Can I Leverage a Managed Services Provider to Optimize my Marketing Execution & Procurement Spend?

April 6, 2022- Julie O'Hara

Outsourcing your marketing execution and procurement spend in printed materials and branded merchandise can transform procurement leaders into value creators and enable marketing leaders to shift resources from execution to ideation.

To stay competitive, brands must design and execute localized marketing campaigns, while maintaining a cadence that keeps their brand momentum and reach pushing forward. With the global pandemic throwing things out of gear over the past year, apart from cost control, procurement and indirect supply chain functions are also faced with other challenges such as to better align themselves with marketing activities and plans to accelerate speed to market and keep budgets in check.

To be able to achieve all of this with minimum resources, and to link all the pieces together, procurement is often looking to leverage new technologies and impactful solutions. While corporate teams can provide deeper insights into marketing strategies, they have a lot more on their shoulders, which makes it nearly impossible for them to juggle between checking regular logistics and managing marketing execution of specialized categories such as print. The categories that SupplyLogic specializes in print, branded merchandise, and point of sale, are highly complex and span marketing, creative services and procurement functions making them opportunistic categories to outsource to experts. Brands can achieve immediate benefits from keeping the strategy and creative inhouse, while outsourcing the fulfilment and execution to a managed services provider with an onsite specialized category team and extensive shared services at their disposal.

The need for managed services – An Overview

A managed service provider (MSP) enables a brand, across industries – from corporate enterprises, to retail and restaurant chains to universities – achieve faster, better outcomes with a team of category experts to manage the marketing supply chain. MSPs armed with these subject matter experts provide supplemental staff to implement a functional strategic program and manage logistics efficiently. An MSP possesses the depth of experience across a portfolio of brand management, technology platforms, strategic sourcing teams and partners to enable marketing operations and procurement teams with freed up time and resources to focus on their core priorities and roles.

SupplyLogic, a top 3 managed services provider for U.S. brands, merged with DataSource last year, doubling in scale and proficiency. This merger brought many benefits to existing SupplyLogic and DataSource customers including the advantage of a combined tech stack including an e-commerce brand store and multiple modules that all seamlessly integrate with existing systems, benchmarking data analytics and a competitive supplier panel that provides the highest quality service, lead time and products at lower rates. The competitiveness of a supplier panel is critical to address the benefits that a traditional RFP provides, but improving the process and long-term results with continuous bidding and auditing.

The reason to leverage an MSP

Most companies spend 20 -50% of revenue procuring goods and services. Many of these businesses struggle to address spend adequately. According to Deloitte’s 2018 CPO survey*, 51% of procurement leaders believe their teams do not have sufficient capabilities to deliver on their procurement strategy.

Six ways marketing and procurement can benefit from marketing managed services

A business can draw immense benefits from managed services to increase efficiency and productivity, to align and achieve corporate growth initiatives, and attain goals faster. For instance, you have a good idea of what your consumers like about your product, and you want to expand your consumer base. However, it will take you a while to get used to the trends, expectations, and platforms you have chosen. You need the right team, one who understands your idea and has enough research, data, and creative prowess at their disposal to help you navigate this confusing landscape. A lot of suppliers are circling you, giving you their bids.

Leave the homework and heavy lifting to your execution and procurement provider. Leverage your specialized team and tell them what you want, and they will examine the rivalling proposals, indirect costs, and the media buys against their studies around trends and data. Specifically, SupplyLogic will facilitate transparent collaboration between the supplier panel and your business. At the end of this exercise, your market procurement service will leave you with a solution and team that understands your target audience, your product, and work within your budget. The SupplyLogic pricing model is based off savings, so you do not need to find and allocate new budget. SupplyLogic operates transparently, with trust and accountability and in the best interest of clients, aligning to their corporate values.

  1. Cost control

MSPs have the required bandwidth and specialised skills to handle projects of varied scales, without which organizations would need an expensive, full-scale team, dedicated warehousing of materials, various technology platforms to buy/maintain inventory and manage distribution. Outsourcing these key functions allows an organization to move many fixed costs into a variable cost model based on the company’s usage which can scale up or down depending on growth cycle and the overall economy. It is critical that an MSP does not have a conflict of interest in order to help a business maximize savings with the best supplier panel possible. Further, the MSP can provide substantial buying power in these spend categories via the aggregated purchasing power they bring to market from managing volumes and dollars across many brands. MSPs are constantly adjusting their supplier panels by benchmarking costs/adjusting for risks/scoring for sustainability, minority/women/veteran ownership factors, and importantly for service levels and quality factors more frequently and with more diligence than inhouse operations ever could.

