Differentiation is the name of the game in helping Print Service Providers win more Tenders

Published November 2014

How can Print Service Providers (PSPs) make themselves stand out in order to win more tenders?

What delivers value from third party spend for brand managers and marketing services procurement?

Effective processes, quality, speed to market, brand consistency, technology, and data can all support effective procurement. So how can PSPs harness this and stand out in order to be win more tenders? Let's take a moment to understand what it is that marketing services procurement and brand managers do on a day-to-day basis and how they go about it. Historically, marketing agencies worked on a cost-plus basis, typically adding a margin of 15% onto third party costs. Some companies moved away from a cost-plus basis for marketing agency remuneration and a wider range of fee arrangements came into play including fixed price, or payment based on output or activities. Then came the advent of specialist production houses who focused more on operational aspects of marketing, concentrating expertise in different specialist areas. New categories of marketing spend relating to digital and multi-channel marketing have also entered the mix, making marketing services procurement even more complex. These include PPC, social media websites, sponsored You Tube videos and sponsored Tweets. These are all now on the brand manager's shopping list. Procurement needs to respect the marketing agency's quality control role. Where decoupling (ie separating out the creative process from the production process) works best is where the agency is allowed to retain some creative control over suppliers being used*. This avoids the danger of good creative work being diluted by what happens elsewhere in the supply chain and the delivery process itself. The buyer of marketing and print services and those in brand roles and marketing services procurement need to determine how to analyze complex options and structure elements of work and potential suppliers ie what is it they should consider in order to spend their budgets wisely and get the most out of their supply chains. Marketing driven companies such as Coca-Cola, Canon Business Services, and Apple recognize, is that saving a few percent on the cost of marketing services through tactical procurement activities is irrelevant in the context of business revenues, profit, brand value and enhanced reputation that can be driven by good marketing. In order to achieve this, organizations need visibility and understanding of their own internal requirements in order to best manage the external supply chain. Buyers need to understand who is doing what, structured in a way that it benefits the buyer and the brand.

E-procurement systems

Adoption of leading practice technology can help organizations manage the end-to-end process better. An e-procurement system can play a key technological role in helping to map operations from requirement through to sourcing, engaging with multiple suppliers, collaboration and transactional management. Cloud based e-procurement systems allow tenders to be accessed anywhere globally 247 and in real-time. One way in which Print Service Providers can demonstrate the value they can add to Brand Managers and Marketing Services procurement is also through the adoption of a cloud based spend management platform to help them drive revenues and profits and monitor costs closely and free up valuable management time. Proving differentiation in the Tender document in this way is helping more and more PSPs win Tenders in a highly competitive, price-conscious market. Putting a detailed solution together requires a lot of information. To win a contract, marketing services procurement needs to have absolute confidence in the ability of the winning bidder that they can deliver the service and that they have demonstrated proven experience. In the private sector commercial benefits take precedent. The purchaser wants reassurances they've got the best solution in place to guarantee delivery for an economic cost. Standards and Accreditations help to do this. It takes resources and commitment to get these badges of excellence but for any company serious about winning contracts, it's necessary. This doesn’t exactly make for exciting reading, though! More often than not marketing services procurement will tell you that all the proposals they see generally consist of the ‘same old thing’ i.e., they’ve seen it all before. Price is obviously a key issue. Equally, they will tell you that when a proposal document does stand out, those contractors win a lot of business. So it’s worth investigating how to achieve this over and above price. If you’ve ever sat the other side of the fence in marketing services procurement or been a brand manager, you’ll know how many times a contractor has said they are ‘different’ from the competition or the present incumbent. The first few pages of a Tender document usually comprise outlining standard information, so it’s hard to stand out. Procurement will say that they know what’s going to be on the first page – a marketing pitch saying how great the company is. There are a number of things that can be done to make a proposal stand out though. Remember that a lot of these companies are price conscious. If the PSP can demontrate visibility and control over its costs and robust tools for managing the client business through the use of a cloud-based spend management platform, they are more likely these days to win the business, over and above the PSP that does not use such systems. The emphasis should be on capacity, capability, consistency and price.

When a PSP wants to win more tenders, there are some common elements to focus on.

The winning PSP:
  • Tells a story that shows how the PSP is different.
  • Outlines step-by-step what should be done.
  • Includes visual elements to make the proposal stand out.
  • Offers a cutting edge solution with a focus on a cloud-based spend management platform (technology enabler) that demonstrates speed, visibility and control to manage the client contract effectively and efficiently, but also with the focus on keeping the brand 'front of mind', including responsiveness to marketing services' needs as multi-channel campaigns are rolled out.
  • Demonstrates to marketing services procurement that this is a solution being tailored uniquely that also cuts costs in the process.
  • Is able to show that it can add real value to the procurement process itself with the adoption of an e-procurement platform.
  • Helps the Brand Manager or marketing services procurement achieve their objectives
Advantages are clear in terms of cost, process and transparency, helping to deliver efficiency, maintain brand values, mitigate risk and compliance and, above all, deliver user satisfaction helping both the brand manager and marketing services procurement cut costs, yes, but also remain a marketing driven company that can compete effectively across multiple channels. That's what the brand manager and marketing services procurement want today and the PSP that demonstrates that is the one that wins the business. Contact Claritum today and take a trial to understand how we can help you as a leading Print Services Provider win more tenders and engage with more leading Brands to secure more business.