Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to find great vendors

From local printers to national agencies, every higher ed marketer needs to find new vendors every once in a while. So what are the best ways to find one?
  • References, references, references. There's no better way to choose vendors than by good referrals. Ask your network who they recommend. If you don't know anyone who could make a recommendation, this is a great question to break the ice. Listservs or professional LinkedIn groups can also be helpful places to request suggestions. (Conversely, if you find a vendor you like who wasn't referred, make sure to call a few of their clients before you hire the company.)
  • Your professional organizations. If you're a member of a communications organization, check out their website for recommendations or sponsors who cater to your market. The CASE Yellow Pages is one resource that covers a variety of education-related companies, and the College and University Editors' Photographers List includes freelancers from around the nation referred by fellow communicators.
  • Industry networks and organizations. Check out the portfolios of creative freelancers on, where you can search by various fields (including academia). The Graphic Artists Guild also makes member portfolios available on its website, and the Professional Photographers of America offers a Find-a-Photographer site.
What are your favorite resources for finding vendors?

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