The Importance of Strategic Marketing Consulting in Marketing Vendor Management

There are two types of strategic marketing consulting. The first is the development of strategic marketing plans including product and service development, pricing strategy, distribution and possibly the most high profile promotion and advertising.

The second type of strategic marketing consulting is focused more on marketing management. Not the development of the marketing strategy, but the management of the implementation. This is often where the largest investment resides for marketing focused organisations.

The first can be simplistically defined as effectiveness – developing marketing strategies and plans to effectively deliver the business objectives for growth. The second is about marketing efficiency, developing implementation processes, structures and agreements to maximize the effectiveness of the marketing investment while minimizing waste, duplication and cost.

Of course efficiency without effectiveness is pointless. There is no point increasing efficiency at the expense of effectiveness. But likewise a pure focus on effectiveness without constantly monitoring and improving efficiencies means reduced returns on that investment.

An article in Harvard Business Review July-August 2005 showed that company strategy was only 60% realized in implementation as often the focus was on the strategic development and not the implementation process. The same holds for marketing strategy implementation, with many organisations suffering inefficiencies in the process due to poor process management.

While there has been an increased focus in this area with many procurement functions within organisations targeting marketing spend for attention, often this amounts to nothing more than cost reduction rather than increased efficiencies at the expense of effectiveness.

Strategic marketing consulting goes beyond the first steps of marketing procurement and uses as the foundation the strategic requirements of the marketing plan. Rather than simply looking at the suppliers engaged from a procurement, or sourcing, perspective the approach is to take a strategic view of the marketing requirements and then aligning the external and internal resources to best deliver these needs.

Having established the strategic marketing structure it is then a matter of engaging the various suppliers in the most effective manner possible to focus the outputs to the marketing and organization requirements detailed in the marketing strategy.

The type and number of suppliers will depend on the requirements of the marketing strategy and the financial investment respectively. The type of engagement will be dependent on their suppliers’ role and level of strategic importance in delivering the marketing plan and the defined outcomes. This will vary by brand, market and category depending on the strategic requirements.

This approach to strategic marketing consulting delivers an efficiency model and plan that is perfectly aligned to the marketing strategy to ensure that both efficiency and effectiveness are delivered.


Darren Woolley started his working life as a scientist at the Royal Children's Hospital Neuropathology Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia, undertaking research in myopathies, neuropathies, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Repetitive Strain Injury. He established a chemical recycling company called Resolve before making the transition to advertising in the mid eighties.
During his 15 years as a writer and Creative Director, Darren developed brand and business communication strategies for a...

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