Canadian Facebook Agency's Global Offices Produce a Majestic Success
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.”
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”