your experience?

Emily:

Yeah. Both from, yeah, just a content aspect that seems to happen a lot. So there's a global team that manages it and then it, yup. It gets pushed down to the regions to. Cut down translate or completely redo in some aspects. So definitely

Dana:

cause it's been hard for me. That's one of the things that I've tried to do where I've had the global team and then maybe north America and Europe, everybody do a huge RFP prior to a product launch. Everybody gets on board and then globals first they go, they love them. And then all of a sudden starts going out to the regions. They're like, Ooh, actually we're going to find a new agency or actually. Through those websites. So there's a lot of wasted money. I feel like in that movement from global to whether it's north America, Europe, whatever region it is.

Emily:

Yeah. Yeah. And we've looked at our preferred rosters. It's a challenge too. We always have the conversation of what is the, what is this roster intended to cover? And when we started the program three years ago, it was like, all right, this is the roster for north America. This is the roster for Europe. That's hard to enforce now because you might have a team in Europe, that's driving a global project. And so which roster, so we're trying to rethink, how do we think of tiers of agencies instead? Is it a tier one agency that's maybe setting the strategy overall kind of vision, and then you have the tier two agencies that are maybe more locally. So we're focused on that tier one right now and letting the regions and the teams continue to manage their tier two agencies, because we know that's been important to them to have that kind of on the ground support

Dana:

tier two's more executional. Would you say like tiers ones like creative strategy? Two is a little bit more executional and you're, you're saying we're not hearing you allow them to have more of the execution localized versus the creative strategy.

Emily:

Okay. That's.

Rusty:

Yeah, so global strategy, local execution. I don't really understand how it would work really. Any other way, you can't have global execution. You can try. You're going to very difficult. It would be dreamy difficult. And we talked about not everybody. You have to have diversification. Yeah. Diverse partners, locally, people that understand the,

Dana:

but it's a disconnect for us rusty, I think, as a sourcing person. And I don't know if Emily agrees that we're always told, like you got to globalize, you've got to find efficiencies. You've got to consolidate across regions and do all those things. Fine. If you're buying plastic. Yes, it makes sense. But when it comes to marketing, I've noticed

Rusty:

that, yeah, I know. I D I would challenge, even on the plastic side, chipping something across the world makes absolutely zero sense

Dana:

kind of global supplier who has different right. Offices in different locations.

Rusty:

The supplier, even that even the supply chain for a lot of that stuff is, is a challenge. Right. I, I don't know. I'm not a direct, but I would just think that when I, every time I hear. Global anything when it comes to try to consolidate, not just creative. Even producing product, there's just a lot of challenges and you just don't.

Dana:

I agree. There's very few things that I've seen done super well globally. I don't know about,

Rusty:

you know, there's people out there just yelling at us right now.. Emily: I said idiot. He doesn't know what he's talking about. I buy plastics all the time and this is how we do

Emily:

it. No, I, yeah. I agree. I think especially in the marketing space, it's hard. What I try to focus on is what's the global, if we're looking at a category of marketing spend, what's the global strategy. Cause I think you can come to some consistency there. Do we, how are we going to be working in this category media, for example, Should we be outsourcing media buying or should we be building internally? Those are the sorts of things that you can expand across the regions of your company. You may not have the same partners. You probably won't, but you're having the same approach, which I think is important. So that's where I've tried to find consistency is just how we're, how we're engaging the types of agencies, the process, rather than trying to force fit a global partner.

Rusty:

It will be interesting to see how all this shifts that sifts out, not shifts out, but sifts out with the whole globalization of everything. So last question for you. What advice would you give somebody who's just starting out in marketing procurement or considering getting into

Emily:

marketing? I would say you have to be comfortable in the gray area where I've seen, I actually have a woman on my team. Now who's younger earlier in her career. She came from the direct materials side and we've put her in marketing and she's excelled. And I will say it's because she's, she understands that we can have a policy or we can ever preferred roster. We can have X, Y, and Z contracts in place. We need to be flexible at the end of the day, Medtronic is not a marketing led company, but those are also the teams that are getting products out to our Salesforce. They're educating our sales force, who is driving the profits of our company. And so I would say, have you have to be flexible and you have to understand that you're there to support marketing and being able to find that balance of when do you push. And when you say, you know what, okay. Yep. I understand why this is an important initiative. How can I help you make sure that. Within that we're still protecting the company or Nicholas. Yeah.

Dana:

That bull in the China shop type attitude really doesn't work well with procurement. I've seen it go pretty sideways really quickly when you people have that hard.

Rusty:

Yeah. Does it ever really worked though? Really? When you break it down to anything,

Dana:

it can, if you're in a type of organization that forces you to go through marketing. When I was at Amgen, at least there are times where not that you want to be a bull in a China shop. You were just like, no, sorry, we got to go and bid this out. Like, you can just take a hard stance as a procurement person versus saying, oh, okay, you've already done all this work. Let's just go back and try to negotiate and spend the five minutes. You really can be a bull in China shops. They know we have to do, we need three bids and a buy. We need. Right. But. Then again, then you're losing the trust in respect of the partners. They're just going to think, Hey, bottom line is bottom line to them and they don't care about anything except for price. And I've seen people do that in this space with marketing procurement and they had the door slammed in their face. So it's not a great tactic. I'll put it. Yeah,

Rusty:

I agree. All right. So, well, I appreciate the time Emily. We've had a good conversation. I appreciate all the insights. It's fascinating to hear that how the background that you have had has really helped make opening the doors and at least building. Gaining the respect of your peers on marketing a little bit easier, or even on the agency side. So I appreciate you sharing that, the advice, and also just some of the different challenges and things that you've seen out there. And this has been really helpful, but we're working hard to try to build this community and trying to bridge that gap that, you know, traditionally exists between marketing and procurement. And it sounds like in some organizations that's working really well. And then we know in others, it's not so. The more that we can have these conversations, I think the better. So I appreciate you taking a few miles.

Emily:

No, thank you for the opportunity. I think it's great. It's a fascinating space and I think we can all learn a lot from what we've all gone through on both sides.

Rusty:

Okay. So I lied. I got one more question. What other topics would you like to hear, or would you be interested in us talking about on a future episode

Dana:

as you have that you've had a hard

Emily:

time solving? I think compensation models is always. One, what are, what are people looking at? I still see a challenge where we have a roster of partners and a marketer will come and say, okay, I see the rate card for XYZ agency. And I'm often like why, what is looking at. The hours they charge you going to really tell you they might take a completely different approach than a different agency. And so at mills, we actually started getting into more of deliverable based. So I think it'd be interesting to hear more different experiences with different compensation models and the other topic. I think. Supplier diversity. That is sometimes a challenge in this landscape, but there's a lot of independent agencies, but there's also a lot of holding companies. And so it's challenging, but to find agencies that are owned diversely. So how are, how is marketing and procurement working together to address those challenges, to encourage agency partners, to promote diversity? Within their workforce,

Dana:

especially if you sell the government and you're, you have to try to hit a diverse number, right? Yeah. So I know we're not like forced, but we have to report on who are the direct suppliers. I think marketing is one of the spaces where it is the hardest to try and find. You just don't typically find a lot because once you get a quiet.

Rusty:

Yeah, I think you can actually, uh, they, there's a lot of really good diverse suppliers out there. The marketing category they're smaller. They're not going to be the big media, maybe not as often in, in the big media and some of the bigger dollar spends, but think about promotional print there. We've got a fantastic print. Okay. Diverse partner. They're fantastic. And those are typically

Dana:

the areas you do find them, but it trying to find an agency that's a small, diverse supplier. That's certified is like a needle

Emily:

in the haystack and we, in some of those categories are where we found the most success consolidating. Cause it's easier to consolidate printing. Promotional items than it is mediator creative. So then you're working with these huge companies that aren't diversely owned. So I think we're trying to think of, okay. Yeah, we can't report out that we're working with diverse suppliers, but how do we still ensure that we're working with partners that kind of hold the same values as we do as a company? And so,

Rusty:

but could I have some of the, are they not able to then outsource some of the different creative elements that, that they're working on within their campaigns to these get tier two tier three credits? For

Emily:

sure. It depends on the company, I think in, in spaces like, you know, and I, where we, as a government contract that you have to meet certain thresholds of actual dollars going directly to a diverse supplier, which when you get to that tier two or kind of subcontracting spend, I still think it's important. Like we absolutely set expectations with our creative agencies about when they're bidding out production jobs or directors, things like that. So

Rusty:

definitely some great feedback there. So I appreciate it. Yeah. This is we're going to keep this going. Good. Appreciate the time. Thank

Emily:

you both.

Dana:

Thanks Emily.