Let’s be honest. Marketing agencies and internal procurement departments haven’t always had the best working relationship. We get along to get the job done, but it’s not always enjoyable. I think agencies should take the lion share of the blame for this.

We haven’t been there for you. We haven’t made it easy to get what you need. We haven’t told you what we need. We don’t always understand you. I’m sure the feeling is mutual. We want to change all of this.

Like any relationship, it will take time, patience and education

To get started, I’ve put together three things we need from you:  

1. Provide clear objectives. Are you trying to understand value? Is it our hourly rates? Do we need to improve our reporting? If you tell us up front what you need, we’ll help solve the challenge. If we don’t know what you need to achieve, we have to ask stupid questions.

2. Start the conversation early. We understand you are busy. We’re busy too. If you give us time, we’ll answer your questions. Too often, response times are tight. It doesn’t feel like you care. We don’t want to rush. You don’t want poor answers to questions. If you know a review is coming, brief us early. Better yet, establish an ongoing conversation with agencies. When it comes time to review, we’ll all be better off. 

3. Educate us. I attended ProcureCon Marketing last year. I left with a better understanding of the procurement process. We can’t always attend events, so be there for us. We have lots of questions. Make time to educate us before you issue the RFI. In time, we’ll learn, and won’t slow down the process.

Procurement, what do you need from us?
I’d like to encourage more marketers to reach out to procurement professionals. Start a conversation, share and learn from each other. I’ve been lucky to have the ear of an industry veteran. He’s provided guidance, listened to my complaints and shared tips and tricks. Never stop learning.

By Noah Dye, Vice President of US Client Engagement at LEWIS