Selecting the right marketing vendors to work with is an essential part of the business management process. Few companies have the in-house resources needed to complete every project without outside help, and in many cases, multiple vendors are needed to support and execute a comprehensive marketing plan.
According to HubSpot, over 90 percent of businesses work with five or more different marketing vendors and tools, with the average business working with 12.
Marketing vendors play an important role in shaping the way you communicate with your audience. There are many benefits that come with using qualified marketing vendors but handling multiple vendor relationships can become complex and counterproductive if not properly managed.
Having a multiple vendor approach to your marketing strategy is not always the most efficient use of resources. The amount of time and effort it takes to manage vendor relationships is multiplied with each additional vendor. Managing multiple points of contact can be time consuming and are especially complex when you have vendors with different contract lengths, terms and conditions and cost structures.
Figuring out who is responsible for resolving an issue can be challenging when you’re dealing with several vendors. Accountability can be a major issue with multi-vendor infrastructures.
An example of this is if you were to hire a web developer as well as a separate SEO specialist to do work on your website. There’s a chance that work completed by the web developer could negatively affect your company’s search rankings, and you’re quickly in a situation where each side is pointing a finger at the other.
According to IBISWorld, the digital advertising agency industry grew by 13.1 percent between 2015 and 2020. Despite strong demand for these services, agencies have to work hard to find and keep clients as newcomers enter the market. Vendors can be paranoid about potential competitors (and for good reason).
Vendors can experience negative consequences if they are not watching out for competitors. This type of practice creates an environment where vendors have to be extremely careful with collaboration. Outsourcing marketing to a portfolio of different vendors means that – rather than prioritizing your goals – some of their energy is spent protecting their own interests and concealing their processes from other vendors.
Managing a large portfolio of vendors results in a time-consuming due diligence process. The challenge of ensuring that vendors are taking appropriate steps to meet compliance requirements and deploy effective cybersecurity strategies is multiplied when you work with several vendors.
Studies reveal that many organizations struggle with their due diligence process. The Ponemon Institute found that 60 percent of organizations struggle with managing their vendor portfolio and feel that they’re either somewhat or completely ineffective in vetting third parties for cyber-risk. Another study from the same institute found that 34 percent of companies don’t have an inventory of all the third-party suppliers they use.
Even if you are able to keep track of all your vendors and assess their security and compliance processes, working with multiple third parties that have access to your data still increases cyber-risks since there are more potential targets.
Often, organizations decide to work with multiple vendors to gain access to a wider pool of talent and benefit from flexible solutions. In reality, a large portfolio of vendors requires a significant investment of time and resources. Keeping processes like due diligence, communication and consistency in marketing strategies, voice and goals across vendors is no small task.
One way to avoid the complexity of managing multiple marketing vendors to work with a trusted agency partner who will help manage these relationships and maintain an integrated approach. Unlike multi-vendor marketing, it consolidates your marketing responsibilities through a fully collaborative team.
The integrated agency model relies on a team of professionals who specialize in marketing, PR, SEO and more. These professionals can collaborate, achieve consistent results and will put your interests first. Even if you do not have the resources or steady revenue to work with an integrated agency long-term, consider pairing an in-house team with an integrated agency partner.
You can save time on communicating with vendors, benefit from discounts when you use multiple services from the same agency and get consistent reports and insights into a vendor’s performance. Unifying your vendor architecture will reduce safety and compliance risks, resulting in processes that are less siloed.
Erica DeProspo is an Account Coordinator at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com.