The Endless Search For Differentiation
There are around 25,000 marketing agencies in the United Kingdom, and hundreds of thousands more around the world.
One thing I can promise you is that number is on the rise, and it will be for years to come.
More and more agencies are flooding into the market, making it harder and harder to stand out and genuinely be different.
But is this really a problem?
Doe we have to be completely different and have our own unique space in the market?
Is it so bad if we just carry on working through our network and picking up referrals from people who actually know us, and know what makes us different?
Yes, yes and YES.
All Problems Lead Back To Positioning
Not getting enough leads?
Not able to charge high enough prices?
Can't quite get that client over the line?
Keep getting pipped at the final post in the pitch?
Can't keep your best people?
Can't hire anyone even remotely close to the standard you need?
All of these problems are Positioning Problems.
If you manage to find a genuine unique point of difference, explain it in an effective way and consistently communicate it to your network, you'll see these problems slip away.
This process is what we call Authority Building... And when you build Authority around you and your agency, guess what happens next:
- Leads come to you
- You can raise your prices
- Your conversion rate increases
- Your best people stay
- And better people apply for you vacancies
The problems you have right now are caused by a lack of Authority around you and your agency's brand, and that starts with working out what your position in the market should be.
So how do we define a niche position for ourselves?
Let's take a look at the 3 ways to differentiate.
#1 - By Service
I'm not going to spend long here because I don't want you to either.
Let me be abundantly clear - niching or differentiating by service doesn't work.
The whole premise behind differentiation is to stop commoditisation (when you are compared to another agency based on price).
When you niche by service you play straight into the commoditisation game.
Please don't think that your team using a specific type of software (looking at you Webflow Agencies here) makes you different. Software, deliverables and service are all the same - they do nothing for your differentiation on their own.
For the sake of simplicity, let's call this Positioning 1.0.
#2 - By Industry
This is Positioning 2.0.
Where an agency picks an industry that, not only do they want to work with, but they are also good at serving.
This is exactly what we have done at World Products - we are specifically designed to serve the Healthcare Industry, as illustrated by our Mission:
Bringing Healthcare Into The Digital Age.
Why do this?
Because there's less competition, and clients are looking for specific expertise.
For most agencies (especially those under £1m/year), targeting a specific industry is essential.
People will fight me and disagree with me on this, that's cool. I've seen the progress of agencies with and without specific industry targets and the difference in speed and authority built is striking.
When you target a specific industry, your content and your marketing become so dialled in that you start seeing the benefits immediately.
But here's the catch... Many agencies have clocked this, and industry positioning is now fairly common.
So where do you go now? Positioning 3.0.
#3 - By Message
When you bring a very unique view or message to a specific target industry, wonderful things start to happen.
For us, at WP, it's not simply about supporting the Healthcare Industry, it's about helping this mammoth industry become fit for purpose in a world where patients need access to their medicines instantly.
We constantly review our own perspectives on how to increase 'Patient Self-Care' and how we can support our clients, and the industry in general in this mission.
One particular message that we have here is that e-commerce, including Amazon, can no longer be an 'additional after thought'. These need to be at the forefront of our clients' minds and we help them with this.
What is your message, or unique view, for your clients' industry?
What future world do you see, and how can you help your clients to get there?
These are questions you need to answer regularly... And guess what, once you have the answer - talk about it.
Positioning 3.0 - the intersection of positioning by industry and unique message - is your ticket to true differentiation, and authority, in 2022.
The agencies that have not simply chosen a target market, but are bringing their own unique view to this market are standing out right now - and rightly so.
By developing a unique view on your clients' industry, you are proving your expertise. You are proving that you know enough to be able to form a view on where it should go from here.
Start the process today - start carving out your message, and then bring it to the marketplace.
If you have a unique message for your clients' industry, and want to share - drop it below... Would be really keen to see these!
Becoming An Authority Agency
For those of you that don't know me, I'm Oliver Duffy-Lee and I run a company called Authority Agency.
Our mission is simple, we want to help as many scale-up agencies to reach and win high quality international clients as we possibly can, whilst also helping the founders to get more time back in their life at the same time.
If that sounds like you, there are 2 ways we can help you immediately.
Firstly we run a free Facebook Group and every week we put new training in there for all of our members.
Agency Growth Audit
If you want to move faster, you can book an Agency Growth Audit with one of our Scale Specialists. It's a super-quick, free call where we'll help outline what's slowing your growth and show you what's possible in the next 90 days.
I'm very happy to be here on your journey to building the agency of your dreams.
If you ever need any advice, send me a DM.
To your success,