A Moment Of Vulnerability: The Difference Between A Business Partner And A Vendor

teal hand and grey hand shaking hands

“You’re fired.” It stings. Your Marketing Co. was recently fired from a credit union marketing client. It’s hard not to take it personally. But every failure is a learning opportunity (which if you learn something is not a failure).

We recently decided to perform an exit interview with clients if they decide to leave us, much like we would when an employee leaves us. I want to gain perspective, which in an exit interview is usually brutally honest, on how we can grow into a better organization.

After reviewing the interview of this marketing client who left us, I immediately became sad. This was one of the very first answers they gave:

“We’re in the service industry, and we treat our members with great care. And I think that YMC forgot that we were the client.”

I read that with sadness, feeling like a failure. One of our three core values is relationships. That one sound bite sounds horrible.

But the more I reflected, my sadness turned into pride. Digging in to gain perspective, I realized we did the right thing. This client was constantly in our bottom 5 for growth metrics, which frustrated both them and us.

“How can you help us grow members without spending any money?” they’d ask. That’s almost impossible in the competitive market the credit union is in.

“What are your other credit unions doing to grow like that?” the credit union would ask about our top credit union marketing clients, and we would share some new ideas, only to be rejected in favor of what the credit union had always done.

I’m sure you see the pattern: Keep doing the same thing, keep getting the same results.

If I’m accepting a check from your credit union, I want to put my head on my pillow at night and know that we’re doing all we can to deliver value back to you and your members. And as I reflect on that comment, “YMC forgot we were the client,” the executive meant that we weren’t simply acting as order takers. We pushed back, we leaned in, and we didn’t stop trying to show them how they could be successful. Our team spoke the truth when it was needed, showed tough love when it was warranted, and ultimately fought hard to help this credit union survive. We never forgot they were the client; we just didn’t play it safe and take the easy road by responding, “Whatever you want! Coming right up!”

I’m sharing this experience with you to highlight the difference between a vendor and a true business partner. A vendor will take your order and deliver what you ask for. A partner will ask the right questions and challenge you when it’s needed to help you get the results you want. Much like you, Your Marketing Co. also is in the service industry. And I’m certain your credit union doesn’t want your loan officers to be mere order takers. It’s the same for the Your Marketing Co. leadership team. Shame on those of us in the service business who don’t ask a freaking question to gain perspective and prescribe the right solution or idea to help solve your problem.

Gain Perspective!

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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