What actually is procurement? Six years ago I was clueless. Without an understanding what the procurement department actually does, sometimes I couldn’t understand why they were always involved and just tried to make savings without respecting concepts or even our advice.
At that time I was working as marketing coordinator for a BTL agency in Madrid, creating and developing events for various brands. With some customers like Volkswagen Group and Telefonica we had to involve the Marketing Procurement department in everything we did. Tough discussions and long-lasting negotiations built a bad reputation for procurement in my former agency.
Now, six years later, I know exactly the reason why. In November 2013 I got a call that was going to change my life. There was an open position in marketing procurement in the adidas Group. There it was: procurement again! I have to admit that lots of thoughts came into my mind like “the dark side of marketing” and also my colleagues’ advice wasn’t better: “Are you going to the enemy?”… Leaving these thoughts aside, I decided to take my career to the next level and accepted the position. Now, nine months later and having exchanged the sunny Mediterranean coast for not-so-sunny Bavaria, I can tell you that coming to Herzogenaurach was the best decision I could have ever taken as a marketing professional.
It´s not all about savings
I’m not going to lie to you: Since marketing procurement belongs to the financial department, savings drive procurement, but not at any price. In procurement, our major goal is to provide our marketing colleagues with the best service we can deliver. Hence, we try to get the most value out of negotiations and contracts for the best price. That’s what we focus on. At the end of the day, behind terms like transparency, efficiency and endless excel files, we, the procurement managers, try to make our work as creative as we can. I realized that creativity is not only in the outcome but in the process. And that’s how six years later I have finally understood the necessity of procurement being involved in marketing processes: to help the marketing departments to get as much value as they can from their agencies, always at the best price. With our relentless work and dedication, we can make campaigns more efficient and budgets more transparent. It doesn’t matter which category, whether it’s media, digital, creative, events, materials, POS or PR. Due to procurement’s bad reputation and to the lack of understanding of other departments, we have to make sure we pay attention to them and try our best to explain that we all have the same goal. Therefore, to work in marketing procurement, we don’t only have to be marketing professionals but also to be empathetic and strategic. We need our marketing colleagues to trust and help us. Because only as a team will we win! In case I sparked your interest and you are thinking about switching sides like me, go ahead and apply for open positions on our careers page.