Should PR agencies develop technology? Have a CTO?Posted: January 14, 2011
PR agencies have been people businesses for as long as I can remember. Yet the emergence of digital has created the opportunity for these same agencies to start selling ‘technology based solutions’ (an overused phrase I know). These ‘solutions’ cover areas such as analytics, blogs, email marketing, micro site development… the list goes on. Most agencies outsource this development to… developers. This is largely because most agency heads can write a press release or a blog but wouldn’t have a clue about how to write code. Many agencies can see that if they want to get away from an hourly business model they need to sell technology IP and ideally IP that can be resold to many clients without much additional development effort. Again, though, most agencies simply don’t have the skills in house to develop the technology, or even the skills to effectively manage the development of technology. In other words, if agencies really do want to sell ‘technology solutions’ they are going to have to start hiring developers AND people capable of managing these people. If this happens the idea of a PR agency have a CTO (chief technology officer) that is client facing will become commonplace. Does your agency have a CTO? Should it?