At Mäd, we like to keep things simple, and yet we like to strive to achieve big things for our clients and help them achieve a large ROI (Return On Investment) on the money they spend with us.
To ensure that we can meet this promise, we’ve come up with an unusual engagement model in our industry, but we have found that it serves us and our clients in the best way possible.
Before we get into the details, these are our objectives:
- To deliver high-quality strategic work via our communications, digital, and design services.
- To help our clients win in the long term, and attain or maintain market leader status.
- To ensure that we spend as much time focusing on spinning our Flywheel, and fulfilling its primary goal of a Great Customer Experience.
This leads us to the following conclusions:
- Big, scary, ambitious goals and changes take time and effort. We need to work with a long-term view (measured in months and years) in sight.
- All bureaucracy (anything that detracts us from our client work) is bad, we should strive to minimise the amount of back-office work and non-client facing roles in our organization. The only good roles are those that directly work with clients to ensure we meet their objectives or those that focus on helping our people to work better.
- We need ensure business continuity, so we can help our clients in the long term.
And so, with these conclusions in mind, we have reached the following engagement model:
Long-term retainer contracts, with dedicated team members on the account, paid up-front each quarter.
This is great for everyone involved for the following reasons:
- The client has dedicated people on their project, who, by constant immersion and exposure on the account, actually deliver more value for the same money month after month. There is no design queue at Mäd.
- We build meaningful relationships with our clients, and we tie our success to their success because most of our revenue from a client will always be in the future. This forces us to think in the long term.
- By billing quarterly, we reduce the administrative burden required to run a busy agency, and we don’t waste our client’s hard-earned money on numerous non-client facing staffing. To put this into perspective, less than 3% of our costs are administration or back-office related.
- This model of quarterly upfront billing also ensures that we can run a sustainable growing business, and we can predict with accuracy what our revenues will be in the future, and plan our hiring strategy accordingly. It also ensures that we only work with serious, committed clients who share a long-term view on our collaboration.
On occasion, we will accept smaller work one-off work, if it fits within the following framework:
- It’s highly interesting, or a great opportunity for our staff to learn something new about an industry.
- It’s small low-risk work, where we can have our junior staff “cut their teeth” on the project, with the oversight of one of our senior leaders.
- It will be a great case study, or it’s a well-known brand that we want to be associated with.
- Our current client asks us for something that is outside the scope of our current retainer agreement.
So that’s it, a simple, sustainable business model that makes sense for everyone involved, and ensures our ability to consistently deliver great results.
Sure, it’s unusual, but that’s why we’re Mäd.
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