Written by Rachelle Melnichuk
Majestic Media is Canada’s first Facebook Marketing Agency working for the world’s biggest brands, all the while not being a particularly large company themselves. With a small team located in three different countries: Canada, Argentina and Bulgaria, Majestic has found away to become a market leader in developing custom Facebook Marketing solutions.
Majestic leverages the differences in time zones as a key differentiator in their service offering. Here’s how they do it: while we sleep here in Canada, the Bulgaria team starts their day. By the time we wake up here in Canada, the Bulgarian office is finishing up their work day. Both teams have about 1-2 hours that overlap where they can communicate and catch up on progress. The Canada and Argentina teams then continue working on the project(s) without breaking the momentum. The end result: a seamless 15-hour workday, with no overtime required for any member of the Majestic Media team.
“We’re essentially more efficient than our competitors. Because of the two time zones we’re in, we never have to work overtime. And because of this, my team is happy, constantly engaged, and allows me to retain great staff rather then burning out my top horses,” says Mario Zelaya, Managing Director of Majestic Media. “Unlike other companies or agencies, we treat overtime as a disease. It's something I'm very, very strict about and don't believe in. Nothing good comes from it; at least not in the long-run. Overtime is a quick and dirty fix to a deficiency that exists within a company. We rarely (if ever), do overtime,” adds Zelaya.
When Majestic Media first launched, they found that they were getting a lot of last minute projects, something that is common place in the digital industry as brands tend to react rapidly to changing environments and opportunities. The client demands were quickly increasing more and more, to the point where Zelaya was overworking his Argentina team and having them work weeknights and weekends to keep up with timelines. Eventually, the amount of overtime required resulted the loss of a few key top employees. “It was a bitter-sweet time. It was great that we were getting a lot of work, but awful that it resulted in some of our top engineers leaving. That was a pivotal time where I decided my focus will no longer be about the money and projects, rather, the people in our team. I want to make sure they’re happy, healthy and enjoying what they do.” says Zelaya.
In order to alleviate the long hours and client demands, Zelaya decided to start an office in Bulgaria. They had a large pool of talent, one of the world’s fastest Internet connections (a key attribute required to make Skype calls and have real-time chats), and it was not difficult to find English speaking developers.
With the opening of the Bulgaria office, Majestic could now operate efficiently in two time zones, allowing them to fit 14-15 work hours in a single business day. All teams could still communicate on a daily basis so there would be no communication lags or issues, while still maximizing the production/development effort in a single work day. Zelaya adds “The benefits of my calculated risk were immediate. We never had to work weekends or weeknights again, the guys were happier and as a result, more productive. Our output and capacity almost tripled with the new staff additions in Bulgaria. More importantly, it helped in retaining key staff within Majestic.”
The glue that keeps the company together is open communication among team members. The power of today’s technology allows the international company to work closely together and collaborate by using outlets such as Skype and instant messaging, for real time video chats or conference calls. Best of all, they’re completely free.
Having the opportunity to manage international teams is extremely beneficial for Majestic Media, not only for efficiency and moral purposes, but also from a cost savings perspective.
“While we’re starting to hire and expand our staff here in Canada, it’s a big cost savings having the same top tier talent elsewhere. If all our staff were located in Canada, we probably wouldn’t be in business. Top tier engineers, like the ones we have on our team, command upwards of six figures,” says Zelaya. Adding, “Our industry, combined with our tools and processes for communication, we don’t need to look over their shoulders or have them come into an office. We know who is and who isn’t doing work. It’s a no-brainer. For us, the concept of a traditional office is obsolete. We don’t need one. And since we don’t need one, we don’t need all our developers to be here in Canada. It’s a huge win-win.”
From Zelaya’s point of view, what Majestic is doing, is no different from other companies. Majestic simply did it for different reasons: employee morale, retention and meeting client demands. “Our business model is no different than say, Apple: ‘Designed in California, Made in China’. The same applies to Majestic Media: Strategy in Canada, Made in Bulgaria/Argentina. The company has become a well oiled machine.”