Why Agencies buy Scout Labs

New Commentator

Jenny, the CEO of Scout Labs, and I first met while working at an agency (er- it was called marchFIRST), and it was from an agency (Razorfish) that Jenny lured me when she started Scout Labs.


So many of the things I wanted to do for my clients I could not efficiently execute, due to lack of tools in market. As a former agency strategist, I have a special affinity for Scout Labs’ agency customers and the use cases they have for our platform. Here are some of the reasons agencies give me for needing a social listening platform: 


    1. We need to know what is happening with the client’s brand to be effective strategists. Agencies’ stock in trade, especially digital agencies and high end marketing agencies, is that they are better placed than their clients to anticipate trends and craft breakthrough marketing strategies because they have the benefit of cross-company and cross-brand experience. It isn’t possible to maintain that positioning if the account team isn’t up to speed on what’s happening with the client’s brand on Twitter and YouTube, much less their competitors’ brands.



    1. We are monitoring a particular campaign. Agencies are often responsible for the design, execution and tracking of marketing campaigns. As the power of social media to reach consumers grows, agencies are more and more interested in tracking campaign performance in this channel- or even in defining campaign success by social media criteria. After all, if your big campaign idea is to let a consumer shoot your Superbowl ad, you might want to know how many people saw it, if the people who saw it liked it, and if so, why. Forwarding around a couple of Google Alerts is just not going to cut it.



    1. We are engaged in a social media listening program on behalf of a client. More and more of the agencies I talk to- PR, traditional, digital, media only, creative, branding, SEM, etc- are engaged in retained listening programs on behalf of their clients. These range from pay per tweet to ad hoc studies delivered in PPT for $5-50K to inclusion of social media data in traditional brand health measures for $20K+ to outsourcing response to Twitter and blog mentions and so forth for $100K+ month.


In almost every case, the agencies that we talk to decide that they need to standardize on a single platform that can provide the backbone of their monitoring and measurement program. They may do some additional work to add proprietary or other data, or to produce custom analyses, but there is usually a core content aggregation, analysis, and metrics platform that the agency team can build on.

    1. We need a common digital dashboard/ application to share across the company and the agency. A really good agency is often deeply embedded in a client organization, more like an extra arm of the clients’ organization than a “vendor” to it. It’s essential for the holistic team to be able to share a single app for content, analysis, and response.


    1. We needed a tool for our own internal research and business development. Sometimes the agency just need to look really smart in a pitch, or to engage in a little research that the client isn’t exactly paying for- yet. Sometimes the agency is in the business of market research, creative development, or even product development- all of which are morphing to account for the rise of social media.



Of course none of those reasons is totally unique to Scout Labs, nor is Scout Labs the only solution in market. I see agencies using everything from free tools like Google Alerts to other agencies to help them address these use cases. Here are some of the reasons I see agencies embracing Scout Labs:

    1. Easy to use for the whole team. We get consistent feedback that Scout Labs is the easiest, most intuitive, user friendly application out there, for newbies and veterans. If you’re trying to drive social media awareness throughout a Fortune 1000, you need an application that the masses can use. A lone specialist does not organizational change create.


    1. Ad hoc search. None of this advance commitment to a lone word or phrase- “Neutrogena”- and only that word, for which data begins accumulating when you contract for it. Agencies not only need data now, they need some trend on it- and who wants to wait 6 months for 6 months back data? And what if that initial scan turns up issues around self-tanning or an ingredient like pomegranate? Agencies need to see trends and data on those, too.



    1. Real time market intelligence. People are flabbergasted at how fast it is get data across across all social media channels. Especially people who have used other platforms that have a lag to their data collection. Being able to not just retrieve the data fast, but get speedy analysis of it- frequent words, back sentiment, 6 month graphs- likewise gratifies the time starved agency strategist.



    1. Saved items, graphs, and exports. So your deliverable needs to be on the agency PPT template/ HTML email/ Flash presentation. We understand. Scout Labs make it easy to do things like export graph data so you can make the line in the graph your client’s exact brand color, or add your client’s logo and your agency’s logo to the application header.



    1. ROI! Having relatively low price points and plans with unlimited users makes this the biggest no-brainer purchase of the year. Go check out prices and see. With Scout Labs you get the productivity boost of a dozen interns for the cost of less than one, just on the content aggregation side- before you even get into metrics and insight from our NLP driven features that no intern is going to provide.



This isn’t a complete list of either use cases or reasons to choose Scout Labs, but it’s getting to be a long post. I’m always open to hearing from agencies about what they need to be more effective on behalf of their clients. Please share it- you might get pleasantly surprised by what we have in development for you.


Previously posted on on Feb 23, 2010