With the influx of technology affecting such a significant part of business development and growth, it can be tempting to acquire all the new tech that comes out. The problem with this approach is that not all the latest tech that is released fits a particular agency’s needs.
In a world where an agency has an unlimited budget to work with, this might not be that much of a concern. However, since we all work within budgets, agency leaders have to take point to spot the most pertinent tech acquisitions to help the company grow.
Below, 12 contributors to Forbes Agency Council expound on the methods they use to determine what new tech is a good fit for their agencies and which one can be safely ignored.
1. Know What You Want To Achieve
Before procuring a tool, you should understand why you need it, how you will use it and how you will measure success. A few preliminary steps to start with: First, gather your line of business leaders together to brainstorm desired use cases. Next, prioritize these use cases — what will drive the most value for the organization. Finally, use this groundwork to seek and evaluate technology tools. – Andrew Au, Intercept Group
2. Start With Those Who Will Use It Most
One great pitfall for agencies making tech decisions is when the decision is made in a leadership-only vacuum. If you don’t start by understanding the needs of the people in your agency using the tech day-to-day, it won’t succeed. It won’t solve the problems of the people using it and it will never be adopted — thus not solving any problems of leadership, either. Ask the users early and often. – Blair Brady, WITH/agency
3. Find The Weakest Link
Comb through your processes and find where you are spending the most amount of time with the least amount of return. There is likely a platform out there to make it easier. The key is to distinguish between “want” and “need.” There are a lot of bells and whistles on the newest tech, and a lot of it may not suit your direct needs. Analyze your workflow to see what truly makes an impact. – Michael Smith, MDS Media Inc.
4. Know The Facts
When I evaluate marketing tech, I always consider two key questions: “Will this tech help customers grow their business?” and “Are there case studies and data that support the success of the tech indicating growth for customers?” If I can’t positively identify answers to these questions, then I wouldn’t recommend implementing new tech for customers. – Laura Cole, Vivial
5. Consult Your Network
When considering a company-wide technology implementation, research and sales demos will only get you so far. Be sure to consult with your network of peers and colleagues who may have direct experience with the product and with competitive products. They can give you an honest review of the tech’s benefits and pitfalls and untangle some of your more specific use case concerns. – Jenni Smith, EGR International
6. Know Your Process First
Investing in speed, efficiency and clearing bottlenecks across your workflow should be on the top of your radar. In order to identify your tech needs you should have a blueprint or standard operating procedure laid out for exactly what you need, be it customer journey or client communications. Doing this will allow you to project and budget for the best tools. – Alex Quin, UADV
7. Be Clear About Your Needs
Seek out tech to help you address specific obstacles, instead of going in for vague promises like “revolutionizing your workflow.” Know what you want the tech to accomplish and how to determine success — saving time is one thing, but if that pricey new tool only saves you a few seconds, is it worth it? – Hannah Trivette, NUVEW Web Solutions
8. Use Peer-To-Peer Software Reviews
Use a peer-to-peer software review site like G2 Crowd. G2 Crowd categorizes software options by industry need, making it easy to surf through tech solutions that address significant pain points. Detailed and thorough user reviews help agency leaders identify the best fit for their needs and use cases. – Corbett Drummey, Popular Pays
9. Be Selective
Just because something is the latest and greatest tech, that does not mean it’s the right fit for your company. It’s like the old saying — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you are working well with your current agency-focused tech, switching it up may not be your best option. Be mindful of which services you are in need of and do your research in comparing different products across the market. – Darian Kovacs, Jelly Digital Marketing & PR
10. Make Sure It Aligns With Your Goals
There are a lot of exciting technologies in the space and it’s easy to get distracted and chase each new shiny thing. Before bringing a new tech onboard, consider if it aligns with your long-term business goals, whether it’s set to grow with your business and supports your potential future needs, if it will work within your current tech stack and what resources are needed to use it. – Inna Semenyuk, InnavationLabs
11. Find A Strategic Fit For Both Agency And Clients
If you are a marketing agency looking for the right technology partnerships, you need to look at what is going to be right for both your customers’ strategy as well as your agency’s growth. Align your agency with tech partners that value the agency-client relationship, and that want to work with you to grow your business, rather than compete with you for customers. – Greg Kihlstrom, Cravety
12. Create A Job Description
The most effective way to identify and implement the technology stack is by treating the technology solution as an employee. Start with a detailed job description, interview as if they are filling a salaried position, and give them annual reviews to ensure they are doing what they were hired for. Hold your technology accountable for delivering results the same way you hold your staff accountable. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions