An Open Letter to Corporate Marketers: Embrace the Procurement Department

Posted by Sean Sharpless on Jan 11, 2019 11:08:12 AM
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Dear Marketers,

The new year is here and with resolutions fresh in your minds, it’s time to stop and think about the coming year and keep from running full speed ahead into your own silo.

Looking at the previous year’s spend, do you think procurement actually knows how much was spent on promotional products and/or branded merchandise?

My gut is going to go with no. Often we fall into the trap of looking at spending in this category with a 1,000-foot-view because it’s so hard to categorize and bleeds over into many other departments.

The sales team took clients out to dinner after big meetings and before parting ways handed out some golf shirts and branded golf balls.

The customer service team sent out delighters to key customers each quarter to drive retention.

The HR department gave employees holiday gifts to build internal brand affinity.

Some of these were submitted as random “reimbursable expenses” while others were recorded as facilities costs rather than categorized specifically as branded merchandise.

Now add in the intangible variable: the emotional impact of these items. Needless to say, determining the ROI on branded merch and promo products can be pretty complicated.

Here’s some unsolicited advice: Head over to your procurement department. Introduce yourself if you haven’t already, and get out of the mindset that the folks in procurement are only focused on cost — it’s time for marketers to embrace procurement!

These folks work tirelessly to mitigate risk at your company. They play tug-of-war all year long with defining processes, navigating regulations, and adhering to compliance standards. They evaluate the supply chain for inefficiencies, value, and competitive edge.

When a company has a mutually beneficial relationship between procurement and marketing, they are a powerhouse for forecasting sustainable growth and long-term profitability.

So while you are in the midst of mapping out 2019, tack on a 2018 business review early in January. Get all the key stakeholders from marketing and procurement together, eat some leftover fruit cake, and get after it.

This line of communication will open procurement’s eye to what marketing is working on and vice versa. Living the life of spreadsheets and reporting keeps those in procurement far from the people that are behind the numbers they stare at.

The service that procurement can provide marketers regarding the value, effectiveness, and potential inefficiencies of the company’s suppliers can help marketers to see the complete picture.

And by partnering with a promotional product and branded merchandise agency like us can help provide that missing validation that procurement struggles with trying to fill. Our process of tracking promotional spend and gauging the value of vendors and offshore suppliers are locked down — honed and refined over the last decade.

Make 2019 the year that sets the pace for continued investment in promotional products and branded merchandise, with internal partners like your new procurement friends and us here at Anthem Branding.

Very truly yours,

- Sean

Topics: Custom Merchandise, Promotional Products, Marketing, Company Merchandise, Procurement, Insights