When you work in marketing, there’s a certain percentage of your budget you’ve probably dedicated to promo merch and company swag. And that merch probably gets handed out a lot during the holidays. If it’s November, you’ve probably heard something like, “Send the golf balls to our best clients, and the rest just get the company card,” or some similar statement around the office.
If you’re going to be ordering merch anyway, you might as well make your vendor choice “strategically.” What do we mean? One way to stand out from your competition and grab some positive attention is by choosing local businesses as your marketing vendors.
“But isn’t it cheaper to just buy products I need for my business from some online store or some vendor overseas?” Yea, that stuff on Alibaba.com is so cheap it’s ridiculous, right? Sure, that might cost you a bit less in the short term, but there are many other advantages to choosing local. Here are a few.
Greater Control and Flexibility
If your business needs a product like a sign, for example, you may want to peruse online sites that can print the sign for you at a lesser cost compared to a local signmaker. However, you may not actually save money on this product. First, if that sign is large and weighs a good amount, the shipping costs may make it comparable to that from a local sign business.
In addition, iIf the out-of-state or online company makes a wee boo-boo on your sign, like spelling your company’s name wrong or messing up the phone number, you’ll need to have a new sign made. That’s may cost you more money for sure.
Let’s say you decide to work with your local sign company instead. You can visit the shop before the sign gets completed, inspect it, and make any changes needed before hanging it up. Also, as your business needs change, a local company may be able to have someone stop by to adjust the information on the sign at a fraction of the cost of making a whole new one. When you work with a local vendor, you’ll have greater control of the finalized product.
Faster Launch or Delivery of Products
If you have to wait for products that are stuck on a cargo ship, a truck, or somewhere in the back of a large warehouse, you won’t be able to get your merch quickly. That’s an issue if you’ve already run out or you need it in time for an event. Or, if you already promised the merch to some of your clients and they’re expecting it, that could leave them unhappy.
If you work with local companies, you can find out what supplies they have in stock and which ones they need to order along with their turnaround time. Once the vendor makes the product, they can drive it to your business without it getting stuck somewhere in transit. If they already have your product in stock, then they may even be able to do do rush jobs for you when you’re in a bind.
Avoiding Supply Chain Issues
Supply chain issues have skyrocketed over the years, causing a huge headache for those in the manufacturing and transportation industries. What’s causing all these supply chain problems? According to the World Economic Forum, consumer demand, labor shortages, inflation, shipping restraints, global and political unrest, and severe weather all add to worsening supply chain problems.
With such rampant supply chain issues, the chances of your promo product delivery being delayed is pretty high. What can a business do to avoid getting caught up in the maelstrom of the supply chain? Working with local businesses can reduce the chaos and backlog of products and supplies. Your customers will also admire your commitment to helping the environment, supporting workers’ rights, and not being a part of the supply chain problem.
Meaning and Mission in the Workplace
A worth-while reason to use local vendors is to create a meaningful workplace and community of support, sustainability, and giving back. When you work with local vendors and businesses that may align with your mission and vision of creating a strong community working together toward sustainability, everyone in your business can feel better about the swag they’re purchasing, using, and doling out to others..
Even if working with local vendors may cost a bit more, your customers and clients will be encouraged to do business with you when they see how you support local businesses and “put your money where your mouth is” when it comes to your company mission and values.
Strengthens the Community
Despite spending a little more when using local vendors, that money you’re spending is going back into your local community, namely local jobs, local business, and local taxes. When you source locally, you’re also helping support other businesses that’ll often support your business as well. When a business has a good social network within the community, their word-of-mouth has significant reach. Customers who feel part of a business, whether it’s the local coffee shop or a print shop, also have a chance to become your loyal customers.
Overall, a powerful community of local businesses and customers will stick together during good times and hard times. Being part of a solid community is one of the best ways to market your business organically and keep those customers returning again and again.
So, what’s the best way to meet local vendors you could potentially work with? You can go to local networking events or sponsor a cool event that attracts the type of vendors you’re interested in working with. You should also use your social media presence to share the message that you want to work with local vendors to help create a connected community.
At Liger Partners, we’ve established many relationships with local businesses and love getting involved with our ATL community. Some of those relationships have even become working partnerships. Contact us today to see how our skills can help you create a marketing plan you and your customers can feel great about.