Agency New Business Begins With A Differentiating Positioning

It’s a rich irony: agencies, well versed on how essential a Unique Selling Proposition is to their client’s success, often struggle when it comes to uncovering their own.

It’s not that we don’t start out with the best intentions: buy-in from Senior Management; a real, albeit abbreviated, brief; a launch date that promises to be impactful to pipeline growth this year. But problems soon arise as ideals soften to appeal to a broader audience, paying clients take precedence, and resources are cut. Now six months in, we’re left to rush to market with a Manifesto Statement that, while evocative in its creative expression, doesn’t offer much ammunition to the grinders trying to capture the limited attention of time-strapped C-level decision makers.

So how do you create a memorable agency positioning platform that will also punch above its weight for your sales team? Here are three things to consider:

  1. Start With Why

    Most agencies begin with a founder’s vision: a better way of doing business. Over the years, as new talent revolves in and out and service offerings are expanded or eliminated, that story gets abandoned in favor of something of the moment. Navigating back to that original “why” will often reveal a core truth and a fertile place to begin.

  2. Find the Client Pain

    While the client may be asking for a responsive website, what you’re really solving for is their pain: customer attrition, lead gen struggles, risk aversion or simply, the fear of being fired. You can learn a great deal by interviewing your key client advocates. What would they say is the true value you bring to their business time and again? By looking beyond the immediate tactical deliverables and to the deeper, emotional challenges you’re really solving, you’ll be illuminating a universal urgency.

  3. Own Your Expertise

    While much has been debated about the pros and cons of being a generalist or a specialist, the context here of having an ownable expertise is more about identifying a shift or change in the world (or an industry or a psychographic) and highlighting your unique approach in dealing with it. Whether that shift relates to the ascension of millennial purchasing power or to the disruption transforming brick and mortar retail, your ability to understand its nuances will capture the attention of anyone who is likewise concerned or affected by it.

By being transparent about your fundamental beliefs, by offering insightful observations about your core customer’s world, and by highlighting your experience in dealing with a specific shift or change in the marketplace, you will have created an agency positioning statement, which will establish clear differentiation amongst your competitors and also serve as the core spine of a re-energized new business pipeline.

But don’t take my word for it, let Jerry McGuire be your guide to a better you.

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