Commentary

No Client Left Behind: Why Innovation Is Crucial For Vendors

Ever notice how difficult it is to buy a cheap umbrella when it's already pouring out? Were you one of those poor saps trying to find a Wii the week before Christmas? And I bet you'd have lucked out if you'd showed up on last week's opening night of "Spider-Man 3" and tried to get a ticket ten minutes before showtime. That's the thing about hindsight -- It may be 20/20, but it rarely pays off as big as we'd like. Must be because everybody has it.

Foresight, on the other hand, has the potential to make all the difference. And in online marketing, it's indispensable. Clients depend on their vendors to be on top of their needs, to anticipate both problems and opportunities in order to deliver the best service possible. So why do so many vendors wait until they have no choice before developing new systems and technologies for their ad solutions? It shouldn't just be about adjusting to new changes in the marketplace; a vendor has a duty to its clients to constantly innovate and drive the business further. Great service is proactive, not reactive.

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There are certain basic elements that are expected of any good vendor. Great encoding, comprehensive reporting, and solid, dependable customer service are all crucial elements of a strong digital media provider. But these ingredients are fundamental, and should now be considered the standard. Innovation is what takes a vendor from good to great.

For example, technological initiatives are important -- but they're only one aspect of innovation. It can be as simple as taking new approaches with the systems we already have and applying them in different, dynamic ways. Rather than recycle formulas and merely sub in the details for the client you happen to be working with, why not completely recalibrate and tailor a campaign to the client's unique identity? Innovation can also be about streamlining the trafficking process or even taking new approaches to customer service issues. No piece of the puzzle should be overlooked when searching for ways to improve.

The point is, creativity drives this industry. All too often, a company ends up trapped in a loop, repeating formulas that have worked before and waiting to make evolutionary strides only when it is caught in a bind. As vendors, we have a responsibility to our clients to constantly look ahead and think proactively, to be aggressive in providing the best service we possibly can. We should be attempting whenever possible to make changes, not just react to them.

If we fail to do this, and act only retroactively, we risk being left in the dust at the end of the line. I'll tell Spidey you said hello.

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