Aligning your Top Priority: Partner over a Task Taker

Alex Matjanec CEO


A Funny Thing Happens

Near the end of 2016, before AD:60 became a stand-alone company, one of our largest clients threatened to put us in review. After four strong years, they had had enough and were ready to walk.

The reason was clear: we didn’t treat them as a partner. Instead, we did our tasks and when things were late (from both sides) we just extended the timeline. We didn’t voice our concern that dates would be missed. We didn’t hunker down and push hard to over deliver. To sum it up: we didn’t treat their business as if it was our business. But once the message was sent, we did what was needed and the project was successfully launched. I’m proud to say we are working hard with this partner to create new and immersive digital touch points that I can’t wait to share later this year.

Today, when asked what separates AD:60 from other agencies, the response is easy, “Our true vision is disproportionately aligned with our clients, because we want to become our clients.” It comes from being an agency built out of product environment.

With a goal to build and rewire how an agency thinks and acts, quickly notice many of our counterparts act as “Task Takers”, caring more about keeping their monthly retainer and winning awards, than building an actual business or in this case helping their partners build theirs as a measurement of success.

In a market that has been strong for eight years, this mentality and approach will usually suffice, because in the end if everyone is making money, why ruffle feathers? But even in a strong market, clients (read: anyone) would prefer to work with someone whose mentality of being a partner was the top priority.

AD:60’s Partner Philosophy

A heads up to agencies out there, the leads crossing my desk have been mostly driven by frustration and lack of strategy vs. output.

“How much do we need to have fleshed out before we can work with you? How many clients does your team work on at one time? How do you structure the work itself” are questions I get all the time. I thought it would be helpful to share the key points that has resonated with our partners.

A philosophy, built around a high-touch strategy, that has three primary objectives:

  1. 1. A Seat at the Table. Having a seat at the table allows us to be strategic, consultative and included in the decision making. It allows us to ask the right questions upfront, getting to the WHY and not just the HOW. Delivering on what was asked isn’t the goal. Delivering on what is needed to grow a business however, is.
  2. Think Features Last. Take a step back. Look at the whole picture. Features are part of a solution, not the solution itself. A solution focused methodology thinks beyond the “cool factor.” It thinks in terms of what problems a product will solve, how will it be used, who will use it and finally how can we get from concept to delivery which is a solution with successful features.
  3. Simple, but Iterative. Efficiency is key, but not at the expense of the client. A true partner optimizes the efforts of both sides by listening, learning, growing and collaborating constantly. That means that new discoveries will occur during the process, and what will get us to the final product. Being invested in the success and setting up an approach to adapt to the pivots make the work exciting and fun.

Hi! I’m Alex, a seven-year veteran entrepreneur who has recently become a first time CEO. I’ve made it my goal in 2017 to share my experiences in this new role. I look forward to your feedback and sharing this experience with you.

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