It’s important for you and your organization for one very simple reason: it makes sure you’re getting value for the money you’re allocating to that vendor.
Whatever intelligence you’re receiving to meet strategic objectives - market or competitive; briefings or on-demand research; AI-driven or human-driven - you have every right as a client to have your expectations met, and to be able to relate those expectations on an ongoing basis.
There are two ways to think of the interaction you have with your vendor:
There’s no substitute in the world for developing a rapport with your intelligence vendor.
A positive in-person relationship between you and your vendor makes it easier to communicate efficiently with them - you know yourself that it’s quicker to get a response by phoning or emailing somebody you have a great relationship with.
Vendors have a responsibility to make sure you’re happy; in busy work environments, it can be impractical to meet or call frequently, so vendors should send you a basic client satisfaction survey at regular intervals to see how you’re doing; it’s important that you, as a client, don’t just tick boxes to get it out of the way, but give some thought and honesty to the feedback you provide.
If you’re working in any kind of a business development capacity for your company, you’re already aware of the slew of tools available for monitoring digital engagement.
It should be no surprise that CI and MI vendors who provide their service digitally will use similar tools to check their clients’ engagement. That could include checking to see who’s opened an email, how much a client is accessing the portal with their archived briefings, or even when a client is visiting their website.
Digital metrics aren’t perfect. Vendors can’t know if you’re not clicking on links because you get enough information from headlines and abstracts, so can’t use clicks to measure the value you’re deriving from their service.
Nor can they know if you’re genuinely not opening their emails, or if your email simply doesn’t automatically download images. Fixing this yourself is actually a small way you can communicate your CI/MI value to your vendor, giving them a better ongoing understanding of your use of their service.
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Merrell is ShiftCentral’s content lead. He has more than twenty years’ experience providing strategic planning and policy support to business leaders and senior government officials.