This post I’ll start with a short story that marked my understanding of partnerships.
In August 2018 I was invited to a corporate party to one of our clients. It was a Berlin-based web design agency. We provided them with Web Development services and Mobile Apps. While talking to my client, Robin, he told me one interesting thing – “you know, Marcel, my company has only 3 employees, but all these people you see here, are either my clients or partners. I think in the future, there will not exist big web agencies, but rather small, boutiques, focused on a very specific field or segment and then they will strategically partner with other agencies on the market to deliver what their client needs.” And he had a point, no doubt.
Even if on the web industry we can find tough & creative competition between web agencies, a good and reliable strategy has proved to be a partnership established between web design agencies, web development agencies, marketing & media agencies and, even between SEO agencies, animation studios, video or photo production. What’s the aim, and what’s the gain – Mobiteam’s marketing team found out and are sharing in the article below:
Before all, we must agree that all the partnerships, in any field are often established to:
- Overcome competition together,
- Increase the revenues by not rejecting a client and,
- Provide a better service than your company could provide
- Maximize your revenues by lowering the execution costs
As well, there are short term partnerships and long term partnerships that are determined by a target, predefined time agreement, project & project types, and multilateral collaboration – these are the most important ones, but there are many other types.
Between web agencies, each type of partnership aims for its own result and has a different outcome. What we observed since 2014, there are 3 types of win-win partnerships that, if built and set correctly, will have a successful outcome:
- A partnership between two or more small web agencies is established to overcome one or more big competitors and to attract more clients together. This type of partnership between web agencies will have a positive outcome with two conditions:
- To set a long term collaboration with precise targets
- To reach a non-competition agreement between them on all web activities each one provides.
If these rules are followed, then web agencies have all the chances to become market ice-breakers and be a threatening competition for big web agencies on the market. Also, one of the possible results, in the long run, is to have these small web agencies fuse and transform into a bigger power under one roof. We can call that a Merge and Acquisition process.
- A partnership between two or more small & medium web agencies can make a success story if both are interested more in high quality and capacity work, than in challenging the market via marketing strategies. It’s the perfect solution for medium web agencies, that are overloaded with projects, to pass some of them to the smaller partners. This way, the positive outcome is for both: Medium agency gets all the projects delivered on time and gains over time a good and competitive reputation, while the small agency gets the experience and financial resources from the executed projects, for investment in agency development.
I will mention one important thing that we’ve observed while working – a smaller agency, when partnering with you, will do their best and at times work on loss, just for the sake to prove that they are serious, professional and can deliver what they committed to, for the obvious reasons – to get the trust and another project onboard asap.
On the long run, this type of collaboration increases the chances for all web agencies involved in the partnership to grow bigger and finally challenge the market to recognize them as real competitors.
- A partnership between two or more medium web agencies can be very productive if all involved parties agree on multilateral collaboration and, as in the case of small agencies, agree upon non-competition fields for the entire duration of the partnership. One thing that needs to be mentioned is – the more fields the partnership covers (e.g. web design, web development, marketing, media, SEO) – the better. The reason is simple – a client is happier when working with one contact person, or one company, that provides everything from A to Z, instead of jumping from one office to another, to try to merge them, to cooperate, to synchronize. You can imagine the pain and hassle.
If possible, a partnership on all web industry fields is the best for everyone. This will provide multilateral development of web agencies involved in the partnership and will cover the market more uniformly
On the other hand, the problem in this type of partnership will probably be, on who the traction power falls? As most of the web agencies are medium-sized and have their pride, all will claim the leadership of the partnership. In this case, a consensus must be reached and to take a fair decision for everyone, setting the pride apart, or, as an alternative to equally distribute the power between all members.
From our own experience, there are clients that subcontract us for specific projects for their clients. Some of them keep that fully transparent. The communication with the end client is done between 2 agencies, ours and my client’s. The end client is aware and the game is fully transparent and quick. Other clients of ours, will ask for an NDA agreement first, and then, we will work under a 100% white label solution. Which means that the end client doesn’t know we are Mobiteam, a subcontracted company to deliver a project on the behalf of another company. Our team and I will act as my client’s employees and never disclose the partnership. We are fine with both ways. The more you work with these options, the easier to adapt, cooperate and deliver. To give it a try, I don’t remember even 1 unsatisfied client in the last 3 years.
We did not mention partnerships between big, medium and small web agencies, as it may provide different outcomes and not all of them are successful. Based on different interests, there are multiple disadvantages in such types of collaborations, and most of the times small and medium agencies may suffer severe losses from common projects with big agencies.
However, the most important type of partnership not only in the web industry but for all businesses is the one between the company and its employees. Based on our experience, hiring highly-qualified people comes second after team-oriented specialists that can easily adapt to different working environments that may vary from project to project and client to client. In these regards, as a good example, for instance, Oriel Partners from the UK are a helping hand to both companies and professionals that are looking for each other’s services.
Even though our researches display such results, it doesn’t mean that fruitful collaboration between big web agencies and smaller ones are not possible. Mobiteam encourages all types of fair partnerships in the web industry and facilitates partnership establishment process via our own engagement in such activities that proved to bring resultative projects.
We think that it’s necessary to mention that, no matter what type (web design, development, SEO, marketing, video or photo production), size doesn’t always count, as a top web design agency doesn’t necessarily have to be a big web agency.
If while reading these thoughts you found yourself in this story, it means that you are either a client or an agency. Now you know where to write the next time for your new project. Contact us for a free quote, consulting and we will help you with pleasure to bring the project to the market.
Greetings from Berlin,