What's the right background for effectively managing marketing spend?
That was one of the discussion points at the Procurement Leaders Pre-Forum event in Boston Tuesday. The consensus: The specific background may not matter as much as an appreciation for and understanding of the business, an ability to build stakeholder relationships, and a willingness to learn.
The discussion popped up during a panel discussion on the topic of the pros and cons of rationalising the supply base versus empowering local businesses to achieve their sales targets. Helping businesses emerged as a vital task for procurement, though supply base rationalisation was seen as critical too.
But it was the talk about required experience that tied into debates across the function on talent recruitment and management in general for procurement.
One attendee said that a broad background in business or even in other categories and a proven ability to build relationships was more important than procurement experience. Other attendees, however, emphasised the importance of sourcing experience, and how that experience can help the marketing category manager translate stakeholder objectives into procurement processes and strategies that achieve objectives.
An observer would come away with the realisation that the idea would be a hybrid procurement and marketing experience – a profile that could well define the procurement executive of the future.