Building Influence through Marketing: A Guide for Procurement Teams

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Procurement teams are riding a rising tide. Where they once toiled in noble obscurity, they are now recognized as active partners driving value for their organizations. It’s about time! If there is one thing marketers know, it’s that when circumstances present you with a golden moment, you milk it for all it’s worth. So with that, we offer 4 essential marketing strategies that are more relevant than ever to procurement teams.

1. Know Thy Customer

The first step to any successful marketing campaign is to be crystal clear on the problem you solve and the people you solve it for. People don’t buy products, they buy solutions. Knowing who uses (or should use) your product is essential.

As a procurement pro, your “products” are savings (money, time) and value (efficiency, reduced risk, less waste). Focus on both of these when marketing yourself and your team. Sure there are a handful of people in your organization who care deeply about savings. But expand it to efficiency, risk and waste, and you’ve just grown your potential “market” exponentially. Finding more people who want to buy what you’re selling is always a win.

2. Fish with the Right Bait

Marketers go crazy for a fishing metaphor. When we talk about “using the right bait,” we mean capturing our target’s attention with information, ideas and images that resonate. It’s why marketing for minivans is heavy on safety and comfort while marketing for sports cars favors horsepower and high-speed handling.

For you, dear spend management guru, this means talking about what you do using the language, exhibits and examples that speak to your audience. For financial types, dollars and cents always work – but so do soft costs related to efficiency gains and increased productivity. Your legal team might be swayed by the promise of better contract compliance and reduced risk. Play up what matters most to the audience you are trying to win over.

3. Practice Content Marketing

In marketing speak, this means giving people a “freebie.” We provide free information, advice or tips that have value to our audience to gain their trust and build a relationship. Those yummy free samples they tempt you with at the big warehouse stores? Content marketing at its most basic.

For procurement teams, this means carefully selecting an area where you see an opportunity to grow and reaching out to offer a no-strings-attached example of the value you can provide. Maybe it’s showing your facilities department how you can help them stretch their budget with strategic sourcing. Or, offering your mad negotiating skills to your marketing team when it’s time to re-up on that agency contract. Give your target markets a chance to experience the value you provide.

4. Get social

Social media is valuable for marketers because it allows us to be where our targets are. So apply that principal to your team’s promotional efforts. Get out and about. Mingle with people in other areas of the company, and find out what frustrates or confounds them. If your team can make life better make sure they know it (using tips 2 and 3).

This leads us to another principle that savvy marketers use: social listening. That means being present where our targets are and listening to what they talk about. The common problems, the frustrations, the concerns. Talking about yourself only gets you so far (usually not very…) but listening can go a long way.

So there you have it. 4 time-tested ways to market your way to greater influence. Put them into practice and let us know how it goes!

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