So Many Marketing Channels … So Many Vendors …

Managing multiple vendors has become nearly a full-time job for some marketers.

marketing channelsManaging channel communications isn’t very easy for marketers these days, that’s for sure.  It’s because so many companies are using multiple outbound channels to connect with their customers.

Illustrating this point, at the Direct Marketing Association’s 2014 annual conference, some 250 marketers were surveyed by Yes Lifecycle Marketing about their activities.

The results of that survey revealed that more than half of the marketers are using at least six outbound channels to connect with customers.  And another 20% use more than ten channels.

Guess what this means?  Nearly 30% of these marketers report that they’re managing (or more likely juggling) seven or more technology vendors and service providers as part of their MarComm duties.

More to the point, many marketers are devoting huge chunks of their week just coordinating all of these tech and service providers.

For an unlucky ~20% of the respondents, the time commitment is upwards of 15 hours each week – more than a third of the time that makes up a 40-hour week.  (“What’s a 40-hour week in marketing?” one might ask, of course.)

Even for marketers who are using a smaller number of vendors to support their media and communications channel efforts, the involvement of various internal stakeholders is high – more than seven, on average, during the vendor selection process.  So the coordination responsibilities just keep adding up.

What this means … 

The Yes Lifecycle Marketing Survey found a correlation between the “choreography” demands of managing multiple vendors and the fact that other marketing activities suffer as a result — namely, market strategizing, business operations and customer relationship-building.

And even with those duties getting shorter shrift, the marketers surveyed still complained about having too many vendors to coordinate … significant challenges with properly integrating the various functions … insufficient budgets … and above all, a lack of adequate staffing.

To top it off, the typical tenure of a Chief Marketing Officer at a company isn’t exactly lengthy — ~45 months at last count.  It’s enough to make one wonder if a job in marketing is worth it.

The answer to that question can be summed up this way (with credit to Oscar Wilde and apologies for the riff):  “The only thing worse than being busy is … not being busy.”

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