Agencies, technology platforms and customer experiences

Jim Howard
By Jim Howard
May 20, 2014

How do Global F1000 companies connect the dots between themselves, their agencies, and the underlying technology platform used to deliver the ultimate customer experience? It’s a question we get asked often, so I’ve come up with a set of questions to help customers evaluate their options and come to a decision based on their needs and objectives.


The ultimate question is whether the company will use their agency's platform, build one in-house or use an independent platform like Crownpeak. How you make the final decision comes down to your responses to these four simple questions:


1.  What is the nature of your relationship with the agency?

In some cases there is an “agency of record” with a longstanding relationship with the company. These agencies are typically integrated throughout the business and as such can leverage a proprietary, or in-house system. The challenge with in-house systems is the IT maintenance required to manage and maintain them, as well as the speed at which projects and campaigns can be launched.

In some cases, agencies change frequently depending on the nature of the business, vehicle, campaign or project.  In this case, it is beneficial to have a platform that can span multiple agencies while providing the consistency and integration required. Crownpeak is designed to work with Agencies and allow them the freedom and flexibility to launch projects fast, modify layout and templates, while adhering to brand guidelines, security policies and so on.

If it’s likely that you will switch agencies or work with multiple agencies in the future, consider a flexible solution that won’t “put all your eggs in one basket.”

 


2. Do you want to manage the content in-house, now or in the future?

If you have an in-house team who manages content today, or may do so in the future, having a flexible, easy-to-use platform like Crownpeak is in everyone's best interests. Your team benefits by having a system with a great user interface, advanced features like digital asset management, content sharing across projects, a variety of search capabilities, testing and targeting and personalization capabilities all in one single platform. This applies to your agencies as well. 

Propriety or in-house systems tend to be built as a “one-off” projects and require ongoing management and maintenance.  Adding capabilities, upgrading or integrating with 3rd-party systems all add costs, time and resources that you may not have.


3. What is the business objective of the website?

Some web sites are merely informational "brochureware" and don’t have very sophisticated experiences embedded in them. However, more and more websites are designed to directly engage the customer in order to capture leads, generate demand and drive revenue. If your company website falls into the second category, then there is a clear ROI for your web experience management platform.

Websites that are created to acquire new customers, to build a database of customer information, to sell something, or to service/support existing customers require a more sophisticated and systematic approach to managing the overall experience. This type of approach is best served with a flexible platform like Crownpeak which uses a data-driven approach to optimizing the outcomes from all web experiences.

So, what does this mean as far as Agencies are concerned? If your company requires a data-driven website, then you need to carefully consider which platform will best provide you lasting access to customer data. This leads us to my next question...


4. How is customer data integrated into your website experience?

If you have a set of customers or prospects you are looking to market to in a systematic way, and you want to build a rich set of data about those people, then you need to own the data internally. Outsourcing the collection and management of this core asset is a significant business risk. Proprietary systems owned and operated by a 3rd-party agency don’t always have the same level of security and protections required by global enterprise.

The key distinction here is that Crownpeak manages both content and data so that customers can capture behavioral data, usage information and customer profile details as a core business asset to be leveraged across the company. If you have an integrated data strategy, then a platform like Crownpeak will help you deliver relevant content (improve conversions) and relevant media (lower cost/conversion) across every customer interaction - email, social media, web, existing portals, CRM, CSR reps, etc. By ensuring that data is in the hands of your company for future use, you will have more options down the road.

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