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Priorities for Procurement
ID CommsApr 04, 20235 min read

3 Priorities for Procurement in 2023



Three years after the onset of Covid-related lockdown measures and amidst a turbulent 2023 market, the spotlight is firmly on procurement. Businesses are increasingly reliant on procurement's expertise and guidance, with supply chain dependency, efficiency, and effectiveness high on the C-Suite's agenda.

Against this backdrop, it is crucial to identify the key areas that will be the focus of marketing procurement professionals for the remainder of the year. Before delving into that, it's worth noting the progress that procurement has made since its early days.


A complicated beginning

We are all familiar with the challenges that marketing procurement has faced over the years. Thirteen years ago, the ANA released a landmark report, Procurement: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which highlighted survey results from the industry on the state of marketing procurement at that time.

While the results were not surprising, they painted a bleak picture: procurement's self-assessment of performance received two thumbs up, while the agency community gave two thumbs down, and marketing colleagues gave one meaningful thumb down on procurement's performance.

As highlighted in a previous episode of ID Comms #MediaSnack with guest Bill Duggan, improving the relationship between marketing and procurement should be given priority over improving the relationship between procurement and agency.

The ANA's updated report, Procurement 2022: The Good The Bad and The Ugly, serves as a reminder that marketing procurement is still a relatively young and developing organizational discipline. A significant portion of marketing procurement professionals have relatively little direct experience, with over half of ANA Member companies having marketing procurement departments for less than ten years and 25% of surveyed procurement professionals having less than five years of experience in marketing procurement.

This underlines the importance of ongoing education and the need for early and consistent involvement in the marketing and media process for procurement's success.


Gaining momentum

The dynamic field of marketing procurement continues to evolve, with inspiring strides being made thanks to initiatives like WFA's Project Spring. The focus has shifted from solely racing to the bottom line to becoming invaluable business builders that prioritize outcomes aligning with company growth goals. As Hershey's Kevin McCollum reminds us in a recent episode of #MediaSnack, procurement's fundamental mission is to be a responsible financial steward of company resources, ensuring a good return on investment and mitigating risk for the organization.

At the same time, to be a success in marketing procurement in 2023 and beyond, it’s increasingly important to hold two countervailing ideas at the same time and believe both of them to have value. In the words of Prof. Mark Ritson, founder of Marketing Week Mini MBA, you need to get comfortable with bothism.

It's about striking a balance between efficiency (doing things right) and effectiveness (doing the right thing) while navigating the tension between growth (more) and savings (less) through productive collaboration between marketing and procurement. This approach will lead to a win-win situation for both parties and better outcomes for brands.

At the 2022 ANA AFM Conference session, Procurement Dexterity: Driving Both Efficiency And Effectiveness, industry experts Tracy Allery, Jose Gonzalo Bisquerra and Liliya Rechitsky emphasized it’s not just efficiency or effectiveness but the pursuit of both that will win the day. 


Looking ahead

As we look forward to the future, what will be the key areas of focus for procurement professionals?


1 - Investment fitness 

Marketers will place a high degree of importance on being fit and trimming excess. This means understanding what is a 'nice to have' versus a core building block in your media investment profile. Procurement professionals will need to know the fundamentals of media planning (yes, this means reach and frequency!) and take steps to emphasize a balanced marketing funnel. This will require genuine alignment on the goals of the end-to-end marketing ecosystem.

At ID Comms, we recommend regularly evaluating media investments based on their short and long-term value contributions to ensure a clear plan of action in fluctuating budget scenarios.

Consider a brand spending $75 million on media with an emphasis on video and a test and learn program on emerging video. With data-driven linear, OTT, and ad-supported VOD changing how video advertising is consumed, there are new opportunities to target niche audiences. For this brand, it's worth exploring the benefits of scaling up promising emerging video test cases while stepping back from linear TV.


2 - ROI confidence

Confidence in the return on investment from marketing and media dollars will serve as a springboard to growth once market turbulence settles down. As past economic challenges have shown, those that are ready to hit the gas when the light changes will be in the strongest position to leapfrog their competition.

When it comes to ROI guidance, we believe in going back to basics by examining the objectives of the media plan. This is where the success or failure of the investment can be determined.

What are the defined roles of each media type? How well do they align with the overall marketing goals? This analysis should be grounded in data and monetary values, with minimal assumptions or opinions.

By focusing on the fundamentals, we can ensure that the roots of our media investments are strong and thriving.


3 - Bothism

Transforming tension into productivity by balancing cost and quality will separate you from the pack. This skill set will be the single most important contributor to a deeper alignment between marketing and procurement and a more productive partnership in the future. It's about holding the tension dynamic of growth (more) and savings (less) in your head while at the same time leveraging productive collaboration between marketing and procurement to achieve a win-win.

At ID Comms, we have the privilege of collaborating with many of the top procurement professionals in the industry, offering us a front-row seat to observe their methods and approaches as they track value across the marketing and media supply chain.

What sets these professionals apart is their genuine understanding of the potential of the various marketing levers at their disposal, coupled with their comfort in navigating the gray areas of the industry where not everything can be quantified by a cost metric. By embodying this mindset in their daily work, they build a more productive partnership with marketing teams and drive better outcomes for their brands.


In 2023, procurement professionals must balance the needs of the company and the brand, acting as financial stewards while also upholding the brand's integrity. To achieve success, they should ask insightful questions that lead to better decision-making and continue to develop their ROI literacy. By leveraging evidence-based marketing performance navigation systems, procurement professionals can chart a course toward better outcomes for their brands.


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