Supposedly, Charles H. Duell, commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office in 1899, proposed closing the office because it was no longer needed. That is, the inventions of the time were the end-all—unsurpassable and capable of doing everything ever needed from that point forward. Nothing more could possibly be required nor created.
—Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Patent Office, 1899.
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
Of course, that’s folklore. Duell didn’t really say that.
Legal types would describe the quasi-quote as “apocryphal”—coming from dubious means, with only its retelling giving it credence.
No sane person would think it true, especially one directing the patent office, which at the time averaged hundreds of patent applications and grants each day… that’s tens of thousands per year (and with 60 years of exponential growth previous to that).
No marketing agency would ever suggest that itself was the end-all, either… with every answer under the sun, every inventive little capability under one roof. To never pursue change.
Quite the opposite. The real money is not in trying to be everything to everybody, but in niching down and specializing. Always developing new intellectual property that competitors do not have. Maybe it’s a new strategy related to consumer brands, or a strategy related to manufacturing and distribution channels, or NGOs in the green space, or ecommerce targeted at millennial moms… and the list goes on.
That’s how agencies build their capabilities, build their core personnel, build their reputation.
How they build trust. With clients and even within industry peer groups.
In fact, for the types of marketing agencies that are segmented as “Thought Leaders” in the 2022 Agency Audit survey, 90 percent report a strong niche that sets them apart from their competitors.
Thought-leader agencies focus on strategy and the intellectual offerings that they do best. Then, for things such as commoditized, production-related services that demand more in the way of “labor” or “distraction”—paid-media production is one example—partners can fill gaps. Let the partners produce the commodities.
Partnering is Common
MORE THAN 80%of agencies engage partners to work BEYOND their scope and capacity*
ONLY 5%of agencies said clients would NOT approve of partnerships*
ABOUT 3/4thsof agencies WHITE LABEL outsource partners under their own brand*
Web development is similar to the paid-media example. Web-dev is a complex production process that takes a lot of time, a lot of specialization and a lot of personnel. Doing it right can make an agency appear brilliant. Doing it wrong, well, the opposite.
But it is also a production commodity. So, those technical capabilities are often supplemented at an agency with a variety of freelancers over time or one contract vendor after another.
That is, it’s expensive to have all of that capability and capacity under one roof, so it gets jobbed out.
Web-dev Team Salary = $520,875 Per Year
The salary of one full-time, in-house web-dev team for just one year equals $520,875 on average (consisting of one each: UX/UI Designer, Front End Developer, Sr. WordPress Developer, QA Specialist, Systems Administrator, Digital Marketing Specialist)†. Note, that’s just one of each.
On the other hand, outsourcing with a dependable partner brings all of those skills… multiplied by as many specialists as needed. All at a variable, transparent, pass-along cost. No hassles nor fixed costs related to hiring and firing. No guessing at how many of this skill set or that skill set are needed. No salaries. No benefits. No problems related to an ever-changing cast of miscellaneous contractors and characters.
Strategic Agencies Beget Strategic Partners
Everything in web development has certainly not been invented yet—digital transformation is a term that will always hinge on the word transformation. That’s why shortcutting a website project due to limited capabilities today (or limited foresight) simply creates technical debt for tomorrow. Something that has to be completely redone at a later date. Something that doesn’t make clients happy.
Whereas using an expert partner can create scalable website solutions that deliver ongoing ROI. Sites that can be forecast for today as well as for the future. And—over time—adding more visual engagement, more interaction, more customized tools. More ways to generate revenue for all parties and make everyone happy long term.
Being able to have that level of confidence in each other develops trust.
The same way a client relies on the niche strategies that its agency offers, agencies can in turn depend on its outsource partner to deliver the same. Trust unites all three—client, agency, partner—to achieve the next big thing together.
*The 2022 Agency Audit survey and research results..