Isabelle Guis

CMO of Commvault

CMO Isabelle Guis’s marketing sourcing needs have changed dramatically over the last two years. Given the rise of the digital channel, her digital marketing team needs a lot of technology—everything from CRM to database tools. Additionally, the new era of hybrid events (simultaneously virtual and in-person) means sourcing new creative assets, adding even more complexity.

CMO Council and KPMG recently came together to bring you our newest report, Smart Spending at Speed: How to Turn Procurement Into Your (Not So) Secret Growth Engine. This interview is taken as an excerpt from the report. You can read the full research findings, along with other interviews, for free here.

When sourcing foundational MarTech, like CRM and email marketing, there are a lot of considerations. Guis relies on the company’s IT procurement team to provide their expertise on a product or service. This includes making sure vendors meet technical requirements, negotiating competitive rates, establishing service level agreements, and considering secondary features like compliance and security.

“It is a great collaboration between marketing and IT procurement to ensure that we are getting the right services for our needs, and also doing what is best for the company,” Guis says.

For more specialized marketing functions like creative agency sourcing related to, say a hybrid event, Guis prefers to rely on her marketing team’s assessment of vendor candidates. It’s incredibly hard to gauge creative value, she says, which is why it requires a marketer’s intuitive eye. Same goes with customer experience and engagement, which requires more marketing expertise.

However, IT procurement can also play a significant role in the creative department. They conduct extensive research to understand the vendor landscape and market rates. This helps marketing uncover vendors that might have flown under the radar and understand the market value for services.

"It is really about playing towards the strengths of each department. Marketing has the expertise to lead the search, and procurement can tap into tools like market polls to provide us expertise on critical topics like pricing, ROI, and integration with the MarTech stack,” Guis says. “This information is extremely helpful and I’m also happy to have them negotiate once I select a short list of vendors.”

IT procurement might require marketing to reduce its budget, which is another reason for marketing to lead sourcing. Marketing, for instance, has a better grasp on switching from outsourcing creative design work to hiring an in-house graphic designer. This matters, in terms of budget, because headcount is a fixed cost whereas a creative agency is 30% more expensive.

“Balancing budget considerations with the needs to compete in a very competitive market is a fine line. That’s why it is so important to work with our colleagues in procurement to articulate our needs in a very transparent way,” Guis says. “Im lucky enough to have a wonderful partnership that is built on trust, and together we are always working to do what is best for the business.”

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