2019 Procurecon EU Learnings and Takeaways

I attended ProcureCon London for three days this week at Twickenham Stadium outside of London with my UK-based colleagues, Danny Whybrow, Luke Beauchamp and Mary Fitzgerald. Twickenham is the home of England Rugby and the Rugby Museum.

The biggest takeaway from the conference was that the conversation is changing for the marketing procurement professional (finally). I have to say, I am inspired by what I’m hearing. Here’s a summary of our learnings and what we’ve gleaned from the conference this year…

Marketing is fuel for growth. Investing more in the stuff that works, making money work better and focusing on what is really efficient and effective to drive top-line growth.

Marketing Procurement executives are no longer talking about savings and are recognizing the importance of value. They are moving the conversation and their roles from sourcing to resourcing - advising on how to engage with the right partners. Cost savings is the wrong conversation. 

They are looking specifically at the four P’s: process, people, partners and performance. In fact, most believe that zero-based budgeting is unproductive and doesn’t serve growth.

Business silos must be broken down, connecting the dots across media, creative and production. The most challenging thing that is stifling the advancement of many initiatives are the silos within organizations. Some are creating squads around tasks or business objectives and aligning people to their skills to create solutions in the whole marketing ecosystem.

They also believe that using a consultant to learn best practices and validate their decisions is critical and more powerful than similar recommendations from an internal source, such as a procurement person working on their own.

This is all very encouraging.

Lastly, change management is a priority, and senior leadership support is needed. Many procurement professionals know that things need to change but they are longing for senior leadership (CMO and/or CEO) to support and fund these initiatives on the journey to modernization.

At APR’s private Masterclass hosted on day one of the conference, we shared and engaged with 20 marketing procurement professionals eager to make a difference at their organizations. After giving a brief presentation about the current state of the advertising industry and the 2019 creative production trends, we discussed the path to Content Creation Optimization 2.0. and the important role that marketing and procurement can play.

APR stated that the winners, those organizations that succeed in supporting the changes in the content creation eco-system, will be doing the following:

  1. The winners will care about value and impact over costs.

    • They will assess their eco-system.

  2. The winners will form Centers of Excellence to integrate the whole eco-system (media, creative and agency).

    • The role of Integrator will become important to connect the activities across the business.

  3. The winners will allow room for Creative Choices.

    • For example, the need for a plug-and-play eco-system.

  4. The winners will have a better handle on how they or their agencies choose vendors/suppliers/partners.

    • They will have supplier decision trees, rate cards, a way of selecting and bidding, and training.

  5. The winners will provide change management and training to their internal people and external agencies.

  6. The winners will address both global opportunities and local needs.

    • Marketers will introduce local subject matter experts to impact their regions and collect information, share successes, and evolve their models.

  7. The winners will use practitioners.

    • Since so much is changing so fast, it is hard to keep up. The winners will engage subject matter experts to assist where they don’t have the expertise to influence and validate decisions.

  8. The winners will recognize the difference between creative storytelling and mass-produced assets and address them accordingly.

    • They will identify ways to share assets and coordinate production and where the assets and processes will be separate and different.


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Christy Vojvodich