Marketing Procurement team logging into RightSpend platform

Why do we need marketing procurement transparency?

It feels like marketing procurement transparency has been a buzzword in the industry for years.

The IPA and ISBA launched ‘The Magic & Logic’ 16 years ago, where they identified how Agencies, Marketing and Procurement can best work together to produce profitable growth; they explained that marketing procurement transparency is key to successful relationships. The ANA delivered a global industry report in 2016 which spoke about the lack of transparency.

Yet the subject is still pertinent.

With so much data and insight leading other areas of marketing, why hasn’t marketing procurement moved on? As an industry, we’ve embraced evolving technology, kept pace with the changing channels at our disposal, and pivoted to adopt new ways of working. Yet, marketing procurement transparency remains hazy. A vague breakdown or a singular ‘all inclusive’ price doesn’t provide the level of visibility needed for marketing procurement to justify the allocation of spend.

It’s a global concern that impacts not just marketing and procurement, but the wider business. It continues to be increasingly important to embed clarity into the marketing environment so that every part of the process offers visibility into spend, value and results.

For RightSpend, marketing procurement transparency relies on the use of factual data to provide clear metrics across all areas of marketing spend. It’s not about a race to the bottom. Instead, fairness with your agencies instils a mutually defined framework. Every one of these definitions is 100% correct. Brands feel they are still in the dark when fully understanding costs, spend, media requirements, and the almost mystical engagements that take place behind the scenes once strategies and expenses are agreed. The landscape is not defined by how little companies know, but rather by how closely they work with partners and agencies to understand the processes and systems underlying their spending. It is a space that should be defined by sharing knowledge and understanding so both brand and agency can effectively reduce waste, invest intelligently, and achieve value.


There must be detail to the process to extract the true value. One line at the end of a creative proposal with a single list price is unacceptable. Obscuring the detail that enables understanding and interpretation of the deliverables.

Even when you’re provided with a detailed breakdown of costs it’s important to put it to the test. For example, if your contract states the agency makes 10% profit, the metrics – rates, hours, overhead, deliverables etc. – must prove that. There is no place for ambiguity or grey areas that simply don’t tally. And yet, we know this practise still goes on; brands are still signing contracts based on very little information.

Where detailed breakdown of costs are not supplied, line by line, sharing of overheads and profit margins, then a red flag must be raised. The first question should then be: why are they not providing the information; what are they trying to hide? Agencies should embrace marketing procurement transparency, rather than take a defensive stance. It serves them just as much as the brand.


Clarity in costs is the quickest way to get approval and projects underway; removing the long protracted discussions, the to-ing and fro-ing that delays projects and is time-consuming and frustrating for all involved. When visibility is built into the process, spend, and assets, both brand and agency, can enjoy mutual growth and a healthy return on investment based on increasingly strategic spend.

Marketing procurement transparency delivers stronger relationships that inspire both sides to go further. Achieving shared success in a highly competitive and challenging environment. A far more collaborative and mutually beneficial approach than one defined by obfuscation and doubt.