August 11, 2009

I love Marketing

I used to be a Marketing person. I did not start out as one but it was always in mind to be in Marketing. I started out in advertising and production work. After several years, I made a career change and join an MNC as a Marketing Executive. I stayed in Marketing since the early 90s until I left my previous job as a senior manager. Why Marketing? Maybe you have heard of this popular phrase … “Marketing people are the “rah rah” boys whereas Sales do all the running and Operation gets all the shit.” The rest of the company gets to watch all the “hoo hahs”. Or some may put it this way … Sales people are sitting in the front of the bus getting whatever that are coming straight at them (be it good or bad … mostly bad) whereas Operation people are sitting at the back of the church doing all the boring stuffs and Marketing people are always at the centre of attraction enjoying the limelight. And again, the rest of the company watch all the “hoo hahs”.

So, you see why I love Marketing? Marketing people gets all the good stuffs. And there is more … Marketing people have authority and power. They probably have the largest spending budget in the company. They have in their hands the big A&P dollars to spend and this is why you see so many people running after them … suppliers, agencies, media owners, event managers and a lot of those ABCs (Assistant Balls Carrier).

The question is … “Should Marketing managers alone be given the full authority in deciding the where marketing budget goes to?” Well, good and bad with the Marketing managers having such authority to award contracts, production works, advertising retainers, media buys or sponsorships that is millions of dollars worth. There are good managers who are fair and square in open tenders adhering to proper guidelines and procedures in awarding jobs and contracts to suppliers. Then there are also those to have vested interest in “under-the-table” deals, kickbacks and personal interests in whatever jobs and contracts they gave to their cronies. This abuse is happening everyday in many companies.

I had the opportunity to worked with a Swedish car manufacturer and I must say they do have a very good procedure of monitoring the awarding of contracts, tenders and jobs to suppliers, not just by the Marketing managers but from every department of the company. The procedure involved a few key people who each must provide their approval in an open evaluation and comparison of all key components in A&P contracts, tenders and jobs before the they were finally awarded. Key components involved were cost, quantity, quality, concept, expertise, company’s background, timing, reliability, credibility, testimonials and deliverables. All these were cross-compared and justified accordingly before an approval was given by each key people involved. Apart from that, there was also something called SRM (Suppliers’ Relationship Management) which ensured that all suppliers get an equal share of jobs and amount of contracts were divided accordingly. There was no one single supplier that get a lot more jobs that the others.

As a Marketing manager with the company, I must say it was a bit of a struggle at times going through this procedure but it was certainly a very cost efficient, effective and productive formula to monitor large A&P spend. It provided me with a strong understanding of “check and balance” on spending when I moved on later to join other companies.

It is my personal opinion that there must be some sort of procedure to run “check and balance” on whatever spending by whichever department in a company. To avoid abuse, it cannot be only one manager that holds the authority to decide who gets the contract or tender. Many will agree and many will disagree with me on this. I wonder who will disagree?