The term “partner” can mean a few different things in the corporate world, and it’s thrown around often during branding and business development meetings. While we might mean it to be all-encompassing, there are certain situations that command a different type of partnership.
When you have a concrete idea about the area that needs improvement, from IT to inventory management to corporate branding – a third-party marketing vendor might be able to get the job done. However, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship between the teams that keep your business running, a partnership is a way to extend your business in a useful and practical way.
Understanding your goals and expectations as a brand is the first step to take when you’re shopping around for either vendors or potential partners to join your company’s trajectory.
Take a look at the differences between vendors or partners, and how to find the right marketing experts for your dealership.
What is the difference between vendors and partners?
When it comes to finding the tools and services necessary to grow your business, we often see the terms vendors and partners interchanged seamlessly. However, there are a few major differences between these titles and what they can contribute to your brand.
In the simplest terms, a vendor can be described as a firm or professional that provides specific expertise and/or resources to help the growth of your brand. These services are clearly defined in a contract or agreement, in exchange for specific financial or other compensation.
Businesses seeking marketing vendors typically seek out to each separate entity as experts in their respective fields. This means that it’s common to solifict offers from multiple vendors to find the best price, while also focusing on that vendor’s own niche in the marketing sphere. It’s common for brands to hire separate vendors to handle each facet of their automotive branding plans, including:
- Social media management
- Engagement strategy
- Email and strategic communications
- AI and immersive reality
- Paid ad plans
Rather than hiring one singular firm to cover the entire marketing plan, brands can find the exact services and resources they need on a fragmental level.
The relationship between brands and vendors is quite transactional, and each service is itemized by time, content, milestone tracking, or other concrete metrics. In most cases, vendors have a variety of clients for which they provide similar services under similarly cut-and-dry agreements.
Between all parties, vendors are transparent and quantifiable in their contractual agreements among their clients.
Instead of being hired on a fully transactional level, marketing partnerships dive a bit deeper in your brand’s unique goals, vision, and future plans. Finding a marketing partner means finding a source of expertise in a specific field, but through building a relationship that puts your company’s goals at the forefront of their strategy development.
Finding a marketing partner can return better, longer-lasting results since this type of third-party service is more invested in the success of your brand. Instead of simply providing a set service for a set amount of compensation, partners are brought on board to transform your brand on a higher level.
Rather than expanding your internal departments to generate this level of loyalty, many brands will hire expert firms for a longer duration to obtain the same level of eye-level support.
While vendors are often more affordable in terms of sticker price, partners have the potential to provide more value to growing brands over time.
Additionally, partnerships often occur on a larger scale and will provide a wider range of services and resources in comparison to individual vendors.
How do you find a good marketing partner?
If you’re in the market for a third-party partner to join your brand’s vision, it’s important to have your goals clearly established from the start. Ask yourself and team leaders questions like:
- What are we trying to achieve with this new partnership?
- How much are we willing to spend?
- What timeline do we have to complete our growth goals?
- Are we looking for a full rebrand or a revamp?
- Do we have internal redundancies?
As we saw through 2020, online services are booming across virtually every industry and specialization. Dealerships are no different, and online services are largely driving the consumers interest in this major market across every demographic and automotive sector.
Using this type of service removes the day-to-day incentives and brings the metrics used to measure success to a larger scale. This can change everything from the way invoices are processed to the length of time allotted to each item on your joint to-do list.
Instead of nickel-and-diming their clients, partnership firms are more likely to provide flexibility and versatility to the brands they support. By having a wider retainer and more encompassing terms to cover the services they provide, marketing companies can handle an intersectional suite of business services for a flat fee.
Once you know what you plan to achieve with your new marketing initiatives, it’s easier to determine which firm or consultant can better handle your brand’s needs.
Ultimately, the key to a successful marketing partnership is the mutual understanding provided by each party in the agreement. Ensuring that neither end gives more than they get will go a long way to prevent burnout, or unequal distribution of payment and respective work.
Being transparent about your needs and limitations as a client are just as important as each potential partner’s individual offerings and breadth of influence in their respective sectors.
How are partners identified on the marketplace?
Partnership marketing has the potential to completely transform your organization from the inside out. Whether you’re looking for a sharp new campaign or a completely different branding guide, finding the right marketing partner could be the most important step you can make for your brand.
Identifying the perfect partner to support your marketing initiatives depends on a few key cornerstones. Consider basing your search on factors like:
- Firm portfolio and business history
- Positive referrals
- Track record of brand growth and longevity
- Alignment in mission, vision, and goals
The right consultant relationship can breathe new life into any brand, no matter the size or scale. With improved communication tools and widespread flexibility in our growing remote marketplace, it’s easier than ever to connect with the ideal marketing teams to take your brand to new heights.
Even the way brands and partners connect has changed significantly, especially amid the ongoing pandemic. Whether via social media, video chat, or simply email – businesses and marketing partners are forging strong relationships across a plethora of spheres and specializations.
From automotive to consumer goods and beyond, business leaders across the market are using brand partnerships to solidify their loftiest goals and aspirations. Whether you’re looking for a revenue boost or you want to scale across the globe, the right marketing solutions can put any business on the map.
What is the right marketing solution for your business?
Determining what you want to focus on can be time consuming for businesses that are just starting, or creating a completely new marketing plan. Hiring a firm as an active partner can take a lot of the time, stress, and even money out of the hands of your company’s leadership. Additionally, this method is proven to simplify the path toward automation and process improvement in one fell swoop.
When shopping around for potential partnerships, consider the 5 P’s of marketing to solidify the best choice for you:
Many firms specialize in specific industries or phases of the branding process, so understanding your business needs always comes first. Before even comparing quotes, gain a deep level of knowledge surrounding what you’re selling, how you want to reach people, and who you want to connect with over time.
Review each partner’s respective work history and portfolio, or even some samples of campaigns they’ve run in the past. This can give you a closer look at their style, methodology, and impact and how it can blend with your existing vision.
From social media advertising to ongoing drip campaigns and SMS communication, every word and image has the potential to sway consumer opinions and your brand’s reputation as a whole.
Marketing might be one of the most important expenses you incur when launching or building your business. Understanding the value of every piece of collateral that features your logo starts with building the right business relationships from the start.
Whether you decide to invest in vendors or partners, make sure to choose a company that your customers can align with and that represents your brand in the best light. Finding the right marketing experts to build your company starts with having a good idea about where you want your business to be in the coming months and years.