Vendor integration: How to weave your vendors into the fabric of your marketing strategy

Imagine your marketing strategy as a roll of woven cloth. A strange analogy, we know – but bear with us! How your cloth looks depends on the threads chosen to create it, and the skills involved in weaving it together. A simple plain cloth will use one type of thread and a machine. It’s easy to create and it takes little skill. On the other hand, an intricate cloth will weave together multiple threads to create beautiful patterns and images. If the weaver leaves a loose thread, the pattern or image will be incomplete. The same rule applies to your marketing strategy. A loose thread here and there will leave you with an incomplete picture or plan.  

With over a decade of experience working with CMOs and partner marketers, we understand that vendors can sometimes be those ‘loose threads.’ This is especially true when managing multiple vendors and projects simultaneously. In this post, we’ll guide you through the process of successfully integrating vendors into the very fabric of your strategy, ensuring seamless alignment with your objectives and the ability to deliver results collaboratively. 

Think customer

When collaborating with vendors, approach the relationship from your customer’s perspective. Research indicates that 92% of B2B purchases begin online, and 62% of B2B buyers saying they can formulate vendor selection criteria based solely on digital content.  

To authentically ‘think like your customer,’ immerse yourself in the initiation of their purchasing journey by conducting a search for your brand name + vendor. Ask yourself if your digital content effectively communicates a cohesive ecosystem story. If not, this is the ideal starting point. 

In 2021 we researched brand + vendor search visibility and found that 46% returned poor quality SERP. By serving the right content to those seeking out you and your vendors, you’ve instilled confidence and aided them at start of their purchasing journey. 

Create your joint value propositions 

Returning to our cloth analogy, not having joint value propositions is akin to randomly weaving threads and hoping for a coherent pattern – a recipe for chaos. The challenge lies in aligning all your threads (vendors) through joint value propositions. This alignment transforms the collective cloth into something more beautiful than the individual threads alone. In turn you have a joint offering your customers can understand.  

Reflect on your marketing plan and include your vendors 

You’re starting the year with a marketing plan. Amazing. How are your vendors integrated into this? If you’ve already aligned your marketing plan with that of your vendors’ then you’re already one step ahead. If, however, your vendors are ‘loose threads’, it’s time to weave them in.  

Review your plan for the year and consider where and how your vendors’ value add can be included. Visualise your calendar and map out where they can be incorporated into existing campaigns. This leads us nicely onto our next step…  

Anticipate your vendors wants and needs 

Vendors have budget available, and they want to spend it with you. However, when you’re underresourced and juggling multiple vendors and campaigns, opportunities are lost, resulting in lost funding opportunities. By taking a step back you can review what they may want and need throughout the year. Using your joint value propositions, which could include multiple ingredient partners, you can feed them into your strategy and approach them with suggested activity first. Not only does this put you on the front foot, but it ensures that you and your vendors are fully aligned with joint messaging and joint objectives from the get-go. 

Finally, create a framework of structured marketing activities for your vendors 

Once you’ve reflected on your marketing plan for the year, and considered what you vendors may want and need, you can turn this into a framework of activities and opportunities for them to choose from throughout the year, based on the budget they have available. Using a categorised approach, they can choose from lighter touch content pieces through to in depth campaigns. Remember, these are campaigns you already have planned. This joined up approach not only adds brand value through vendor alignment, but ensures your vendors are woven through the very fabric of your strategy.  

We’ve been helping our clients weave their partners into their marketing activities for over a decade. If you want to discuss how we could help you and your team, you can contact us here.  

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