Q: Ask Renee: How can I develop mutually beneficial relationships with procurement departments?

“Once, Mad Men ruled… They’ve now been eclipsed by Math Men.” Celebrated author and industry watcher Ken Auletta made this observation in May in his Annals of Communications column in The New Yorker.

Auletta’s forthcoming book, Frenemies, focuses on the marketing and communications business in the 21st century. He recently spoke at the ANA’s 2018 Advertising Financial Management Conference, heavily attended by procurement leaders, about modern-day procurement and other issues impacting relationships between clients, agencies, and the customers they’re both trying to influence.

The bottom line – procurement is a necessary part of doing business for all agencies. Return on investment is increasingly the name of the game, and clients that substantially spend on communications and marketing rely on their procurement colleagues to help manage costs and maximize ROI.

This has significantly altered the dynamic of agency-client relationships. Procurement pros have become influential gatekeepers at the new business and contract renewal table.

Some agencies might consider them disruptive third wheels, but client CCOs, CMOs – and especially CFOs – consider procurement vital in effectively managing client resources.

Read more on PR Week here.