An Adaptive Agency is a Good Agency

Agencies are expected to do more and be more for their clients more than ever. With technology constantly shifting and expanding, there’s a lot of room for agencies to grow and expand. However, hiring in-house for every new capability is expensive, risky, and at a certain point, can be too much to handle. 

That’s where strategic partnerships can be your new superpower. 

By aligning with the right partner agency or white-label provider, you can seamlessly expand your offerings without the overhead of permanent hires. But not just any partner will do — choosing wisely is critical to ensuring a successful, mutually beneficial relationship.

So what should you be looking for? To help us see the bigger picture, we spoke with Brian Gerstner of White Label IQ to share his insights.


Shared Values and Understanding 

First and foremost, values and communication need to be aligned. “You have to have somebody who understands your pain,” Brian advises. Just like you aim to truly understand your clients’ industry and goals, your strategic partner must make the same effort with your agency.

“Outside of the technicalities, do they have the same values as you? Are they communicating well? Are they giving you everything you need to then successfully convey that to your client?”

A partner who doesn’t appreciate the nuances of agency life — the ever-evolving client needs, time crunches, budget constraints, and general controlled chaos — is setting the relationship up to fail from the start. Shared perspectives, priorities, and expectations are critical for a happy and successful strategic partnership.


Two-Way Communication and Trust 

Your strategic partner should not only fully grasp what you and your clients need, but also provide you with proactive updates, education, and collaborative guidance.

“They can be great at what they do, but can they communicate? Can they work with you? Do they have your interests in mind?” asks Brian. “You need that expectation of communication and trust that allows you to sleep better at night.”

After all, your strategic partner is an extension of your own agency. Their work reflects directly on you. If communication is half-baked or they are treating it as a mere transaction, it undermines your ability to provide stellar service to your clients.


A True Partnership Mentality 

The service mindset is key. If you really want the relationships to align with your future goals, it has to be a win-win partnership. A ‘looking for love’ type of relationship, as Brian puts it. 

Your strategic partner should be fully invested in your agency’s success, adapting flexibly to your evolving needs and growth trajectory. They should share responsibility for all parts of the workload — not just throw work over the fence. You’re building long-term efficiencies through collaboration and combined expertise, not just paying a vendor.

Conversely, if a potential partner seems distracted, disinterested in your processes, or has a rigid, misaligned workflow, it’s likely best to keep looking. Their goals and priorities simply may not mesh with yours in a productive way.


Finding the Right Fit

Fantastic technical skills, competitive pricing, and a specialty niche are all vital criteria. But for agency owners considering strategic partnerships, perhaps the most important factors are overall fit and sustainable chemistry.

You’re not just procuring a specific service — you’re entering into an intimate business relationship. So when vetting potential partners, dig deep into their philosophies, processes, references, and most importantly, communication style. Their ability to understand your unique agency pains is what will ultimately spell the difference between order or disorder, resource or drain, and success or failure.


To dig deeper into how agencies can find the right strategic partner to help them grow and scale their business, tune in to this episode of The Progressive Agency Podcast to hear more from our guest, Brian Gerstner.


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