The supplier and the partner

Sometimes I need a supplier and other times I’m looking for a partner. What’s the difference?

A supplier
– Is there when you need them
– Is reliable and consistent in their product and service
– Executes your requests flawlessly
– Suggests alternatives as issues arise

A partner
– Comes to you with ideas
– Educates you on the things in their world that affect yours
– Challenges your assertions and assumptions
– Works with you to create a plan

It works the other way too. Sometimes our clients are looking for a trusted advisor, a marcom partner. And sometimes they just want someone to execute their idea. It’s important to know up front what the client is looking for and decide what role you’d be happy playing. I’ve had good experiences with both, but the key was understanding expectations from the outset.


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