Benefits, Nuisances, and Marketing Adoption
One-Stop Shop method
How does a one-stop shop vendor provide value to its customers? Leading one-stop shop vendors combine creativity, skill and authenticity on a level that matches consistent speed-to-market products, high quality and unmatched customer service – all under one roof.
From a B2C perspective, consider the top one-stop shopping hubs - Amazon, Target and Walmart. These niche leaders offer a wide variety of products, easy ordering, cost savings, and timely shipping to your front door. In today’s hectic world, countless customers lean on the brands that allow them to purchase quality groceries, toiletries, household goods, gifts, and clothing all on the same shopping trip.
What are the downsides to consolidation? To prioritize convenience, customers may end up settling for an "ok" product instead of the perfect product for their needs. In other words, what they gain from simplicity, they may lose in proficiency. Businesses should be cautious to select a one stop shop that they trust to deliver on promises, and one that offers consistent improvement.
So how does the one-stop-shop model translate to the B2B world?
Saved time and money are the ideal outcomes in choosing a one-stop-shop vendor. Various B2B vendors are realizing that they too can embrace this business model to meet their objectives. Streamlining communications between the business and vendor, housing multi-faceted processes in one location, and having a strong talent pool to assist in each portion of a project lifecycle can provide infinite value - positively affecting a business’ time and money investment.
Allowing one company to house and manage 30 steps to project completion can ultimately take less effort than five companies managing eight to 10 steps each.
The alternative, or best-of-breed method, is where a vendor offers a specialized approach to their clientele. By limiting their services or product offerings they can focus on providing the highest degree of expertise in their market. For example, a gourmet cook wants to buy ingredients for their restaurant. They purchase a few items from Whole Foods, others from an ethnic grocery store and the rest from a farmer’s market to concoct the perfect recipe.
Is specialization effective in today’s B2B market? Some companies believe outsourcing to multiple agencies or vendors prevents them from having all of their eggs in one basket, and increases their ability to negotiate on various levels.
"The value of the unbundled approach is that you’re getting the best services from those companies that specialize in those services...A lot of companies don’t like to have all of their eggs in one basket, and it gives them leverage to negotiate if they keep it broken up."
Todd Hennemen, Workforce
Hand selecting the best products or services may achieve more precise results, however, this method requires added time to research and vet each business for quality and consistency. Businesses must determine if one person on their in-house team is responsible for communicating with this mix of vendors, or if multiple team members will work with multiple vendors. Coordinating a best-of-breed mix requires more attention to detail, sometimes prolonging the finished product.
Today’s marketers should be cautious about “muddling the mix”
The process of managing various agencies can be taxing. Think about the various components of a company’s latest go-to-market campaign. It may involve a combination of: project estimation, account management/planning, creative design, digital and social media components, retouching, production, print, fulfillment, shipping, installation. So, how can they manage a mix of vendors handling each component to ensure consistency, increase ROI and-speed to-market?
“Are you building an agency ecosystem and agile operating model that will cover this new mix without overlaps, redundancies, or gaps?…The agency management plan must define clear swim lanes that outline what each agency is expected to do, how they are expected to work together, and how they should coordinate with in-house teams.”
Thomas Bauer, McKinsey&Company
The most effective solution for an individual business depends on their objectives and the type of work needed to achieve them. Your strategy team should consider prioritizing goals to determine if a one-stop shop vendor or best-of-breed model will be the better fit for your business. For example, is the main intention to produce economies of scale or individualized solutions for different project types? Is the team looking for streamlined processes, or are they satisfied with a more complex management plan?
One-stop shop vendors can provide infinite value, but how do you know which ones will deliver on the promise of integrated solutions and save you both time and money?
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