ANA Report Finds Marketing Procurement-Agency Relationship Remains Problematic

The Association of National Advertisers’ latest procurement report shows that the working relationship between marketing procurement and agencies continues to be rocky, with little progress since the organization first highlighted problems a dozen years ago. 

The good news per the report: relationships between corporate procurement teams and corporate marketing departments are improving. 

The report cites a number of conflicts that remain between marketing procurement teams and agencies, including:

  • Marketing procurement and agencies are far apart on the question of relationship health. Fifty-four percent of procurement respondents characterized the relationship to be extremely or very healthy, while only 15% of agencies said the same.
  • Procurement perceives that their definition of value is maximum growth and impact, but agencies believe procurement’s definition of value is lowest cost.
  • Procurement views marketing as an investment to be optimized. Agencies believe procurement views marketing as an expense to be minimized.
  • More than half (55%) of procurement respondents agree that procurement understands the economic value of successful marketing, versus only 5% of agencies.
  • Almost half of procurement respondents agree completely that they are “knowledgeable” regarding advertising/marketing, while zero percent of agencies agreed with that assessment. 



 “One of the most fundamental findings of the report is that marketing procurement overall is still an adolescent,” said ANA Group EVP Bill Duggan, the project leader on this report. “At its best, marketing procurement is an enabler and facilitator; at its worst, it can be a roadblock and bottleneck. Marketing procurement must understand what marketing needs and what agencies provide and insert itself with the goal of optimizing the overall value and quality of the output.” 

Ten specific recommendations are included in the report: 

  1. Goals Between Marketing and Marketing Procurement Must Be Aligned.
  2. Involve Procurement Early in the Process.
  3. Procurement Needs to Understand that Advertising Is Unique.
  4. Procurement Should Focus More on Value and Less on Cost.
  5. Procurement Should Stay Involved Throughout the Process.
  6. Procurement Should Work Closer with Marketing Teams.
  7. Process Improvements Are an Opportunity.
  8. Education Is Critical.
  9. Procurement Should Market Its Value.
  10. Agencies Should Proactively Establish Relationships with Procurement. 

The full study can be accessed here.


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