Everything Sounds the Same, How do I Choose?

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Leading a company focused on innovation leads me to a lot of technology companies. I sit through several demo days throughout the year. I attend the top conferences, and I get asked for my opinion by VC’s and business leaders on all kinds of Marketing and eCommerce technology. After a while, they all start to sound the same to me. Layer in a barrage of emails and LinkedIn messages from people claiming that their company’s tech can save me more or increase my ROAS. All this without even knowing what my ROAS is. Can you relate to this?

In my 27 years working in this industry, I have noticed two things when it comes to tech evaluation. I realize this is a broad statement and doesn’t apply to everyone so please don’t get defensive.

  1. Brands don’t effectively RFP, if they RFP at all.
  2. Agencies RFP but the questions aren’t on point and insufficient time is alloted to the process (I assume due to circumstances outside their control).

What I do know is that technology companies just want a fair shot at winning business. The competition is good for all facets of our industry but when an RFP process doesn’t occur or it’s inefficient, no one benefits because bad decisions will be made. At Cogent, we wanted to find a way to make the tech evaluation process good for all sides of the business. Good sales people will tell you if they can’t meet your requirements, because if they don’t and they fail, it’s their reputation.

I am not going to speak in terms of agency vs. brand because at the end of the process, it’s all about the brand. We are all here serving the brands. Brand leaders (and their agency representatives) need to fully understand the similarities and differences between tech companies competing for their business. Yes, you have to like the sales people you work with but if you select a company simply because you like the sales person or because they treated you well and not because they were the best solution, it will come back to bite you. There are serious repercussions to selecting the wrong partner:

  • Failed Implementations
  • Loss of Revenue
  • Mis-directed Resources
  • Misuse of Funds
  • Loss of Market Share
  • Additional Funds Needed to Fix Mistakes
  • Loss of Client (if you are the agency making decisions)
  • Damaged Reputations
  • and so on and on the list goes

The point is, brands and agencies need a better solution to decision making and the RFP process. They need a way to compare apples to apple, maintain data integrity, and properly document claims in an effort to hold vendors accountable. Seek one out and test until you find one that is right for your business. No matter what you do, it will be better than most.