Switching Marketing Vendors - Overcoming the "What ifs"


A few years ago when I was first considering making a career change, I reached out to friend of mine in the publishing industry for advice. He told me, “Todd, sometimes it’s better to dance with the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” Neither of the organizations I was choosing between was actually the devil, but his point certainly wasn’t lost on me.

Making a change to the way we handle our marketing efforts is tough, especially when we’re considering switching vendors. We play out “what if” scenarios in our heads, and often we end up putting off making the decision to change. We become very complacent in our jobs and our relationships, and only when the pain of staying with a vendor far outweighs the risk of making a switch do we spur ourselves into action and choose to make a change. 

I’m guilty of it myself. Here’s a recent example of my own complacency:

For the last nine years, I’ve been using the same Internet provider, and at least two times a year I get really frustrated with the company’s poor service and outages. I have spent countless hours on the phone talking to a customer service department that is designed to wear customer down, hoping they’ll give up rather than pushing to truly having the situation resolved. Every time it happens, I swear to myself “This is the last time,” but once my Internet service is back up and running, I fall back into complacency until the next time. I justify my decision each time by convincing myself that all Internet providers are equally as bad.

Sound familiar? 

Last week, I decided to change the outcome of the story. I had once again experienced several agonizing days of outages and poor customer service response when I finally reached my tipping point — the moment when the pain of staying with my current vendor was too much, and I was finally willing to take the risk of switching providers. All I can say is, I wish I would have made the decision a lot earlier. 

So, what does my story have to do with your marketing situation? I’m willing to bet that whether you’re working with a full-service agency, consultant, freelancer or trying to handle all of your marketing to dos in-house, there is something (or maybe even several things) that you truly are not happy with, and you are wrestling with different scenarios or options to make it better.

If you’re like me and getting lost in the “what ifs” of making a much-needed change, here is some advice (and hopefully, encouragement) to help you break through those barriers:

  • What if I change and things are worse than before? — So what, change again. 
  • What if I spend a bunch of time training a new team and it doesn’t work out? — Do good job vetting your options and stop worrying about it. 
  • What if the right solution costs too much? — Don’t let pricing be a surprise. Quality partnerships are built on trust, and trust starts with knowing what you’re getting charged for and what you are not. 
  • What if I make a bad decision and it gets me fired? — Do your homework and develop a business case for the decision you’ve made. With that justification, you can let go of your worry and trust your instincts. 
  • What if I don’t have the time to make a change? — If being a marketing leader is important, you will find the time. Don’t let that be an excuse. 

The moral of my own story and this blog post is that it’s time to push past the “what ifs.” I know it might be uncomfortable, it might be intimidating and it might be hard work…but it can also be rewarding, gratifying and energizing. Don’t be complacent, take action!