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Vendor-client relations: like a marriage?


wedding photo

This week I lost my best client.

Ouch.

The client represents a fair share of my annual revenue, and for two years they’ve raved about my work. But after an organizational restructuring and a changing of the guard, I was told to “bill us for any outstanding work.” Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls.

It got me thinking about my years in corporate communications, when I managed the production of marketing materials, a magazine and an annual report. I hired many vendors for creative services—writers, designers, photographers, offset printers and mailing houses. Many of them had been working with the organization when I arrived, but I felt it was important to build my own team—people who shared my creative vision, gave great service and helped me meet my bottom line. If a standing vendor failed to deliver on any of those three criteria, out s/he went.

Now and then I would change creative agencies, just to break out of