There is a lot of talk in the marketplace about Portals these days. Many websites offer a space to set up an account and login so you can check on orders and track your shipments. Libraries want you to use your library card to sign in on their website to access more of their services. Heck, your Urologist probably has one he wants you to use.
In addition, it seems that every printing company wants you to know they have a portal and they want you to sign up and use it. Is the portal your printer offers good for you or good for them? As you know, however, not everything is as it seems. I’ve found that there are two kinds of portals – the ones that are good for you and your business and the ones that are just good for the printer. Please allow me to explain.
Many in my industry have added what they hope is an easy way for you to do business with them. They will give you a login for their website where you can get a quote, place an order and perhaps even pay for the order upfront. In this case you may save a little money, but, is it really helping you grow your business?
We refer to this as a Vendor Portal – these systems provide users access to the vendors resources, print or other products or services, and are focused on showcasing the vendor’s product. If your needs fall perfectly into this vendor’s set of offerings, then you are in luck.
This set up works for some organizations but is useless to many others.
One size fits all is not realistic and many companies today require portals that offer their team access to a variety of marketing products, including all kinds of print, and non-print items, from brochures to ball caps. Some sales channels have a broad range of requirements, from dealer networks with promo budgets, to distributed sales teams with budget caps per rep or territory. Other organizations have strict approval structures with GL codes and PO numbers, while yet others are ok with pre-approved templates. It’s more robust and comprehensive, helping you reach your goals and grow your business.
We call these systems Marketing Portals - fully branded, team-facing store fronts where users can access their catalog of marketing materials, including print and promo, with the distribution and approvals their organization needs. This allows any organization to manage marketing materials, including orders for third party vendors, place print-on-demand orders or inventory pulls, and keep track of your marketing expenditures by department.