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What Should Procurement Know about Agency Activity? Where are Funds often Wasted? (Part 2 of 2)

Joanna's Answer:

Part Two focuses on other ways to control agency spend besides supplier management. Understanding that procurement professionals are rarely the decision makers here, you can at least ensure that the conversations are taking place and the questions are being asked (and raised to the appropriate level of management when necessary).

Ensure your company is as rigorous as possible with defining objectives and deliverables. If your team isn’t sure what they want, then plan for several iterations before the marketing manager has an idea flushed out well enough to bring to their management. One advertising agency reported that they were providing round after round of revisions, only to discover that they had burned through the entire budget helping the manager get comfortable that she had something to bring forward to the head of marketing – they thought their creative content was working its way up the chain of command, but in fact it hadn’t passed step one. And a big budget crisis ensured before the senior executives actually saw any of the work.

Artificial Intelligence isn’t just for the direct material side of the business anymore. In an article posted online on March 27th, Alex Membrillo noted that AI is capable now capable of creating content. If you are using AI-based solutions in other parts of the business, your company should be inquiring about its uses on the marketing side. Perhaps an opportunity to create more successful messages to potential customers?

Question the reach and frequency of ad campaigns. If your product or service is one used by a fairly small part of the population, narrow the reach. No need to be taking out a SuperBowl ad if you’re working for a restaurant chain in the MidWest. Its better for a potential customer to see your ad over and over than for millions of people to see it who will never use your product or service.

“What gets measured gets done” is a quote attributed to management guru Peter Drucker. Advertising campaigns generate lots of data – make sure your company is using that data to make course corrections and to create “lessons learned”.

Fewer people are watching network television and getting exposure to content they way they did 20 years ago. Social media provides new opportunities but also adds huge complexity. The Marketing Team in your firm really needs the analytical skills and methodology rigor that Procurement brings to the party… maybe its time for Procurement to do some advertising of our own?

About Joanna


Joanna Martinez is a global procurement / supply chain leader and the founder of Supply Chain Advisors LLC. She is a frequent lecturer and blogger on procurement topics and also provides coaching, strategy development, training, and cost reduction opportunity assessment. Her clients range from Fortune 100 companies to technology startups.

As either regional or global CPO, Joanna has led transformation initiatives for companies in many different sectors: among them Johnson & Johnson (consumer products), Diageo (beverage), AllianceBernstein LP (financial services) and Cushman & Wakefield (real estate services, property management). She has also held client-facing roles, effectively giving her the opportunity to “sit on both sides of the table”.