Marketing vendors, who you gonna call?

I’ve never been part of a marketing team that didn’t have to create literature, usually design through to print. It still amazes me how many Marketing Teams don’t have all their vendors in place though. Sure you’ve got that guy that you usually go to for your printing. But what about when the timelines are really short? (Like last minute events or stunts) Or when your in-house team is overloaded and you need to send work out to a contractor?

I’ve built relationships with a set of vendors, so that just in case everything’s in a mess, I’ve got a list of go to people (with contract rates) ready to hand. It’s something I’d strongly recommend you create. You can get updated pricing every couple of months, which is a great opportunity for you to keep in touch with them – even if you’re not sending any work their way at the moment.

Here’s a few of the different marketing vendors that I try to keep relationships with:

  1. Copywriters; we have our in-house writer and use an external agency (Godot) when there’s excessive load
  2. Graphic designers ; we have internal designers, and have contract rates with 3 freelance graphic designers that we use for specific projects
  3. Video creators; this is new for us, previously we used to create videos internally, but we’re increasingly relying on external vendors given the volume of time taken (and resource used) to finish video projects
  4. Printers (regular); everyone needs to have a regular printer, nothing special here
  5. Printers (last minute); this is where we go when things are getting tight. They charge a premium but can get things done overnight and work really well under time pressure
  6. Web designers; we have an agency on contract that we use for majority of our work, but there are 2 freelancers that support us when we need custom pages & quick project work

Even if you’ve got in-house teams to cover these, it’s always good to keep your fall-backs ready. If you’ve got the budget, it can be worthwhile to send work out to them on occasion instead of in-sourcing it. It’ll give you practical experience of working with your vendors, so you’ll understand their process and their idiosyncrasies when crunch time comes.

Having a few good marketing vendors on tap has saved projects for me in the past.

Why you need a good Marketing Dashboard

It’s not uncommon to hear about the woes between marketing & sales, but it’s more worrying when there’s no problems between the two. Sales usually have a short term vision, compared to the traditionally mid-long term marketing focus on branding, positioning & lead generation. So if there’s no problems between the two, either the sales team is accustom to working on long lead time clients, or marketing is just acting as a lead generation extension of sales.

Brand Value

If terms like brand value, thought leadership, and added value are important to your company, then marketing shouldn’t just be about lead gen and sales. It’ll be tough to develop brand value without a mid-long term vision (and investment) into the verticals that don’t directly result in leads/sales. Those are usually verticals that have no real effect on your brand value. It’s not made any easier when you have to report (defend) against ROI orientated metrics – and what metrics shouldn’t be ROI orientated? There’s a strong incentive to keep pushing for the short term gains.

Which is why it’s so refreshing to see a Marketing Dashboard that has branding as a component of the key metrics. This is a sample Marketing Dashboard that I’ve compiled based on a few that I’ve used – it includes short term lead-gen goals as well as longer term elements, and is designed to be modified to suit your needs:

[download id=”682″]

(There are a few more guides available on the Marketing Resources page)

If your marketing department is functioning as an extended sales arm, be prepared for a long internal change management process. It’s not about changing a spreadsheet, rather than it is about changing the management perspective on what marketing can do for the company. As well as getting some distance from the sales team, which is going to be hard given their enormous vested interested in having the extra hands (and leads).

The questions to ask are, why does the market leader in your industry command a premium? What can we do to achieve that market position? What can we do to justify charging a similar premium? The metrics are important, but conveying them in a meaningful manner to your stakeholders, so they understand the value you’re bringing to the team is more important. Without regular effective communication, your marketing budget will be no more than a slush fund for sales activities & your marketing team will just be an extension of sales.

Tips for building your Event Email Strategy

In the last two weeks I’ve attended seven different events, covering a really wide range of topics, from venture capital, advertising, to audio visual technology. It was interesting to compare how they were communicating with the attendees before, after & during the event – ranging from almost non-existent through to incredibly engaging. Here’s a quick peek at what they were doing & some tips on what you should & shouldn’t be doing with your event communication.

I registered online for all the events, and they all sent me a confirmation/e-ticket. Only three of them sent me anything after that though. The first sent me a thank you email after the event. The second sent me an email at the end of the first day, saying “sorry we missed you at the event” – Despite the fact that I’d been at the event, had been electronically registered at the counter, and had my badge scanned on entry? That was a bit weird. No thank you email though.

The third was playing in a completely different league. Here’s the summary of the emails they sent me:

  1. Day one: Registration e-mail , detailing basic information, social media channels for discussion and the event hashtag
  2. Two weeks prior to the event: Event instructions, directions & tips for making the most of the event
  3. One day prior to the event: Details of sponsored cab ride to the event (more on this later)
  4. Immediately after the event: Thank you email, link to a survey and details of informal event after party
  5. Three days after the event: Event photos, videos, recap of keynotes
  6. Six days after the event: Moderated message from one of the sponsors with an invitation to the sponsors own event

All the emails had (mostly) non-promotional, useful and relevant information. They weren’t so frequent that they were annoying, and because they were relevant I was happy to read them. A really good example of a well thought out, and executed event email strategy. There was a little extra work in making sure that they took photos, videos and the actual design of the emails themselves, but it was far more impactful than any of the other events.

A timely and professional email campaign can have a huge impact on how your event is perceived, and on the overall volume of conversion you enjoy. It’s worth putting in the effort in advance & I’d strongly recommend this approach if you’re planning an event. I promised you some do’s & don’ts so here goes:


  • Assume that event email marketing means just sending a welcome & thank you email
  • Send the wrong emails to the wrong people
  • Have too many specific emails designed for specific groups of people
  • Spam attendees with rubbish


  • Send as much relevant & useful information as possible
  • Include a prominent hashtag
  • Prepare your emails and formats in advance
  • Send helpful/interesting emails during the event (especially if it’s multi-day)
  • Capture event feedback via email