Last month’s blog post tossed around the notion that it’s almost impossible for a full-service ad agency (whatever that even means these days) to have a completely unique selling proposition. So it’s understandable that many agencies veer the other direction and try to be all things to all people. I think this stems from a fear of losing out on opportunities by being too specific, but in fact I’d wager that the opposite is true. The more you can articulate who you truly are, the more easily the right prospect will find you and the wrong prospects will avoid you.
Not only that, it will eliminate some of the more agonizing aspects of prospecting: defining who your prospects are and figuring out what you’re going to say to them that will be attention-getting as well as meaningful.
Made Movement, a two-year old agency in Boulder, CO started by three CPB alums, is one of the brave few who have been willing to commit to a completely unique positioning and, boy, is it refreshing. Made makes it plain right there on its home page: “We make work that makes American jobs.” Wow.
(I also give them major bonus points for the first line of copy on the home page: “Made is an advertising agency.” Hallelujah! I know what you do! Contrast that with any number of “holistic marketing think tanks” or “brand-centric consumer engagement catalyzers”.)
If I’m the CMO of Church’s Chicken, Seventh Generation, or any of the other growing US-based companies Made works with, I’m going to feel an immediate emotional connection when I land on that home page: “These guys are one of us. These are our people!” And, by the way, that connection has little to do with advertising. It’s been elevated to a much higher plane.
But that’s if Made is lucky enough to have a CMO land on its home page. What about how this affects outbound marketing?
First, it takes the emotion out of eliminating potential prospects. A positioning like Made’s is its most important selection criterion and logically results in a list of pre-qualified leads.
Second, it makes it much easier to pick up the phone, send that email, or introduce yourself at a conference because your positioning, indeed your mission, can be quickly articulated. This matters because the prospects you want to work with get hundreds of inquiries a week and most are forgettable because they all sound the same.
Go back to my last post and try those steps I recommended. Will your positioning alienate some prospects? Potentially. But, if you’re truly committed to it, does that really matter? Doesn’t this filter out companies that aren’t right for you, saving you time, money and resources?
If this idea still makes you queasy, then invest some time in defining the business opportunity. In Made’s case, that means looking at US-based job-creating companies –
how many there are, their size, and their investment in marketing – and doing some basic projections to determine how much business you’d need from that universe of companies to meet your growth goals. My hunch is that it’s more than sufficient, especially if you’re a smaller agency.
But you still have to make those first steps and they’re often the hardest: commit to a positioning, let it lead you to the right prospects, and invest the time to build those relationships.