- Most clients or prospective clients of agencies aren’t asking questions about technology utilization
- Brand and communications agencies use technologies on behalf of their clients
- Use these questions to better understand and evaluate the technology landscape of these agencies
SiriusDecisions recently unveiled a vision for technology and services provider coverage that takes into account the challenges associated with the changing and confusing category landscape. Using a category as the main organizing construct for the selection of technology, agency or services providers can create artificial boundaries around business requirements and lead B2B leaders to make myopic decisions. By using a business requirements-led approach, B2B buyers are once again in the driver’s seat and able to better associate these purchases to business priorities. This is even more important for agencies, where the variety of offerings often spans traditional categories.
When we look at the landscape for the brand and communications leader, we see a variety of technologies and agencies to support their business priorities. Because of the nature of external communications, many of these systems or the information they hold is leveraged in other priorities as well. Consider social media management for a moment. This technology holds valuable information for several teams – demonstrating how interlock is so critical – with demand creation, account-based marketing, customer engagement, product marketing and customer support.
These may also not be technologies that your organization has necessarily purchased and used, but that could be employed by an agency on behalf of the organization. So, in that scenario, questions about the technology they use should be included in the agency selection process as it can lead to some interesting conversations. For example, some agencies maintain their own influencer lists, whereas others purchase from a vendor – there are pros and cons to both approaches. There is also great variability in the social and traditional media monitoring from various vendors. Without clarity on where the agency is getting this information, there is confusion, especially for benchmarking purposes. The following set of questions could be asked of an agency about their use of technology:
- Technology selection. How often do you evaluate the technologies that the agency uses?
- Team training. How do you ensure that the agency staff is fully trained on using these technologies?
- Technology fees. Is the technology a passed-through expense or is there agency markup?
- Client base utilization. How many of your clients are using these technologies today?
What other considerations do you have when selecting communications agencies with regard to technology? Are there other questions you’ve asked?