New business is the lifeblood of every agency. The key to growth and success over the long haul is a consistent pipeline of high value, qualified prospects that are ripe for conversion. And creating a pipeline of those opportunities requires that your positioning and digital footprint be completely in sync.
As industry insiders, we’re familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of our competitors. However, to the casual observer and potential target prospect, it’s often difficult to tell one agency from another. The similarities between agencies can overshadow their unique capabilities and areas of specialization.
Why is defining a differentiating positioning such a challenge for agencies?
Over time, many agencies expand their services beyond the original intention, due to client requests, new technologies, and fresh talent on the roster. As the agency begins to expand its reach, the main point of differentiation can get blurred and even completely lost in the shuffle.
The reality is that the more diverse the client and services base,
the harder it gets to simplify the story.
And yet simplicity in ad agency positioning is essential – allowing you to clearly define the unique niche your business will serve, and the key benefits you provide for that niche. It also gives your agency team a constant beacon from which they can identify and support your differentiation.
We all think our agency is different and unique. But exactly HOW is your agency different? Below are four potential areas of differentiation. If your company excels in any of these areas, they could become a unique building block from which to start your exploration.
- Around a client inflection point: Your agency is at it’s best when a brand needs a: new product release, lead generation, to develop brand awareness, a social media strategy, a digital strategy, even mobile marketing.
- Focus on specific verticals, or subject matter expertise: Business to business, business to consumer, hospitality, financial services, healthcare, packaged goods, hospitality, retail, etc.
- Customer Knowledge: A demonstration of which customer groups your agency truly understands that is of value to your prospects … is it B2B technology buyers, Millennial grocery shoppers, the Specialty Health Care Provider?
- Proprietary Tactics or Methodologies: Tools that your agency has developed or refined, process methodologies, unique market research capabilities.
What a positioning statement should include – and how it benefits your agency
At its core, your positioning statement explains what makes you different and how that benefits your clients. It also gives you an opportunity to look at your business through the eyes of your customers.
A good way to imagine the benefit of clear positioning is the comparison to a pair of glasses. The better your glasses are fit for your own eyes, the clearer your vision will be.
Without a clear view of who you are and what makes you unique, the less focus you’ll have and ability to convey that message to current and potential clients. In addition, having a clear focus of exactly who you are will make building your own new business development strategy much more efficient and effective.
For example, creating thought leadership and content is much easier from a clear positioning statement than from an “all things to all people” perspective. Having that focus will also allow you to establish your digital footprint within your realm in a much timelier manner.
Thought leadership content coming from a highly focused industry expert is usually more interesting to potential clients who are able to identify your thoughts with their own perspective. You’ll also see more traffic to your website or blog from search engines as you build your own authority in that niche in the form of backlinks and social shares.
The idea of “positioning” is ultimately about creating a unique and emotional impression of your company in the mind of the consumer. Your positioning statement should also describe the benefits your agency provides to your target customer.
A successful statement will leave a clear and concise impression of your agency, describing your target customer(s), the primary benefit they are seeking and how the benefits you provide will be delivered. And, it provides the all-too-elusive “elevator speech” that helps your team articulate who your agency is and what it does, to themselves and the outside world.
From a macro perspective, your positioning statement should contain the following elements:
- A description of your target customer
- The benefits this customer is looking for
- Your unique areas of differentiation
- How and why you can provide a solution to your customer
A couple excellent examples of ad agency positioning statements include:
BrandArc – is a Branded Entertainment agency. We connect consumers to brands via entertainment in more impactful ways than traditional disruptive advertising can.
Made Movement – dedicated to supporting the resurgence in American manufacturing. The agency looks to generate more jobs and revenues within the U.S.A.
Knowing yourself is at the core of this entire exercise. Many organizations lose their perspective on who they truly are through the day-to-day grind. In fact, it’s quite difficult to maintain a clear and objective viewpoint of your agency without an outside perspective that looks at you through the same lens a prospective client would. Additionally, working with an outside expert in developing your positioning helps you overcome internal biases that come from being too close to the action.
It’s time to take the next step and refine your agency’s positioning. Don’t let a lack of focus impair your vision and your growth.
To get started on the right track, download our free Agency Positioning Checklist.