Tag Archives: PepsiCo

In the Wake of PepsiCo’s Marketing Procurement Decision

17 Nov

OversightOn November 12, Ad Age reported that PepsiCo had made the decision to eliminate its Marketing Procurement department. As a result of the decision, the company will shift responsibility for marketing procurement activities to their brand executives.

PepsiCo’s move is consistent with its philosophy of shifting responsibilities to their brand teams with the goal of allowing those decision makers to “more quickly balance cost value and quality in all of their decisions.” While the company acknowledged the potential risks associated with the move as it relates to financial due diligence and contract compliance, it believes that it will be able to leverage its procurement experience, practices and processes to support the brand teams in this endeavor.

As industry participants know all to well, the role of procurement in marketing has been a contentious one over the last decade or so. Thus, it is likely that this decision will spark much dialog among marketers, procurement professionals and their agency partners. Some advertisers will evaluate the merits of a similar approach for their business and many in the agency community will weigh the impact of this decision on the broader topic of procurement’s role in marketing going forward.

We believe that regardless of one’s perspective, periodic introspection on seminal topics such as marketing procurement is helpful and continued dialog between advertisers and agencies on the practice is healthy. That said, we do not view PepsiCo’s decision as the beginning of a trend away from enterprise accountability and its application to the marketing function.

In our agency contract compliance practice, we work with advertisers that have highly developed, actively involved marketing procurement teams and we also work with advertisers that have not yet involved procurement on the marketing portion of their business. Regardless, each organization is mindful of the accountability and oversight obligation they have when it comes to their marketing investment. After all, advertising and marketing spend is one of the largest line items on a company’s P&L, and is critical to brand building over the long-term and demand generation in the near-term.

Financial accountability related to marketing can be viewed as falling into the following categories:

  1. Formalizing and centralizing key aspects of the agency relationship lifecycle: agency selection, on-boarding, performance monitoring, optimization, and transition when necessary.
  2. Leveraging the agency investment, by brand and across the organization as a whole. Decisions in this area can include both agency remuneration system development and overall composition of the agency network. Do we draft and engage disparate agency brands? Select agencies from a particular holding company? Or do we build a dedicated shop at the holding company level (i.e. WPP’s Team Detroit serving Ford Motor Company or Garage Team Mazda).
  3. Financial stewardship oversight and implementation of controls to safeguard the organization’s marketing spend at each stage of the investment cycle.

In our experience, the best tactic for aiding management of an agency network is the use of a standardized but customizable “Master Services Agreement” template. Formalizing the legal and financial terms and conditions necessary to protect an advertiser’s monetary investment and intellectual property rights is a critical first step on the path toward accountability. This is closely followed by the need to identify representatives from select functional areas of the organization that have would have involvement in the contracting, compensation system development and performance review portions of the agency relationship management program.

Organization’s that have implemented Strategic Relationship Management (SRM) initiatives will undoubtedly have an edge when it comes to leveraging their agency fee investment across brands, divisions and geographies. These companies will likely already have pre-determined agency selection protocols and established compensation guidelines or at a minimum maintain a database of information that can be accessed by client-side executives responsible for agency relationship management to help shape their decision making in this area.

Finally, whether an advertiser has a formalized marketing procurement department or not, independent agency contract compliance and performance monitoring support will typically satisfy an organization’s oversight and transparency requirements.

Many will suggest that PepsiCo’s decision will lead the industry down the path of rethinking the role of or need for marketing procurement. To the contrary, we believe that procurement’s role in marketing has been and will continue to be a highly individualized decision for advertisers. While important, we believe that procurement is but one piece in the overall puzzle for advertisers seeking to optimize their return on marketing investment.

Global Marketer Gets Lean & Mean

18 Apr

marketing services agency networkAt the beginning of 2012 PepsiCo announced a series of strategic enterprise expense reduction initiatives.  These included the elimination of 8,700 employees representing 3% of its global workforce plus additional cost reductions of $500 million per annum over the course of the next three years and an announced streamlining of its marketing services agency roster.

It was announced that part of the savings from that initiative would be invested back into marketing PepsiCo’s beverage brands to narrow the competitive spending gap with category leader Coca Cola.  According to Jefferies & Co. in 2010 Coca Cola spent 8% of annual revenues to market its beverage brands compared to 3% for PepsiCo.

On April 13, 2012 it was reported by Advertising Age that Pepsi’s North America beverage division had completed the downsizing of its agency roster.  The result?  Pepsi eliminated sixty-five percent of its beverage division’s marketing agencies, approximately 100 agencies.  Long-time agency partner Omnicom Group was the big winner, strengthening its hold on what has been a long-term client relationship.

To PepsiCo’s credit, it had recognized that its agency roster had become bloated in recent years and took aggressive action to right size its marketing services agency network.  So what will this move yield for the beverage giant?  Well for one, the consolidation of responsibilities across fewer agencies will yield a combination of agency fee and expense reductions tied to the elimination of duplicative efforts and overlapping roles and responsibilities across its marketing agency network.  Secondly, the reduction in the size of PepsiCo’s agency roster will enhance the marketing team’s focus and ability to effectively engage its marketing partners in a meaningful collaboration to build sales, market share and brand strength.

Managing and motivating a smaller group of suppliers is certainly less complex than doing so with an agency network numbering over 150 marketing agencies.  However, post-consolidation PepsiCo’s North American beverage division will continue to work with approximately fifty agencies.  While there will continue to be challenges in aligning agency resource investment and effort with the division’s business goals, establishing performance criteria and systematically monitoring progress across its media, creative services, digital, diversity, promotion and PR agencies this is clearly a step in the right direction.

Hats off to PepsiCo for taking a measured approach to identifying a supply-chain optimization strategy that has the potential to both save money and enhance marketing ROI.  In the words of Benjamin Franklin; “Well done is better than well said.”

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