Managing service provider ties

In this new era of marketing, emerging channels and performance 
measurement pressures, multiple vendor management can be challenging, 
requiring intense coordination in creative formats and technologies 
that don’t easily work together. Working through a direct marketing 
agency may relieve you from the management and coordination 
activities but mark-ups take a big bite out of your budget.
Costco is a great example of a company that values its relationship 
with its service providers. For example, it understood that community-
based marketing was critical to its regional and individual warehouse 
success. However, the home office marketing groups were spending much 
of their time and resources to customize and personalize messages and 
materials for the regions and warehouses. Costco approached a 
marketing service provider with this challenge, which resulted in the 
creation of one fluid process within the Costco enterprise using a 
web-to-print application.
Now, instead of waiting three to four weeks for custom materials, 
regional offices and warehouses receive materials with customized 
messaging within three days. This solution created additional 
departmental bandwidth, saves money in wasted materials, allows 
corporate to maintain branding control and enables regional offices 
and warehouses to create the materials they need to reach their 
community. The localized messaging reinforces Costco’s presence in 
the community, creates greater connectivity with customers and drives 
additional traffic and membership.
By partnering with a marketing service provider, multiple 
capabilities like agency, technology, digital print, mail and 
fulfillment were combined to create one solution. With a reduction in 
the number of vendors to manage, the installation of the solution was 
only 60 days, achieving a near-immediate positive ROI for Costco.
Lead generation, lead nurturing and lead distribution are also ideal 
areas to explore a partnership with a marketing service provider. 
Traditionally, lead generation programs involve direct response or 
integrated agencies, data and analytic services, technology services, 
print and mail shops. And somehow the campaign metrics need to tie to 
actual sales to close the loop and provide meaningful measures. This 
traditional process eats away at valuable time coordinating the 
messaging through the right channels, with the right vendors at the 
right time.
As an example, Dominican University, listed as one of U.S. News’ top 
100 schools, deployed marketing service provider expertise to design 
and create targeted lead generation programs aimed at high school 
juniors. It nurtured each prospective student with targeted messaging 
through multiple channels and ripened the lead over several months 
before distribution to the university’s recruiter. The partnership 
has yielded Dominican with an unprecedented application base and 
quality enrollment and advanced its reputation.

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