Your marketing team has put forward a proposal that you need to invest in a social media management (and compliance) platform, but what are the questions you need to ask to be confident the budget you have been given is the cost you will actually incur.
One short spell on the internet will see you baffled by offers, introductory prices and special rates, many of which will seem much lower than the proposal on your desk. However, to get the true price you need to look carefully at what the proposal includes.
1. Be clear about what the upfront cost includes?
Does the recommended product have full visibility around the initial outlay? Many systems will include an installation cost but do they include training? If training is included is it face-to-face or web-based? This will allow you to assess if the training will fulfill your needs and reassure you that you will not face further costs associated with training your staff so they are fully able to use the new system.
On-going support costs should also be considered. Will you face a service charge for on-going support or is it all included in the contract? Although higher initially you may find the fully inclusive costs works out best for your business and also for your financial management as you will be aware of what costs you face and thus avoid any nasty surprises you have not budgeted for.
2. How is the contract structured?
Is the fee an annual or monthly one? It may be better for working capital that it is a monthly fee rather than a large one-off payment. There will be some cross over between IT and Marketing so for internal budgeting it may be a decision as to how the costs are apportioned. If dealt with upfront the Finance Director will not then be the adjudicator between IT and Marketing when the costs come in.
Another thing to be aware of is to ensure the responsibility for reviewing and renewing the contract is decided at the outset. This will ensure you are aware of the renewal date and can include the cost in next year’s
3. Is the recommended system compatible with existing IT?
The pace of development of operating systems and software means that some browsers are no longer supported by some systems. It is essential for Marketing and IT to “speak” to each other to ensure the systems are compatible and can run alongside each other smoothly. If not, you could be faced with a big bill to purchase new IT in order to run the product successfully.
The key piece of advice is to make sure your board members have covered all the bases. If you do so then you will gain maximum benefit from your new investment. This will enable you to manage the risks, be compliant and at the same time provide you with efficiency savings that will impact on the bottom line. Greater use of social media makes both marketing and customer service delivery more efficient and at the same time gives you greater control and if the price is right your business will be the winner.
As the UK’s leading Social Media Risk Management platform, we make a price promise to our customers to be transparent and offer an inclusive fixed fee package so that you don’t get any surprises.