In an effort to shop for the lowest prices on each marketing project and select different “experts” for each marketing initiative, often companies will work with multiple vendors. Don’t make this same mistake.

Some may think that this is not really a mistake. However, in actuality, the company frequently ends up with a huge mess. Why? With so many vendors, you run the risk of experiencing several frustrating realities. Your budget isn’t being optimized, you become the referee between multiple vendors, and most importantly, your brand may suffer because no one has a true handle on your image. Really, this is not an ideal situation for anyone to experience.

Playing Well Together

Have you heard the term, “Not everyone plays nice in the sandbox”? In the case of too many vendors, you may get to experience that firsthand. You often get caught in the middle of vendors who are all “experts,” not only in their field, but also in others. It can lead to quite a headache and can slow down the production of your marketing brand/products.

Take, for example, the development of a web site. Many designers are not familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) qualifications. When the design gets sent to the developer — another vendor — and built, it would then be sent to yet another vendor, a digital marketer, to make sure that it is SEO compliant. Usually, in most cases, it isn’t, and then it has to go back to development for a re-build, risking that the whole project will go over budget and further extending its schedule.

A lot of times, you would then have to play referee with all three of these vendors to make the final decision and figure out who is the actual expert. If this was done with one agency that offers all of those services, the SEO compliancy would have been discussed from the beginning with the project management team.

Unfocused Confusion

Another challenge that’s faced is having too many interpretations of the vision for your brand, marketing and company. Each could interpret your brand idea differently, and that creates a non-cohesive marketing plan. Each vendor will have its own design team working on what it thinks you are looking for.

Or if the vendor doesn’t have a designer, and you rely on yet another vendor to provide the files, the vendor might not send over the correct file type, size, etc. This will end up taking more time and money to remedy the situation. The end result is a mess of brand confusion and not a happy customer.

Budgets are always at the top of mind, so when using too many vendors, your budget ultimately will be stretched thin. You will not be able to economize by purchasing products and services together.

Many times you will save money on a whole campaign if you go to an agency that does it all: print, promotional products, direct mail, digital marketing and web sites. When dealing with agencies that do it all, you lessen the chance of running into expensive hiccups. For example, when working with a designer or printer that isn’t familiar with mailing, your piece may not be designed or printed to proper United States Postal Service guidelines, thus possibly missing an important deadline. But dealing with an agency that caters to designing and printing for mail, you won’t run into that issue.

And let’s not forget, when working with too many vendors, you run the risk of not being able to deliver your product on time. Small jobs that are given to various vendors often can be treated as not a high priority or given the attention they need. There is also the headache of hoping your many vendors will work well together; it doesn’t always happen.

Single Agency

Instead of working with various partners, one solution would be to partner with an agency that can provide for you all of the needs you are looking for. Working with an agency, you have one designer creating the vision of your brand, sending that one creative file to print or getting it ready for the web and digital marketing. Working with an agency also allows for easier collaboration on the creative concept: the voice and vision of the brand.

You most likely will experience a much more pleasant and smoother process by working with an agency, but even better, you will get a product that is delivered on time and within budget for your company.

Janice Tippett is president of Millennium Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at jtippett@mm4solutions.com. Contact her to receive your free copy of the book, Secrets of Ad Agency Owners: The Biggest Marketing Mistake I’ve Ever Seen.