The odds of an ad agency seeking the help of a trusted vendor for project completion are pretty good. A vendor or subcontractor, as most describe it, can be used for any outside service that an agency doesn’t normally do in-house, from producing T-shirts for promotional events to interactive web coding and everything in between. The relationships that an agency has with these vendors can be crucial when it comes to crunch time, tight budgets and quality of the finished product. Vendors can be a member of your local chamber or quick-turn online company 3,000 miles away…and there are benefits with each.
Why stay local?
Most local vendors are used for outside services because of their sales relationship with the agency. Word on the street recommendations are often popular, especially when it comes down to whose capabilities are being exceeded or “one-upped.” A good premium item vendor, for example, will typically have a dedicated sales rep for the agency and will keep them informed about discontinued items, new items and industry trends. They will call, email and stop by to bring samples…and maybe even offer to pay for lunch (hint hint – we like Jax across the street and are usually available Fridays). When there is a good connection between the representative and the agency, more than likely, they will be the vendor getting the request for the estimate and ultimately the job. They’re just top of mind and both sides win – vendors make the sale and agencies get the goods for their client. They actually become a part of the team.
So, then why go online?
There will also come a time when no matter how much we may love our affair with our local vendor, $5.25 is too much to pay for a blue ink non-retractable pen with a one color logo imprint. Thanks to the “box of knowledge,” there are now more vendors online offering quick-turns, low prices and guaranteed satisfaction. These vendors can range from the guy sitting in his tchotchke-ridden house to a PHP programmer sitting in his basement in Boise, Idaho. Is there a big gamble using one of these companies that can’t come meet you face-to-face? Sure there is, but if you do your due diligence, check their references and work out fair payment terms to protect your clients, it can save your clients money and can increase your margins, at the same time.