A Q&A with Co-Host of ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference

By Greg Wright

The ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference is an event that brings together marketing and procurement professionals to discuss the latest trends and challenges facing the industry. The ANA previously announced the co-chairs for the 2023 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference, which includes Katherine Freeley, global head media and digital, procurement at Novartis.

In this interview with Katherine, we discuss the challenges facing marketing procurement in 2023, the evolution of media procurement, and the value that media procurement can bring to an organization. Katherine is co-chair of the conference along with Simona Rabsatt Butler of Visa.

Prior to joining Novartis, Katherine led global integrated marketing operations and established media procurement for Colgate-Palmolive. She also spent more than a decade working for such agencies as Mindshare, Draft FCB, Publicis, Grey, and JWT.

There has been an ongoing discussion about how procurement teams' perceptions of themselves often differ from how the marketing teams and agencies view them. What can procurement teams do to ensure the entire enterprise understands the value they bring?

The perception of procurement teams of themselves differs quite a lot from the perception of other parties in the marketing eco-system as large companies are struggling to provide their own organizations with unified goals. In my opinion, the number one priority of procurement departments is to insist on the same goals as their marketing counterparts.

Moreover, they should truly strive to align with their agency partners. Procurement and marketing should try to take the "noise" out of their goals and KPIs and provide consolidated goals to their agency partners.

Furthermore, marketing procurement should come closer to the agency partners and be involved in day-to-day projects to build an ongoing collaboration not only with their marketing counterparts but also with their agency partners.

What is the biggest challenge facing marketing procurement in 2023 and beyond?

The biggest challenge procurement is facing in 2023 is changing the perception of the role we play in the marketing eco-system. The ownership is on us, senior procurement leaders, to educate top management on our value proposition and new objectives for our roles.

This is both a top-down and bottom-up approach. Senior/middle management, which sits in the trenches with marketing, media, and agencies, need to articulate new ways of adding value to our counterparts and our top management should get aligned on the joint objectives with marketing and media leaderships. Joint goals for marketing and procurement are going to drive the most value to our organizations and the least frustration to the agencies.

Media continues to expand and is a significant part of any marketing campaign. How has media procurement evolved through this rise in media?

Media has become an extremely important part and the biggest line item of any marketing campaign's P&L. In addition, media has become more complex in the past 10 years and no longer covers just linear TV investments, but it spans multiple disciplines from data ownership and audience buying to in-housing efforts.

I truly think that media procurement has not been involved enough and was not able to keep up with the digital and media evolution, or I should say revolution, of the past decade.

In most organizations, media procurement still focuses on media agency fees, SOWs, and evaluations. Often, when media procurement gets involved, they cut fees of the most critical departments for the media agencies, i.e., operations, which is the team that mitigates risk most effectively.

How can the media procurement professional bring greater value to their organization?

We must do more upscaling in media procurement, and we should partner with the agencies on the bottom of the iceberg that constitutes the 70 percent of the overall media investment, which is projected to reach $740 billion in 2023 (as per dentsu ad spend report). A few examples of the joint initiatives include partnering on delivering cleaner impressions in the supply chain, optimizing tech stacks, challenging walled gardens, and pushing the agenda for measurement and data.

Media procurement can bring greater value by aligning with its media/marketing counterparts on the top three priorities they should drive each year. They also should align with the agencies on collaboratively driving selected initiatives.

In my opinion, for media procurement to be effective they need to be educated, aligned, and involved. If they achieve these three goals, they will drive a higher value to their organizations. Media procurement senior leaders should also remember that internal PR and selling their value proposition is an integral part of making themselves successful in the next decade.

Why are you most excited to host the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference? Any sessions you are looking forward to?

Number one reason for attending the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference is the ability to be part of the movement to change the perception of marketing procurement and move the initiatives further to get more aligned with the marketing and agency partners to serve our brands better and drive growth for our companies in this uncertain year for the global economy.

I have this short story, the Vikings were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Newfoundland, Canada in 1021 AD not because they had some superior boats but because they all rowed together toward a unified goal.

I am most excited to host the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference this year as I know this can be a pivotal moment for marketing procurement during which we have a chance to start re-writing to role of marketing procurement from the commander of savings to the driver of business growth.

Thank you to Katherine Freeley for her time and for co-hosting the 2023 ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference, which will be held April 30 to May 3 in Phoenix and virtually. Hope to see you there!

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Greg Wright is the VP of content marketing at Association of National Advertisers. In his role at the ANA, Greg Wright manages the marketing organization area, which includes in-house agency, marketing procurement, production management, and agency relationship management. Prior to joining the ANA, Greg managed executive and member communications and marketing in-house for the AICPA. Greg has an M.B.A. in Marketing and a B.A. in Political Science and Geography.