By Jean Saucier | December 4th, 2020
Media Intelligence – Shifting the paradigm from Vendor to Partner
Traditionally, media intelligence services, or news monitoring and measurement services, have been considered vendors. But, in more recent times, many organizations, companies and agencies are looking for more expertise and consultative services, thus shifting the paradigm from vendor to more of a partner. During my time at Universal Information Services, I have seen this shift become more valuable year over year.
During a pandemic, what does this partnership look like? How does a company focus on keeping current clients happy when budgets and priorities have shifted?
Having been on both the client and vendor side within this industry, I have spent much time thinking about these questions and attempting to answer them. Here are a few thoughts:
- Media intelligence service partners should be proactive and persistent, but not pushy. It’s a fine line keeping communication open in a valuable way versus getting in the way of important business your clients are working on. Reach out, offer information, but don’t expect an immediate answer.
- Be responsive and nimble. If you are able to say yes to a client request – do that! If there is any way that you can be flexible or go above and beyond to assist a client in this stressful time, do so. Clients appreciate a quick response, expertise and willingness to help. That’s part of the reason they work with you in the first place.
- Be consultative with a goal of alleviating pressure. Our clients are feeling pressure every day to perform more effectively – to do more with less staff, less budget and less time. As a media intelligence service provider, it’s our job to offer solutions that will enable our clients to work smarter, not harder. Solutions or ideas don’t have to be complicated. Sometimes something as simple as a short report, hard copy of a print article we know they would like, or a short email about a new service that we feel might help them, can go a long way. It lets the client know we are thinking about them and trying to anticipate their needs.
- Proactively manage accounts. Your vendor partner should be asking themselves how can results be improved? Perhaps there is a new tool, service or feature that might fit a particular client based on key programs or events. Here at Universal, our team meets regularly to discuss ways that we can improve client results. Is the search as tight as it needs to be? Is there additional training that a new client contact could receive?
- From the client end of the partnership, search terms should be reviewed and updated at least once per quarter to ensure that monitoring results reflect the most current programs and goals. This effort may require a bit of time, planning and dedicated follow-up from both sides of the client-vendor relationship, but will be worth that extra effort. A media monitoring partner will prompt their client for this feedback.
Pandemic and Politics
In recent months, much of the U.S. news coverage bandwidth has been taken up by election coverage and the pandemic. This does not leave much room for traditional PR and communication professionals to get their messages out. As media monitoring experts, we work hard to help our clients find opportunities for those openings. We do so with our own experience, expertise and 112 years of history in this business. For instance, we help identify trends we see in media coverage.
We spot immediate trends for the types of news coverage or stories that resonate with the media. For instance, how might a client’s product or service be relevant to COVID-19? Are there solutions that our client might be offering that could be positioned in a more effective way? For this effort we rely heavily on our analysis team to spot trends and provide insights on what the media is currently covering.
Really, it is simple – communicate often to make sure your customer partner knows that they are your most important priority. A client partner should know you are looking after their media needs in many ways. A good media monitoring partner understands that the client needs reassurance and a strong team to support them now more than ever. A true partner goes far beyond the functional aspects of delivering a service, they must become an extended part of your team.