How to find a reliable Software development vendor for your digital agency?

If you run a marketing agency or at least have worked in one for some time, you’ve probably noticed, that the staffing policy and day-to-day workflow have changed considerably over the years.

Back in the day, agencies performed a full cycle of marketing services themselves, using employees and resources within the agency itself.

These were simpler times when billboards and newspaper ads were basically the only marketing instruments needed for success.

Now we live in a whole different era, though. The collocation “digital marketing” doesn’t freak people out anymore. Moreover, it’s the first thing clients require from marketing agencies nowadays.

Companies invest in the online presence of their brand, and new tools for this sort of are invented every month. So what are the biggest challenges digital agencies have faced in 2018?

  1. Unifying and customizing marketing strategies across all channels for steady brand perception.
  2. Being able to solve any tasks/projects clients put in front of them, even those of high technical complexity.
  3. Working within tight time brackets, meeting deadlines without overspending budgets.
  4. Offering unique services and solutions despite huge competition in digital marketing field.

 
Considering how many high-tech elements saturate marketing in 2018, it’s hardly surprising that digital agencies outsource the technical part of their work to web and mobile development companies.

Basically, any company can approach your agency with a request for a customer loyalty app or an AR-game to get users acquainted with their product.

Chatbots, landing pages, and blockchain projects are also in high demand now. And a digital marketing agency, even the most advanced one, is unlikely to have an in-house team of software developers with appropriate technology stack necessary for creating all these products. That’s where outsourcing comes in handy.

Some agencies see software outsourcing as “risky business”, uncontrollable and unpredictable. Our answer to that – you just haven’t found the right outsourcing partner yet!

It is, in fact, possible to get maximum value from outsourcing technical expertise and avoid negative consequences. You just need to find a trustworthy web and mobile development company.

How can a digital agency find a long-term outsourcing development partner?

We develop mobile apps, websites and web applications ourselves, so here’s a comprehensive checklist from those who know all the backstage:
 

Look for companies that provide true client references and testimonials.

A professional outsourcing company with an impressive record would not hide their clients’ reviews from anyone. It is also useful to look for reviews on third-party catalogs that list company descriptions and reviews.

The most popular is Clutch, its reliability is ensured by the fact that all the reviews can only be submitted by clients, not by outsourcing vendors themselves.

Clutch ratingClutch Outsourcing review
 

Projects and code samples

As you narrow down the list of potential partners, it would be useful to take a look at the projects developers have implemented so far.

If you have a person able to evaluate code, feel free to ask companies for samples. You can also check out company’s profiles on Dribbble, Behance, and GitHub.

If there aren’t any, though, it might mean that the company sticks to its NDAs thoroughly, and the samples can’t be shared publicly. Do not hesitate to contact vendor’s representatives directly, they might send you some extra data privately!
 

Tryouts

When you’ve narrowed down the list of potential candidates to 5 companies or less, it’s time to evaluate real-life performance of outsourcing companies: give teams a minor test task and look at the final product.

You can also do a quicker examination by perusing companies’ case studies.
 
High-quality case studies focus on the following aspects of a project:

  • Technological issues and how a web and mobile development company handled them.
  • Investigation of the product and the market, deep understanding of the project’s business side.
  • Recognizable names and mentions of business success as a result of quality software development

 
Here are some of our own case studies of web and mobile development, you’ll be interested in:
 
How our web application helped a startup turn into a #1 housekeeping company in Belarus

How our own fitness app got 1.2 Million downloads on Google Play with no marketing budget

How we helped develop a #1 Asthma control app in the world

How our product helps a Finnish startup treat depression like no one could before
 

And, finally, a visit

Perhaps, the most practical strategy when it comes to making new partnerships. Just come to visit your potential partners’ office, take a look at their workflow, meet the programmers you’ll be working with.

If you’re planning to outsource abroad, a personal visit would be a great opportunity to learn a new culture and assess the potential stability of your collaboration.

By the way, we are located in Belarus – a country the majority of our readers have never been to.

And, by a lucky coincidence, it’s a country with allowed no-visa visits for up to 5 days. Feel free to come! Here’s why else Belarus is a great country for software development.
And here’s a decree that can make Belarus even better.

How is the outsourcing of web and mobile development beneficial for digital agencies?

  1. Outsourcing technical expertise is cheaper than hiring an in-house team to cover full technology stack. This way you secure the long-term sustainability of your business and make sure you will only pay for development, not for benching.
  2. Outsourcing development lets you keep the services and technologies you offer up to date. Trends in both web and mobile development change quickly, and digital marketing always requires the latest and greatest in technology. With outsourcing, you can just place an order for the solution you need; the rest is our responsibility.
  3. Outsourcing gives you a wide variety of services: business analysis, project management, design, development, and quality assurance, all under one roof. Of course, you could hire freelancers to do the job, but the level of synergy and responsibility of outsourcing vendors is way higher.

 
Another obstacle on the way to outsourcing for marketing agencies is protecting sensitive customer data while delegating software development.

If your clients are world-famous brands, you have to be really careful when it comes to copyrights and other IP protection laws. The solution here is simple – choose an outsourcing company with clear NDA and data protection policy.

Overall, outsourcing technical tasks, such as web and mobile development, has become a common practice for most digital marketing agencies nowadays. The reasons are obvious – it’s clear, it’s secure, and the quality is really good. You just need to find the right partner!

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