Agency vs. Distributor

  • Mar 16, 2017

Top agencies buy for their clients.  Distributors sell to their customer.


Agency VS. Distributor Spreadsheet:


Function Agency Distributor
Primary goal is to sell products to customers that the customer requested. No Yes
Primary goal is to help clients buy the right products for a particular business purpose. Yes No
Considers criteria beyond price and product quality.  Yes No
Considers the legality of use with specific audiences. (CPSIA, State regulations & Voluntary community standards). Yes No
Develops back up plans for project managers/ event managers. Yes No
Proactively shares information about options that specifically meet buyer needs. Yes No
Helps select items based on audience, theme, project objective. Yes No
Sets time line and logistics goals, then actively keeps the project on track. Yes No
Provides shopping service, sample ordering, product evaluation and recommendations.  Yes No
Provides educational services to buyers and Communications Specialists. Yes NO
Provides Plus-Delta evaluations of product options to support decision making.   Yes No
Manages timing and logistics to take responsibility for cost effective timely distribution. Yes No


Buying Promotional Products as a commodity costs more. 
It increases risk.  Is your distributor asking the right questions so they can advise you regarding legal product for the intended purpose and audience? 
With promotional merchandise that is not a manufacturers responsibility.  As a buyer, the responsibility falls to you to understand how use of the product determines the product safety regulations that apply.  In your search for an agency it is important to determine how they handle this issue.
Understanding the marketing department problem. 
For the purchasing department to fully serve their internal client and improve the bottom line of the organization we must go beyond a comparison of product features.
Take the marketing department as an example.  They must consider the audience they are addressing, their budget, the value of reaching that audience, alien budget to value of purpose, along with product safety requirements based on audience and branding considerations.  Yes, all of that and often more, just to select the most effective carrier of the brand message.
Distributors stay focused on delivering goods as promised. In fact the distributor may not know the purpose of the buyer, the purpose of the project and not care about the challenges faced by your organization.
Agency stays focused on product selection and evaluation of sources based on the distinct need of the buyer based on each specific project. Agency provides the function of making sure the right products are delivered in the right condition and at the right time.  Results are tracked and reported by the agency to the buyer.  The agency has a vested interest in project success therefore goes to greater lengths to deliver on time when forces outside of the contract fulfillment cause delays.
To discover if and how an agency can serve your needs and reduce your costs please TAP HERE TO CONTACT US.