A Marketing Vendor Versus a Marketing Partner

Two marketing agents review printouts of marketing analytics.

People reach out to a marketing agency because they need help. Often, they have some sort of idea of what they want to do: more social media, a new website, blogs, etc. One of the most important things an agency does is talk to clients, get to the root of their pains/needs, and craft a custom plan: that’s a marketing partner. However, that isn’t always what happens. You might be sold on a less of a promise and more of a product: a set service that gives you exactly what you pay for, which might not be what you expect.

Marketing: Product vs. Service

Generally speaking, the more you pay for marketing services, the more flexibility and customizability those services have. At the bottom is “marketing products,” self-contained products either in the form of apps or rigid deliverables. The next step is services, which have more flexibility, and usually come about from communication back and forth from client to marketers. Some examples:

  • Social Media Marketing: Products like a DIY scheduling app like Hootsuite or a package of social media posts the marketers will schedule for you. Services step that up to customized posting with backlinks to the site or scheduling posts around events and holidays.
  • Blogging: Again, products will take on the form of a DIY asset such as a blogging platform, or pre-packaged blogs. As a service, you’ll be more included in any blogging process, providing reviews, outlines, and resources for writing: the more you put in, the more you get out.
  • Advertising: With modern user-friendly ad platforms like Facebook and Google Ads, most products are just tools to self-help or offer native support on those platforms. Services are where you’ll see customized ads and campaigns that actually target your customers.

How Marketing Strategy Changes the Game

Both marketing products and services are solutions, and depending on your situation and resources, they both can be effective. Marketing strategy is about finding through analysis, analytics, and conversion what kind of marketing will have the biggest impact. These include things like marketing plans that analyze your industry and brand management that looks at your business as a whole. This is about taking the time to figure out where your time and money is best spent, and where your customers are and how to market to them.

How We’ve Seen Marketing Vendors Go Wrong

Clients seek us out when their current marketing isn’t cutting it. For many of the small to medium-sized businesses (SMB), many cite the reason to change strategy is bad experiences with these limited products and services from “vendors.”

  • Products Not Matching Needs: We’ve seen a lot of bad experiences with social media vendors over the years. Usually a case of content not matching voice: like canned memes and word puns for a professional services business.
  • Piecemeal Services: Several companies come to us looking for a central place for all their services, as products tend to require them to contract out to several agencies at the same time, dividing attention and scrambling strategy.
  • Communication: Sometimes, the biggest frustration is simply not being heard. For vendors that are out of state (or country), or don’t want to talk about change, this lack of communication can be more than just annoying, it can severely impact any forward progress.
  • Transactional vs. Invested: Lastly, when clients try to resolve their issues with vendors, they often come crashing against the wall of “we only provide X.” There’s no room for reevaluation, strategy, or finding something else that works.

If you’re sick of products and services that aren’t pivoting with your needs – especially during the time of COVID-19 – it’s time to talk strategy with Vision Advertising. We have years of experience working with businesses to find solutions to their unique problems, not one-size-fits-all solutions. Contact us today to get started.

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About the author : Alex Geyer

Alex wears many hats, and not just because he’s bald. A writer by background, Alex writes “content” for Vision – anything from social media statuses to blogs to website copy and beyond. In addition, as Senior Brand Strategist, he builds and maintains all search engine advertising for Vision, manages multiple client projects, and herds many meetings. In his free time, he starts and stops writing novels, reads a copious amount of fiction, plays video games, and an enthusiastic chef at home. He’s trying to become a better plant daddy.

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