Strategic Partnerships


In today’s fast-paced business environment, strategic partnerships have become a popular way for companies to gain a competitive edge. For marketing agencies, in particular, strategic partnerships can offer several advantages that help them deliver better services to their clients, streamline operations, and drive business growth. In this article, we’ll explore the importance and benefits of strategic partnerships for marketing agencies such as ourselves, that work with third-party providers.

What Even is a Strategic Partnership?

A strategic partnership is a business relationship between two or more organisations that agree to work together for a common goal. Strategic partners typically have complementary capabilities and resources that they leverage to create value for both parties. Unlike a transactional vendor relationship, a strategic partnership is a long-term commitment that requires mutual trust, open communication, and shared goals.

In the case of Invoke Media, we work closely with like-minded partner businesses to expand our service offering and deliver consistent quality to our clients. All of our strategic partners are based locally to the North West (most of them in and around Preston) and we have worked with them in a professional capacity for a number of years, so can vouch for their reliability, character, work ethic and quality of work.

Why are Strategic Partnerships Important for Marketing Agencies?

Marketing agencies that work with third-party providers can benefit greatly from strategic partnerships. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Increased Efficiency

By partnering with a third-party provider, a marketing agency can access specialised expertise and resources that it may not have in-house. This can help the agency deliver better services to its clients, while also freeing up internal resources to focus on other areas of the business.

2. Expanded Service Offerings

Strategic partnerships can also help marketing agencies expand their service offerings without having to invest in new capabilities. For example, a marketing agency that specialises in social media marketing may partner with a video production company to offer clients a full range of digital marketing services.

Invoke Media for example, partners with a graphic designer, developer, videographer and photographer. All of these providers are experts in their field, but would not always be required on each project we work on, or by every client we work with.

3. Competitive Advantage

Strategic partnerships can give marketing agencies a competitive advantage by providing access to resources and expertise that their competitors may not have. This can help the agency win new business and retain existing clients.

4. Lower Cost

As previously mentioned, we may not need a graphic designer or developer on every project. By employing these in-house and full-time, our overheads are significantly increased. By working with trusted strategic partners, we are able to deliver the same effect at reduced costs, which can then be passed on to our clients. This approach means each project can be ‘built’ in a bespoke way, adding on the services and expertise that is required for that individual project, rather than incorporating costs for assets which are not required by that client.

Challenges and Considerations for Strategic Partnerships

While strategic partnerships offer many benefits, there are also potential challenges to consider. Here are a few tips for managing these challenges:

1. Conflicts of Interest

It is important to be aware of potential conflicts of interest. When we work with strategic partners, we put in place clear boundaries and guidelines for how we will work together and operate. It is crucially important that there is trust between partners, and equally as important that there is integrity on both sides. If there is a conflict of interest with a particular client, we will use an alternative trusted provider.

2. Capacity & Timescales

One of the benefits of having an all in-house team is that the marketing agency can manage their time and workloads. When you work with a third-party provider you loose this benefit, as they may be working with other agencies or clients who put additional demands on their time.

To mitigate this, we have clear and open lines of communication and always hold each other accountable at the earliest stages by setting mutually agreed deadlines and timescales, and having the integrity to speak up when the odd inevitable issue affects the timeline.

We always have multiple trusted and local providers to share the workload, make sure the best person is put to task and ensure there is continuity in our projects and output.

3. Changes in Business Priorities

As businesses evolve, priorities can shift. We are always prepared to adapt and adjust the partnership as needed, and wherever it is ultimately necessary, have a grown up conversation about ending it if required.

When it comes to the quality of work we provide for our clients, no one, no matter how long we have worked with them or know them personally, gets a free meal ticket.

4. Accountability

We only work with local (North West of England) trusted providers who we have not only worked with professionally, but know personally. We informally call it our ‘whites of eyes’ policy. We will only work with people who we can hold to account and if necessary, be able to go and knock on their front door and look in the whites of their eyes. We have never had a problem and we don’t expect to do so, but this adds an extra layer of accountability that you just don’t get with outsourcing to someone on another continent (unless you like long distance travel!).

5. Data Security

When you work with us, we will both sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and Data Sharing Agreement. This is between your business and Invoke Media. But what about third parties who sit outside of our organisation?

See the above point about accountability. Whilst we think knowing someone and being able to hold them to account is enough, your solicitor may not. That is why every provider we work with has also signed a Non-Disclosure and Data Sharing Agreement (with Invoke and your business as their client).


In today’s competitive business environment, strategic partnerships are a valuable tool for marketing agencies that work with third-party providers. By establishing long-term relationships with complementary partners, marketing agencies can gain access to specialised expertise and resources, expand their service offerings, and gain a competitive advantage. By following best practices for establishing and managing strategic partnerships marketing agencies can reap the benefits of these partnerships and drive business growth. Ultimately, strategic partnerships can help marketing agencies deliver better services to clients and achieve their business goals.

They are valuable assets that benefit both the agency and provider, but most crucially, the client.

Jack Barron, Director

Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. As Director of Invoke Media, he is responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of every campaign, getting stuck into the execution of successful at every opportunity.

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