The Third Commandment of Agency Ownership – Thou Shalt Invest in Powerful Positioning
Positioning is the father of marketing in so many ways. You can’t create great campaigns when there is not a clear picture in sight.
So many agencies don’t focus on positioning.
You’re worried about pigeonholing yourself if you establish an actual position. You worry that declaring a niche means you can’t take other opportunities when they come along.
The agency ends up generalizing. And this creates weak positioning that makes you just like everyone else.
You can’t scale from this position.
The first symptom is that your clients see you as just another agency. If you’ve ever heard a client tell you that they’re looking at agencies just like yours, that’s a sign that you have weak positioning.
There shouldn’t be any other agencies that offer what you offer.
The second symptom is that you chase niches based on whatever’s “hot” at that moment in time. For example, you may have a string of clients come in from the hotel industry. You specialize in that niche for a while until those clients start falling off. Then, you start chasing clients in the next trendy industry.
Finally, you don’t attract the right talent. Remember that people want to work for agencies that will enrich their careers. If you can’t provide someone with something focused to add to the resume, they’re less likely to work with you.
The Root Cause
There are actually a few root causes that lead to people not following this commandment.
The first is that positioning isn’t top of mind for the agency owner. They’re so focused on other things, such as putting out fires, that they’re not thinking about positioning.
The second cause is that many agency owners make positioning a democratic decision. They bring in their people and ask who they think the agency should target. Typically, they’ll suggest bigger and more exciting companies.
But that’s not positioning. Furthermore, this process will upset people who give you input that you choose not to follow.
Finally, there’s the mistake of looking back at what you’ve done to see where you should go in the future. For example, your history may show that 90% of the work you’ve done is SEO for real estate businesses.
That doesn’t mean you’re a real estate SEO specialist. You’re focusing on the past rather than looking to the future.
Why You Should Fix the Issue
I’ll give you an example of what happens when you position yourself properly.
There’s a company called Inflow that worked as a general purpose SEO agency up until about 2008. But since then, they’ve positioned themselves specifically as an e-commerce growth agency.
Between 2008 and 2018, their growth exploded because they created a defined position and put blinders on.
That’s because they offer something that the more general agencies don’t. Potential clients recognize that there’s no comparison between Inflow’s service and a general agency when it comes to e-commerce.
That’s the power of following this commandment.
Dev “Properly Positioned” Basu