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Optimizing Technology for Supplier Diversity Initiatives

Across the USA, three million minority-owned firms represent 21% of all businesses, according to numbers from the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Those businesses produce over $1 trillion in economic output and employ 5.9 million workers.

Leveraging the resources of these enterprises is good business in many ways – including improved quality, increased market share, and access to new revenue opportunities – as reported by consultants at the Hackett Group. 

Marketing and advertising departments already face considerable challenges in managing campaign spend across a multitude of services, including creative, media, advertising, production, and Optimizing Technology for Supplier Diversity Initiatives logistics.

With companies now more commonly required to demonstrate supplier diversity, organizations that are reluctant to embrace technologies that bring better visibility, spend management, and use of diverse suppliers, face the risk of being left behind.

Companies have become more complex – and as they initiate greater procurement activity through an expanded supply base, the ability to quickly identify diverse suppliers, initiate sourcing events, and retrieve project / spend data is essential for long-term success.

Fortunately, the newest and most capable marketing execution technology has the functionality to designate, track, and manage diverse suppliers – and facilitate sourcing, record all quotes and expenditures, and provide comprehensive reporting.

When they use the right tools to identify, qualify, manage new supplier relationships, and enhance spend visibility, marketing organizations and service providers gain the opportunity to centralize procurement efforts and expand supplier diversity opportunities.

Understanding the Complexities of Marketing and Advertising Spend

Marketing organizations and designated marketing service providers support a wide range of digital, omni-channel, and print-related campaigns through a vast network of suppliers. Marketing teams encounter daily challenges in driving cost optimization as they contend with a fragmented supply base, inadequate aggregation of spend, and the use of disparate technologies – all administered with limited resources.

With rapidly changing demands on marketing, projects frequently require the inclusion of niche suppliers and quick responses to ad-hoc requests. This places a strong emphasis on being familiar with the capabilities and capacity of the entire supply base.

Marketing teams also rely on advertising and digital marketing agencies for creative strategies and solutions, many of which leverage their own supplier networks and direct-to-consumer distribution.

Implementing the Processes, Resources, and Technology Tools

There are significant opportunities to advance the use of diverse suppliers within the realms of marketing and advertising, and yet, many marketers are overwhelmed by inadequate visibility into diverse supplier networks, department resource constraints, and competing priorities from business stakeholders at all levels.

To successfully achieve program optimization, it is crucial to have strong C-suite support to promote stakeholder alignment, obtain program resources, and drive enterprise-wide adoption of diverse supplier initiatives.

Instituting supplier diversity into marketing can be challenging, unless the right processes, resources, and tools are in place. Training and education are critical, along with the integration of customizable technology to assist marketing and procurement teams to qualify diverse suppliers within key spend categories and improve overall sourcing and reporting. In the second part of this series on supplier diversity, we’ll suggest some key objectives that should be included in your implementation planning.

In the second part of this series on supplier diversity, we’ll suggest some key objectives that should be included in your implementation planning.  In the third part of the series on supplier diversity, we explain why reporting and visibility are key.



by Ken McDonald – Founder of SourceSCM Consulting LLC, dedicated to partnering with businesses to drive cost optimization, accelerate organizational transformation, and execute innovative, customer-focused solutions. A trusted sourcing and supply chain expert with 30 years of Fortune 6 leadership experience, Ken focuses on sourcing, negotiations, contracting, supplier relationship management, risk, compliance, supplier diversity, distribution, and logistics operations in highly regulated industries. He began his career in retail and moved from there into lead roles in manufacturing and distribution. Ken volunteers as a sports coach and with various groups benefiting children’s charities, food banks, and struggling families.