Say 'procurement' to most brand and marketing managers and we tend to run for the hills - not because we don't like shiny and useful things, but because the process can be tricky and time-consuming to navigate.
Having helped many organisations procure and implement Outfit, we have compiled our list of tips to make your lives easier.
Map your marketing technology stack thoroughly
To understand how a brand management solution, or brand automation solution, can support your brand and marketing requirements, mapping your martech stack is the best place to start.
By mapping the stack, you will better understand the gaps and opportunities within it that a brand management solution can help to fill to maximise your existing solutions. Identify the data you have available and how you can use it within the marketing team to automate campaigns and collateral - how can you personalise your marketing to achieve a better result?
Calculate your ROI
Once you understand the technology lay of the land, you can start to look at how you will measure the ROI of a brand management platform. Quantify:
- how the platform will maximise your data
- how it will increase efficiency in your team
- how it will produce increased outcome and volume
- how it will help you drive brand awareness and revenue
You can use the calculation to justify the request for funds as well as map the value for the rest of the organisation
Assess marketing collateral requests
Use the data you have on requests for marketing collateral production to determine the type and frequency your marketing and design teams most commonly support. Which are the high churn, easily duplicated high touch items? Which pieces would free up the most time if they could be self-created? What are the biggest 'impact' pieces and identify these to transition to a brand automation solution first? This assessment gives you a triple win - you have an in-depth knowledge of the types of collateral required by the organisation and by identifying the high impact pieces, you free up design time and shorten lead timeframes for your internal clients.
Consider structure and scale
As you research options and platforms, consider how you will structure and scale the adoption of the platform throughout the business. The power of brand management and brand automation solutions doesn't lie in keeping the solution constrained; the power lies in enabling more people throughout the entire organisation to use the brand and remain on-brand. Who will be your pilot team? Who will be your advocates? How many teams do you want using the platform and what is your onboarding timeline?
Engage your team in the demonstration and assessment process
Engaging your team in the demonstration and assessment process enables you to bring them along the journey, making in-house implementation of the solution easier. A brand management and automation solution may be part of your strategic plan, but ensuring the people using it can provide feedback ensures the solution will meet the needs of the team. Empowering your team and key stakeholders (like franchisees) will help them to harness the power of the solution, so implementation and adoption becomes a fait accompli. Select influencers within your team, and within the company, to bring in at the right juncture to support the assessment and implementation of the platform.
Allow time for the procurement process and implementation
The launch of a brand management platform usually coincides with some larger strategic piece - a rebrand, a new campaign, a new budget. When you are dealing with multiple departments including IT, it is easy for timelines to extend. In your planning, including time for both the procurement and the implementation to ensure you hit your due date without blowouts. The basic procurement process includes:
- research and assessment
- pitches and proposals
- commercial negotiations
- legal and contractual negotiations
If nothing changes, what is the cost?
If you do nothing, what is the cost? This is an excellent proposition to investigate and map out to bring to the table, particularly when your finance manager is looking to minimise martech stack expenditure (and we've all been there, haven't we?!).
If you don't change anything, what is the cost to both your bottom line and the broader brand? You are looking at continued misuse of the brand and lack of brand visibility; inefficiency in terms of speed to market; money wasted through commissioning external agencies; a lack of integrated approach through the organisation and reduced productivity.
If you bring in a people-based solution by employing another designer to try and deliver more work, what is the cost? This situation means a capped increase in support available to the broader business; a slight improvement in brand control; additional expenditure for one design resource that would still not be able to manage forecast workload; no integration with your other tech solutions and an inability to monitor and audit compliance issues.
If you purchase a brand management and automation solution you achieve immediate brand consistency for those working in communications and marketing roles across the business; ready-made templates to help increase speed of production; improved efficiency in sign-off and production cost savings through the organisation's self-service production capability.
Write the RFP with your procurement team
If your organisation requires a formal RFP because of procurement guidelines and delegation limits, work with your procurement team to write the RFP. No one knows your business area and desired outcomes better than you, so while it is tempting to hand off the whole process to procurement because it is time-consuming and involves parts of our brain we don't normally exercise, working in partnership with procurement will help you get the right solution, not just a 'ticks the box' solution.
Talk to Outfit
It's not really a surprise is it, to see this tip listed here?! We know brand management and brand automation, and our expertise will ensure a smooth process for you and your team.