Over the past year there has been an increased impetus from marketers and agencies to support diverse suppliers -- those businesses owned by groups historically left out of or under-represented in their supply chain. Diverse suppliers in the advertising/marketing industry include agencies, media companies, production companies and research suppliers. Given that the biggest marketing expense for most organizations is media, there has been a particular emphasis on supporting diverse media suppliers.
"Guidelines for Buyers (Agencies and Marketers) When Doing Business with Diverse Media Suppliers" is a collaboration between the ANA, 4A's and the ANA's AIMM (the Alliance for Inclusive and Multicultural Marketing) designed to help marketers partner with diverse media suppliers, strengthen their DEI strategy, and drive brand growth. There are 20 guidelines. Here are some highlights:
- Accept Alternative Media Metrics: Standard metrics such as CPM, reach and traditional third-party measurement may need to be substituted with other metrics when evaluating diverse media suppliers. Diverse media is likely to have higher CPMs and less scale, given they often have more targeted audiences, but such factors should not preclude inclusion. Engagement metrics that consider messaging environment, connection with the community, and cultural connection may be more important.
- Identify Diverse Suppliers: The 4A's, the ANA, and AIMM has developed resources that can be called upon to find diverse suppliers. They are:
- Certification Requirements: Certification authenticates, via a third-party vetting process, that a supplier meets the criteria as a "diverse supplier." It removes the burden to confirm legitimacy from the buyer and is instead handled by the certification organization. The report lists five major certification organizations -- NMSDC, WBENC, NGLCC, NVBDC, and Disability:IN.
- Understand the Procurement Perspective on Spend: There is a clear procurement perspective on what "counts" as diverse spend. Some larger marketers are part of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, which has adapted NMSDC, WBENC, NGLCC, NVBDC and Disability:IN as the acceptable certifications required to count toward the $1 billion annual Tier 1 spend to qualify for membership. There are procurement teams at companies which are not part of the Billion Dollar Roundtable which also only count spending with certified suppliers as diverse spend.
- Payment Terms: Marketers and agencies should avoid extended payment terms for diverse media suppliers unless there are unique circumstances for doing so. Extended payment terms can cause severe financial hardship for diverse media suppliers who do not have the cash flow or cash on hand to weather extended payment terms.
- Hike Investment to Increase Inventory: Inventory is limited in the diverse media marketplace; there simply are not enough eyeballs and impressions to satisfy demand. When marketers increase media investments, it allows suppliers to create additional content and therefore increase inventory. Buyers are encouraged to co-create branded content with diverse suppliers to supply inventory.
The guidelines also cover topics such as marketer leadership buy-in, legal requirements, creative messaging, the RFI/RFP process and media buying parameters.
The best part of creating these guidelines was the collaboration -- not just between ANA, 4A's and AIMM. We also invited diverse suppliers to engage in discussions with us and contribute ideas and those conversations were particularly enlightening.
There will ultimately be two complementary sets of guidelines issued. The second -- to be released at a later date -- is for diverse media suppliers conducting business with buyers (agencies and marketers).
The complete Guidelines for Buyers (Agencies and Marketers) When Doing Business with Diverse Media Suppliers can be found here.
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