How to Effectively Evaluate Prospective Interactive Partners

Guest post authored by Bill Kiefaber, senior vice president at Fahlgren.

In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to partner with trusted advisors that can support your accounting, legal, marketing and interactive initiatives. The Web is the #1 resource for individuals researching locations for capital investment and the explosion of social media is only intensifying the need to develop and implement a comprehensive interactive marketing program.

But how do you find the right interactive partner to fit your unique needs? Here are six potential factors to consider when evaluating an interactive company.

  1. Be Mindful that Interactive Marketing is one Component of your Overall Marketing Mix
    It is important to remember that while social media, motion graphics, custom event registration/payment solutions and technology are all the rage, achieving your business goals and objectives are the key to building long-term and sustainable growth. Interactive marketing is just one communication channel to use in telling your story and creating a dialogue with your key audiences that leads to a positive brand experience. Therefore, it is critical that you select a partner that focuses on delighting your key audiences, which will help contribute to your success and lead to a long-term and beneficial relationship with you partner.
  2. Identify Specialists in Serving the Economic Development or “Place” Community
    The experience and knowledge gained in working with other similar locations or organizations is critical and should be leveraged during your partnership. Request references to gain a better perspective on experience, responsiveness and serving as a strategic partner.
  3. Seek Partners that can Provide Custom Solutions
    Many interactive firms create and employ technical solutions that require their clients to fit into a “box” based on the technical limitations of the tool(s). Do not let technology drive the solution proposed, but rather use your unique goals, objectives and requirements to define the technical solution. This approach ensures that the solution(s) implemented will be successful.
  4. Strategic Marketing Expertise is Key
    Every interactive project should be approached individually and should be an integral part of your overall marketing program. Your partner should create a customized strategic interactive plan based on your unique goals and objectives. In addition to your Web site strategy, the plan could include (but in no way is limited to) the following:
    a. Search engine optimization program – beginning with an organic approach through the content on the site and then evolving as necessary after three to six months of evaluation.
    b. HTML e-mail program to build awareness and drive traffic to your site.
    c. Linking program with key resources to enhance the page ranking for the site.
  5. Proven Approach
    Search for partners that have a proven process or approach. Client review, input and feedback sessions should be planned activities across all phases of your projects to ensure that you and your partner are collaborating, sharing insights and determining best courses of action together. At Fahlgren we divide our work process into five distinct phases: Initiation, Definition, Architecture, Implementation and Evolution.
  6. Dedication to Client Satisfaction
    Many companies say they are committed to 100% client satisfaction, but not all of them deliver. Your partner should serve as an extension of your team and be completely committed to delighting you each and every day. Look for organizations that have long-term partnerships and have glowing “fans”.
  7. Begin the search for your “perfect” interactive partner today.

    For more information on how to effectively evaluate prospective interactive partners, please contact Bill Kiefaber.

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3 Comments so far

  1. Todd Sebastian

    October 17, 2009

    Great perspective and advice. Thanks for sharing.

    I could not agree more strongly with #3. Custom, client-centric solutions are key to success. Agencies cannot simply sell the “off-the-rack” solutions they have developed in a vacuum. They need to truly understand their clients’ needs, develop client-centric strategies, then tailored solutions to address those strategies.

  2. Pooky Amsterdam

    October 18, 2009

    This is a great article because it focuses on something that is So important, effective customer integration and client satisfaction. What is important is being able to help client understand long range benefits to any interactive strategy they undertake. Social media is hot today yet our clients need us to guide them with planning that extends beyond the Now.
    Creating a solid brand presence that “delights the key audience” means understanding how to leverage technology into the future of their companies’ lives.
    A solid future is in 3D immersive web applications.
    Using Second Life as a media platform as the award winning PookyMedia does means solid engagement. Time is the new currency. Developing a brand presence and community on Second Life which can be used for video, conferences, product development, networking and more means your key audience will be spending time with your brand.
    Please read this article on 5 reasons to use Second Life as a media platform. We are professionals with a great deal of experience. When you are ready to investigate this next critical step in immersive Social interaction, please call. Thank you.
    http://www.pookyamsterdam.com/2009/07/5-reasons-to-use-second-life-as-media.html

  3. Brian Siegel

    November 6, 2009

    Great points Ed!

    don’t forget #7

    7. Be innovative, energetic, relationship driven, and seek to make positive impact!

    ps I already feel “Brand America” is improving it’s consumer connectivity! Great work bud!

    B

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