Choosing a partner to help you with your marketing efforts, be it technology or service provider, is about maximizing your return while minimizing your risk. I think that we often forget about that fact as we choose partners to go into business with.
In the world of marketing, risk can be easily expressed as the gap between the delivery and or deployment of a marketing solution and the ability to realize value from that solution. Your partner should have a plan for you to bridge that gap.
I have worked on the vendor side for most of my career in data driven marketing. I often see that both clients and vendors alike focus on the delivery aspects of the solution. I get questions like, “How long will it take to implement the solution?” or “What is the implementation process?” The question that should be asked is, “When can I start creating value from the relationship?”
As I mentioned before, your partner should have a plan for you to bridge that gap. They should come to you with a plan that allows you to find value during the implementation of the solution and a plan that monetizes the solution shortly after the deployment. Your partner should also have a solid approach that takes into account where you are as an organization and lays out a plan to achieve your goals from that point forward. Otherwise, you only have a vendor who is interested in taking your money.
So, how do you choose a partner? Find the company that will help you manage the risk? They are easily identified, as the company that:
- Spends time to understand what your goals and objectives are today.
- Has an understanding of where you are starting from.
- Presents a pragmatic plan to move you up the curve in improvements.
One other thing, do not buy the hype. There are a ton of pretty stories out there about how you should be marketing with one voice today. The fact is that getting to that state will take a considered, conscientious approach. The partner you are seeking is the one who helps you manage the risk on the way.