Masterclassing Connect: Top things to consider when choosing your digital partner

The lines are more blurred than ever when it comes to separating martech agencies and technology vendors. Most agencies are digital throughout, and not only from a strategy standpoint – they are building platforms and developing their own IP with technology solutions. Meanwhile, the technology vendors are no longer a simple commodity – in many instances, they are strategic partners. In fact, the monetisation models are blurring as tech platforms are often sold as monthly recurring revenue on a Software as a Service basis – not a million miles away from a retained relationship that’s being replaced by one-off project fees for agencies. Tech vendors and agencies are closer than ever before.

Although, one way in which they still seem to differ is the new business approach. Agencies are very proactive in content marketing and profile building but still often reactive, as in, they are problem-solvers and work on the back of a brief (and usually a budget…you would hope). And there are many established intermediaries that manage that process from brief to RFP to Pitch and selection. Because it’s a complex process and there are probably not many brand marketers that have the time to manage it.

But tech still seems stuck in the commodity pool when it comes to new business. It’s usually more proactive in selling in the services, as opposed to reacting to a brief or a problem. It has to be, since there are not the many established intermediaries that connect brands with agencies, to help those same brands to find the right tech vendors and platforms.

During research we carried out during the development of our Masterclassing Connect service, which aims to fill this gap, the feedback we heard was that brands are being more proactive in searching for “problem-solvers” and “strategic partners” in tech, but they tend to rely on Google and peer referrals for recommendations. We believe that as these two worlds become closer and closer and merge in many ways, there’s a need for that intermediary service for marketing technology to match-make the marriage, because it’s complex and very time consuming. The relationship with a tech vendor needs to be seen as more of a partnership than a commodity buy.

This is the problem we are setting out to solve with Connect: helping brands to navigate their way through the incredibly complex and fragmented martech landscape. Because whatever martech category you choose, whether it’s search, social, attribution or mobile, there are countless skills and specialisms within each. That mobile platform built for user acquisition, for example, may be totally unsuited to running a retention and loyalty program.

At the same time, and for the same reason, we want to help vendors to find those brands who need their help the most because of the challenges they are trying to solve, or the new path they are trying to forge, at any given time.

We don’t think the task we’ve set ourselves with Connect is a simple one. It’s a complex landscape out there, and we realise that when a brand turns to us for help in choosing a partner, they expect the companies we recommend to tick all the boxes they need ticking. But we believe that with the experience we have gained from running Masterclass events for the past 10 years, and covering the digital marketing landscape on for the past 15 years, we have the experience, the knowledge and the contacts, to take the pain out of finding the right tech partners for brands to work with.

To find out more about how Connect can help you find the right tech partner to work with, email to get the ball rolling.

With special thanks to:

John Owen - Masterclassing
John Owen