Partner vs. Vendor: Knowing the Difference

By Marki Landerud, VP/Partner, Account & Business Development Director

August 22, 2017

Partner – a person who takes part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits.

Synonyms: colleague, associate, coworker, fellow worker, collaborator, comrade, teammate

Partner. You see this word used quite a bit in business relationships. As opposed to the more one-off, transactional-based vendor relationship, a partnership is indicative of transparency and trust.

When it comes to partnering with a marketing communications firm, the definition of partnership should grow even deeper. A true partner will take on risks on your behalf. It is their responsibility to provide recommendations that address your business needs—and in order to do that, they need to be working alongside you, digging deep and caring as much about your business as you do.

This hyper engagement helps partners truly understand your business situation in order to effectively establish goals and properly execute against them with the most strategic solutions possible—likely ones you have yet to consider.

A partner is also respectful of your budget, getting the most out of every dollar spent and reporting continuously on ROI. If things aren’t trending in a direction that benefits you, they’ll change course, quickly and efficiently.

Another important characteristic of a partner? They’ll have your back if things don’t go as planned. It’s when times get tough or issues occur that truly separate partners from vendors. Partners stand up, take the issue on head first and come to the table with a solution.

At S&B, being a partner isn’t just a claim, it is a characteristic of every team member—and has been for more than 60 years. This is something that won’t change, no matter how our industry changes.

Can your marketing communications firm say the same? Leave a comment below or email us at


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