Clients are increasingly demanding and expect agencies to provide everything, be it brand awareness, social content, digital marketing, employee engagement programmes, you name it! This is where a Strategic Partnership or Alliance (SPA) can make all the difference. Simply identify a like-minded agency with an offering that differs from, yet complements your own, build a partnership that intertwines your services, and thus extend your portfolio.
Starting whole new divisions to provide additional client services can be costly, time-consuming and, if done badly, ineffective. It’s difficult to quickly acquire true expertise in a completely new discipline, so partnering with a complementary agency adds value by creating a total solution. It can even enhance your business development, by enabling a comprehensive response to RFPs that demand multi-channel expertise.
Done well, a strategic partnership or alliance can give your business a mighty step up. It broadens your service offering, provides scope to work with a wider range of clients, gives existing clients a more varied service and provides your business with an additional revenue stream.
Our five golden rules can help to ensure that your first steps along the road to strategic partnerships are in the right direction...
When you undertake a partnership with another business you are giving them access to your clients, whilst also being given access to their clients. In business this is a real leap of faith and trust is implicit. The two-way nature of this set-up helps to provide reassurance for both parties and relies heavily on an open and honest approach.
Any form of alliance demands that your chosen partner shares your core values and work ethic. It’s important to check that processes and policies tie in to ensure smooth running, and the personality fit has to be right too. It’s not just for day to day interaction, but from a client point of view; clients buy in to agency personality, so like-mindedness is vital for a happy ending.
It’s important to ensure a two-way deal, with no one party providing the lion’s share. A disproportionate scenario leads to inevitable resentment and a relationship breakdown, so equal responsibility must be firmly established from the outset. This is, of course, true of financial arrangements, but beyond this, a considered and balanced framework will build trust and confidence when referring your partner to your clients.
Managing expectations is crucial. Both parties need to know exactly where they stand, how much they need to put in, and exactly what they are set to gain from any alliance. Working together as a team requires transparency, with realistic expectations agreed from the beginning. This makes the end goal not only more achievable, but also more satisfying, as both parties know their roles and requirements to get there together.
Frequent contact between partners is obviously important, without going overboard. Neither party should feel the need to micromanage the other, but both should expect to be kept up to date. Regular updates keep things moving, keep clients informed, and facilitate synchronicity, which makes for a healthy, functional partnership.
Overall, carefully planned and well-constructed strategic partnerships and alliances will improve services to your end-users and benefit your own business. For you the perks include additional revenue streams, improved service offerings without financial investment, increased pitch-winning opportunities and stronger client relationships. For your clients, access to additional services and expertise from a trusted supplier, communications are channelled through a single source, deployment is quick and delivery times are shortened, simplifying and reducing management time.
So rather than spending hours trying to come up with a non-core solution, why don’t you relax and enjoy the benefits of a SPA.
To find out more about SPA contact Nicholas Dean
t: +44 (0)1789 404040
m: +44 (0)7734 683270