During a conversation about a client’s marketing needs – including signage, website content, collateral material and more – my contact told me that, while she appreciates my the fact that Lev Promotions can help her with all the needs we discussed, she prefers to “support the community by spreading the business around.”
Now, while I can’t refute that supporting multiple businesses is a nice thought, let’s look at what that means to a company’s marketing efforts when it’s providers are treated as vendors rather than partners:
A vendor wants to sell you stuff.
A partner wants to find the best solutions to meet your needs and resources.
A vendor will take whatever you provide and run with it – even if your brand standards haven’t been respected.
A partner will protect your brand image, checking that each component meets brand standards and does not deviate from them.
A vendor doesn’t guarantee that the product you choose will be the best possible quality for that product type.
A partner will find the best possible quality that your budget will allow. Moreover, a partner will also make sure that imprint quality is up to or exceeds industry standards and that delivery will happen as expected.
A vendor will sell you their products or services they have, even if they’re not the right fit.
A partner will evaluate your needs and refer you to another resource if they can’t provide the appropriate product or service for your specific needs. Moreover, they will know that whoever they refer you to will uphold the same levels of quality and ethics that the original partner has.
Taking all that into consideration, would you rather entrust your business’ brand image to a vendor or a partner? Yes, it’s nice to “spread the business around,” but you need to decide when a vendor relationship is the way to go and when a partner relationship is worth investing in.