The coronavirus pandemic and the “social distancing” actions taken to control it have resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of trade shows and business-related conferences. One of the COVID-19 casualties was the MarTech West conference that was scheduled for April 15-17 in San Jose, California

Discover MarTech

Over the past six years, the MarTech conferences (two are held each year) have become premier events for professionals involved in the evaluation, acquisition, implementation, and use of marketing technologies. Fortunately, Third Door Media, the producer of the MarTech conferences, recently hosted a free virtual event to “stand in” for the MarTech West conference.

Discover MarTech featured keynotes by Scott Brinker, the MarTech conference program chair, and Real Story Group’s Tony Byrne. The event also included more than 30 educational sessions. Recordings of the keynotes and educational sessions can be accessed here.

Marketing Technology Landscape

I mention this because technology has dramatically altered the practice of marketing over the past several years, and the evolution of marketing has fundamentally changed the kinds of products and services that marketers need to achieve their objectives. The explosive proliferation of marketing technologies has been widely discussed and well documented. For example, the 2019 version of Scott Brinker’s marketing technology landscape graphic included 7,040 marketing technology solutions.

Because of the expanding role of technology, marketing leaders are making substantial investments in technology tools and related services. Last fall, a survey of marketing leaders by Gartner found that marketers were spending 26% of their total marketing budget on technology. Obviously, this Gartner survey doesn’t capture the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Still, it’s plausible to think that spending on marketing technologies will represent a more significant percentage of marketing budgets in 2020 than it did in 2019.

The growing dependence of marketing on technology, and the dynamic, ever-changing marketing technology landscape mean that marketing procurement professionals need to be proficient at sourcing marketing technology products and services.

Marketing Procurement Rock Stars

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet, get to know and work with an outstanding group of marketing procurement professionals. Most of these leaders have become deeply involved in helping their marketing colleagues source critical marketing technology tools. So I think it’s appropriate to recognize a few of the professionals who are leading a real transformation in marketing procurement.

Here are nine rock stars in marketing/marketing technology procurement that I genuinely admire and respect:

Luis Alvarez – Luis is currently the Global Strategic Sourcing Manager at 3M Company. He’s been with 3M for more than 20 years, serving in several supply chain and operations capacities. Luis is a Six Sigma black belt, and he brings that perspective to his sourcing/supply chain management work.

Michelle Banks – Michelle is currently a Senior Manager in Charles Schwab’s Corporate Vendor Management group, supporting the marketing, corporate communication, Schwab Charitable and digital analytics teams with their strategic sourcing needs. She has an MBA, CPSM and is a certified Green Belt. Getting her start in advertising, Michelle’s fostered a decade-plus marketing procurement career across multiple industries. She also founded The Darin C. Banks Foundation, a youth education and mentoring non-profit that’s awarded over $20,000 in college scholarships.

Barry Byrne – Barry is the Global Head of Marketing and Retail Procurement at Adidas. Earlier in his career, Barry held various marketing procurement positions at Anheuser-Busch InBev, Carlsberg Group and Diageo. Barry is also the owner of “The New Face of Marketing Procurement” discussion group at LinkedIn.

Kathy Capozzi – Kathy is a marketing procurement business partner for Bayer Consumer Health. In this role, she focuses on Amazon, ecommerce, nutrition/digestion and dermatology.

Tina Fegent – Tina runs Tina Fegent Consultancy and was one of the pioneers in the marketing procurement space, having worked in it for more than 25 years. Having set up marketing procurement teams at both client and agency side, she now runs a marketing procurement consultancy for marketers, procurement professionals and also agencies.

Jill Robbins – Jill is the Senior Director of Global Procurement (Indirect Goods and Services) at Elanco. In this role, she leads a global team of sourcing professionals responsible for more than $1.5 billion of spend across indirect goods and services categories, including IT, marketing and sales.

Dana Small – Dana is the Senior Category Manager and Head of Commercial Strategic Sourcing at BioMarin Pharmaceutical. She has been working in the marketing procurement space for more than a decade.

Amanda Sparks – Amanda is the Senior Category Team Lead for Marketing and Consulting Services at ABB. Amanda’s expertise spans both procurement and marketing. She was a Media Manager for Food Lion earlier in her career.

Sabrina Traskos – Sabrina oversees global commercial procurement for AstraZeneca. She manages $1B+ in marketing spend.