Choosing the Right Marketing Partner

Jan 09,2023

Your marketing partner should be a huge part of how your brand communicates with your customers. When you have the right partner, their positive impact on your customer experience and brand loyalty will take things to the next level. 

Let’s begin this growth journey! There are things you can plan for and things you can’t unless you’ve been down this road before (shameless plug for the 23 years we’ve been in the industry). It’s safe to say we know what makes a great marketing partner.

Why Do I Need a Partner?

To grow and thrive, you need a marketing partner with a proven record of success. They should help your business reach beyond its core markets into green space. Allowing you to expand your brand into untapped demographics and new customer segments. They need to offer simple, powerful, and proven solutions tailored directly to your business. And they should be able to work with you at every step, providing superior client support. 

What sets a great marketing partner apart is their ability to offer a full suite of services across different modalities like print production and sourcing, media planning and placement, direct mail, and apparel. Having these services means your brand is much less likely to be impacted by unpredictable events in the global marketplace. And they already have an extensive network of suppliers, providing access to all sorts of products at competitive prices. You’ll also want a team that brings collective expertise in marketing, brand management, and out-of-the-box ideas and comprises cool people.  

What Should be Top of Mind?

Choosing the right marketing partner for your brand can be a daunting task. After all, you will work closely with this company and trust them to help grow your brand. It’s essential to know they’re up to the challenge!

Key points that’ll help you make the right decision. 

When choosing a marketing partner, you’re looking for more than just a service provider. You want someone who will act as a guide through the complex process of growing your brand. It would be best if you had someone who has experience in helping brands like yours succeed. Look at their in-house resources: Do they have web developers and creative designers? Is there a reliable operation or sourcing team? Looking at the investments that they’ve made in these areas helps you to see where they specialize. And at the end of the day, you want someone whose primary focus is helping your brand thrive.  

Discuss their plan for the ongoing support! 

Beyond the company’s services, how they support you and your locations is essential. Every company approaches this topic differently, and how this fits your brand matters. Walk through these questions:  

  • Do they work exclusively with the corporate team, or will they work directly with your locations? 
  • How do you and your operators reach them? 
  • Is there a dedicated account team or a dreaded customer service line? 
  • Are they just a supplier, or do they operate as an extension of your marketing team? 

Have they helped brands like yours get where you’re going? 

It seems like a silly question, but brands need different resources depending on where they are in their growth journey. Think about where you are in your brand’s journey and speak to them about your specific challenges at your size. Ask them how they would tackle those pain points and what comes next! It’s also a good idea to discuss how long they have supported some of their brands like you. If their average client tenure is just a few years, that’s okay, but it could mean you’ll be on the hunt for a new partner as you outgrow their capabilities.  

What does the right partner look like?

When your brand finds the right partner, you’ll know! Their services will fill gaps you’ve identified in your current setup. They may also have capabilities you hadn’t considered and even some you aren’t quite ready for. They’ll have a support structure that will align with your promises to your local operators and improve upon what you’re offering them today. Their team will genuinely feel like an extension of your marketing team. Their people are the kind of people you could see going to dinner with again and again and again!

When Should I Ditch My Current Marketing Partner? 

If your brand isn’t getting the attention it deserves, it’s time to switch! More than just a printer or distributor, a good marketing partner should be able to help grow your business by providing multiple solutions and services tailored to your needs. This should include everything from web design to sourcing, procurement, and warehousing. If you’re now thinking about your current partner and have some FOMO, it may be time to have a challenging conversation.

Use what you’ve learned about what’s working and what’s falling short of structuring the conversations you have with prospective partners. Make a list of 3-5 things you wish were working better and start new partner conversations there. A great partner will also provide new ideas, curated programs, and campaigns, as well as offer up-to-date advice on what works best in the current climate—because, let’s face it: you can’t predict which trends will stick and which ones won’t, but you can be prepared for them. By working with a marketing partner who meets these criteria and has access to best-in-class suppliers and the latest trends, your brand is much less likely to be impacted by fleeting issues.

PRO TIP: Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before starting the breakup with your current partner. Get alignment on any new technology builds, like a print portal or brand hub, and discuss their capacity for supporting any upcoming promotions. The only thing worse than having support that isn’t quite meeting your needs is having none at all! 

Now What? 

When you’re ready to start growing your brand, it’s important to know what you’re in for: as with any big goal, there will inevitably be some bumps along the way, but the best partners have experienced these before and will be prepared to smooth them out for you. The right marketing partner can help you develop a clear and realistic growth plan, then seamlessly execute the plan every step of the way.

When you’re ready to start, you’ll want to develop a roadmap for bringing your new partner into your brand. Their reputation should precede them, and these talking points will help you sell this big change to your team and local operators. A positive reputation makes these conversations easy and leans on trust, transparency, and proven results. It’s best to have a handful of talking points, but keep it simple! “Here’s what we were struggling with, why we are making this change, what our new partner brings to the table, who they work with, and as we solidify the partnership, here’s what you can expect.” If you’re excited, your team and your operators will be enthusiastic, too – remember to share the things that blew you away!

Your Brand is Worth It!

What if we told you there’s a company affectionately known as the Brand Growth Experts? A team that truly embodies what it means to be a partner. No smoke and mirrors, just fantastic people with over two decades of experience supporting multi-location brands! Skilled at print production and sourcing, uniform programs, and national promotions, with in-house resources for creative and web development, plus experts who know warehousing and fulfillment. While it sounds too good to be true, UMI Marketing Solutions is very real, and we would love to meet you! 

Marketing a multi-location brand is complex! Balancing strategic growth with detailed execution is part of the challenge, and doing that with limited resources and on time is nearly impossible without the right partner. That’s where we come in. UMI is a full-service marketing operations partner that knows how to keep you on track. We simplify how your brand markets because we bring as much as possible under one roof. Our extensive network of supply chain partners means your brand is never too far from virtually anything you need, and our dedicated client services team offers the support and tools you need to grow quickly. Reach out, and let’s have a conversation about your goals!

We Want To Hear From You!