  1. Scalability & hyper-localization

Today’s marketing teams must be agile and frugal at the same time to meet the growth challenges to gain market share under constrained budgets. Whether it is acquiring new brands, expansion into new stores/locations/markets, adding new franchisees, new product launches, new campuses, and events, etc., marketing must get its message to their audience swiftly to succeed. Having an onsite and/or remote MSP team that can scale execution capabilities quickly and has the tools & services to hyper-localize your content and formats according to how customers buy is a very strong competitive advantage. MSPs can create B2B and B2C brand stores to manage creative assets and deploy content tailored to geography, mirror content to fit customer demographics, and deploy content with SLAs and program management in place to increase speed to market, whilst obtaining the 1:1 tailored message.

  1. Speed to market & reduced downtime

The speed at which content can be pushed from point of creation to contact with the customer is greatly increased via optimized processes & distribution networks, solid inventory/reordering controls, automated workflows/platforms and full end-to-end visibility via reporting and analytics. The reliability of managed services stems from an extensive panel of pre-screened suppliers, robust and redundant technology platforms, an onsite and remote mix of dynamically scalable services and resources, all backed by stringent business continuity SLAs. Downtime and risk mitigation are addressed at all points along the marketing supply chain.

  1. Proven experts keep you on-brand and on-budget

Hiring a full-fledged procurement and marketing team dedicated to the complex categories of print, point of sale and branded merchandise can be exhaustive and teams cannot be sure how good they are until they work with them. This staff will be a fixed cost for organizations even when demand is a variable. In some cases, the results might be discouraging. Sometimes a competent resource team might be unable to operate or keep up with new techniques, trends, and strategies. The most common issue is that even the most trained inhouse team will not have the depth and breadth of resources and experience in the complex categories in which managed service providers, like SupplyLogic, specialize. MSPs manage a diverse portfolio of brands across industries with unique requirements. This gives MSPs the ability to leverage best practices on a client’s behalf and benchmark performance across big data sets, in real time. All of which lead to higher levels of performance.

  1. Narrowed business focus

An MSP frees up resources to focus on other pursuits more crucial to the core of their business strategy. If staff is swamped with marketing operations and supplier management, they will not have the time and dedicated focus to work on tasks that push business forward with creative and strategic work within marketing. An MSP can help design optimal workflows, upgrade technology, enforce brand compliance, and automate common and very specific tasks, keeping the pressure off internal teams so that they can focus on the bigger picture, the big creative ideas.

  1. Gain visibility and control through an MSP

An MSP will make targeted investments in procurement and marketing services. They are designed to ensure optimization of company resources, to enable the formulation and execution of solutions that add to the bottom line. They have critical capabilities that support almost every aspect of P2P and S2C from a digital standpoint. An MSP has the expertise to develop a holistic platform of integrated solutions designed to gain visibility and control with prescriptive and predictive insights.

An MSP has a network of digital centres that manage services and augment company resources with collaborative know-how. With the automation of tasks and technical support, company resources can be put to more strategic use, thus lending additional support, and supporting real time effective negotiation strategies with partner agencies and suppliers. On enlisting an MSPs help, an organization gains access to a wide range of services, professional experience, and the capability to deliver against top-line initiatives with confidence.

Managed Services-As-A-Support Solution

An MSP can manage the complete end-to-end operation or supplement wherever the organization might need assistance. Managed services provide functional leaders with a convenient way to solve their challenges. No matter what the problems consist of, there may be a specialized managed services provider that can help.

Today’s marketing and procurement leaders have high expectations for impact and value that can be achieved within the print, POS, and branded merchandise categories of their brand execution strategy. SupplyLogic develops a clear understanding of client’s goals and then works relentlessly to achieve them.

As marketing and procurement leaders work to drive results and value for their business, the print and marketing supply chain can be easily overlooked. A small minority of these supply chains are fully optimized – representing a big opportunity for brands to streamline costs and optimize budget allocation.

SupplyLogic Benchmark Analysis

What is the current health of your marketing supply chain in print, point of sale and branded merchandise? Start by answering a brief Health Check questionnaire, attached here, where SupplyLogic experts will provide you with a free baseline optimization level report so that you know where you stand in terms of best practices against your peers and offer strategies to help you transform these spend categories to your benefit


By Julie O'Hara

As marketing and procurement leaders work to drive results and value for their business, the print and marketing supply chain can be easily overlooked. A small minority of these supply chains are fully optimized – representing a big opportunity for brands to streamline costs and optimize budget allocation.

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