4 tips on how to choose the right third-party analytics vendor for your growing business
In an increasingly tech-driven world, companies looking to remain competitive need to become proficient at analyzing data and implementing new solutions and decisions derived from this analysis. Data has become a key asset for businesses nowadays, cementing itself as a crucial factor for an organization’s development and impacting multiple aspects of a company’s operations—from performance management, product management, maximizing customer value, cost reduction, to advertising optimization and so much more.
Given the sheer volume of data an organization typically gathers and has to process on an ongoing basis, analysis work is often outsourced to third-party vendors. A specialized analytics service can help an organization make the most of its data and significantly improve its decision-making process for enhanced productivity and higher returns.
But not all analytics vendors are created equal. With so many options available, how can a company find the right analytics service for its needs? These entrepreneurs from Ad Age Collective offer their best tips on what to do when looking for an analytics firm to ensure you’re getting maximum value at an optimal price.
Pick a vendor that goes beyond the data.
Making sure the services provided have real value is one of the most important things to do when picking an analytics vendor. This means carefully reviewing a vendor’s offering to understand exactly what hiring them would entail.
As the co-founder and CEO of Cortex, an experienced marketing artificial intelligence software provider, Brennan White is aware of how time-consuming analyzing raw data is and how important it is for a business to find a vendor who can truly help with that task. “Most creative teams are not set up to ingest and capture the value in large data sets,” White explains. “Find a vendor who not only provides you access to the data, but also delivers some of the value from that data as part of the offering. That way, you're not buying a raw material that still requires a ton of work; you're buying the finished product.”
Focus on core, actionable metrics.
Another crucial element when trying to find the right analytics vendor is making sure they can offer tracking and measurement for key metrics that are relevant for your company and industry. “It's easy to get lost in all of the possibilities of metrics and tracking, but it's important to focus on a few core metrics that are actionable for your specific business,” says Chris Brisson, CEO of Salesmsg, a two-way business texting service recognized for its scalability and ease of use.
Once a company understands what metrics it needs to track, it can find the best analytics vendor for its needs by making sure these measurements are included in their offering. “Using tools like Google Analytics is a great start, but if you need to track funnels, events and deeper insights into your app, then Mixpanel is a great option,” Brisson advises.
Set parameters for reaching your best buyers.
For companies such as Infutor, an innovative provider of consumer identity management solutions, it is of crucial importance to set clear parameters for the data analytics process and then make sure the vendor you work with can perform within those parameters.
According to president and CEO Gary Walter, this kind of relationship is attainable only if all sides are committed to transparency and working toward clear goals. “While the basic rules of honesty, transparency and 'try before you buy' apply to partnering with any vendor, partnering with an analytics vendor requires setting forth your own short-term and long-term sales and marketing goals,” Walter argues. “It’s critical to ask where the vendor gets their data from and how they treat deterministic and probabilistic data.”
Look for a good therapist.
Last but not least, companies looking for data analytics vendors should take a good look at their terms of service and compensation policies to ensure they will not be asked to pay for inactionable information, believes Jerrid Grimm, co-founder of comprehensive content marketing solution provider Pressboard.
“The right third-party vendor is like a good therapist. They tell you what you need to know, but since they don't have any skin in the game, they aim to stay neutral and not take sides.” Grimm says. “When choosing an analytics vendor, make sure that they're not compensated based on providing positive results, but instead on accurate results.”