When Vendors Offer A Larger and More Diverse Menu – Should You Try It?

For years I’ve purchased checks from Deluxe. At times I’d get labels from them as well. In late August Delux announced an offering of new products and services, for smaller businesses, outside of its traditional line of offerings.
Deluxe is launching a full-service line of marketing tools and services created to provide small businesses a turn key method of promoting and growing their business. The services include:

Branded Web Sites
– In today’s age of online information gathering, the Yellow Pages alone is no longer a strong enough marketing solution. By partnering with industry leading interactive firms, Deluxe can design, host and support search engine optimization – all without a significant amount of time and expense.
Ideabook – this piece, which is sent to tens of thousands of small business owners nationwide, includes “Ideas in Action” allowing them to see how their brands can be applied to hundreds of marketing solutions in an easy-to-use, photo-rich, glossy, full-color format.
Dedicated Call Center – also launching this summer will be an enhanced call center dedicated to address marketing issues and questions with trained experts at-the-ready.
These services are great and I really like it when icons of business services, like Deluxe expand their offerings. My concern is when these companies launch services beyond their core offerings, such as web site. How can you decide?


Microsoft’s Office Live and Intuit’s Home Stead both offer very good template based web design services. Of course let’s not forget about web hosts such as Register.com, Yahoo and others who provide web design services as well.
What about email marketing, blog site creation and more? While Deluxe does not offer these services right now, you’ll start to see larger companies, like Intuit, Google and Microsoft (and I think eventually Dell and HP) offer more and more services traditionally offered by others. Some of the new offerings will be bought, such as Intuit, for example, purchasing Constant Contact (this is only an example, not something that has happened…). Others, such as Google offering e-commerce or applications, will be created from scratch (or through acquisition) and sold.
Either way, your going to see more and more companies offering a variety of competing services to you.
Don’t make a decision based on price alone, but careful consider who the vendor is. Consider, if their support is good. Think about their long term growth plan – meaning are they constantly innovating and looking to make a better product?
Sometimes it’s best to purchase services from companies who have an expertise – like Constant Contact with email marketing. Other times its fine to purchase a particular service from a company that offers a broad spectrum of services.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook