By Michelle Clayton
Business runs on trust. That’s easy to forget in a world of contracts, legal reviews and audits, where each day’s headlines bring news of new and amazing scams. But it’s true.
The $18 trillion US economy works because, most of the time, most people and most organizations do what they promise. Suppliers sell to other suppliers who, in turn, sell to other suppliers until a final customer does the buying. The transactions happen fast, and accounting follows after.
Trust is fragile. It requires transparency. P&G’s Marc Pritchard criticized the industry a year ago with one big complaint: the murkiness of the “media supply chain.” At the time, did it strike you how unusual those words were? Do you think of yourself as part of a supply chain? Maybe even the steward of that supply chain?
Cleaning Up the Chain
Marc Pritchard chose those words recently because P&G is a global leader in supply chain management. Managing supply chains is what most of your agency’s clients do for a living, and they are really good at it. When they take time to examine how media is booked, billed and accounted for, what many see is a mess.
What does a proper financial supply chain look like for agencies? The critical piece is the purchase-to-pay (P2P) process, given the dynamic nature of the advertising industry. One of the key components of the invoice to pay process is addressing the manual and laborious job of media reconciliation. Media reconciliation is the process that matches incoming invoices with buy orders. That’s where the estimated cost to the advertiser meets the real cost. It is where transparency creates trust.
You can get that reconciliation right by turning every incoming invoice – paper, email, download or PDF – into data. Discrepancies are cleared, so they get resolved in hours instead of weeks. Automated worfklow provides information to the right people at the right time. Dashboards give managers real-time visibility of the workflow. Invoices are paid on time. And then there comes the real payoff: clean, accurate data flows into your media buy management platform or accounting system, so that clients can understand what they pay for.
Push the Button
It sounds complicated. The good news is that it’s as simple as one click. We call it Productivity Wrx℠ for Media Payables. A technology platform and service that automates the functions where the supply chain most often breaks down and risks violating the trust that advertisers put in their agencies. A platform proven by the biggest agencies in America as well as companies in pharma, manufacturing, government and other industries for 30-plus years.
The global logistics industry did more than $8 trillion in business last year. That’s what the P&G’s and Amazon’s of the world call a supply chain. Global ad spending was about 7% of that. While other supply chains move stuff, the media supply chain moves ideas and aspirations, and that has long set it apart. But advertisers know what a supply chain is supposed to look like. And they expect their vendors to lead the way with best practices.