Published: Thursday 8th January 2015

So now we’ve landed in the New Year, how are you going to position your agency in the drive to win new business? A good place to start is by framing this question within the context of who you are and how you create value for your clients.

 It’s arguably the most important question you, the agency, has to answer, allowing you to occupy a unique place in the mind of your prospective clients. Let’s not forget, if we ever can, that our marketplace is crowded and hugely competitive. This means that your value proposition has one clearly defined objective: to reduce the competition and by so doing reduce the prospect’s hiring options.

Some agencies find defining their value proposition difficult, so they default to the generic and descriptive – what they do – without establishing any clear point of difference or benefit, therefore failing to raise themselves above the mass of competing agencies, along the lines of the following:

“cross platform media solutions…”

“creating extraordinary experiences…”

“global full service digital marketing…”

“integrated marketing solutions…”

What we tend to see is often uninspiring, and one salient point is hard to ignore – the fact that most agencies position themselves too broadly, which is usually based on fear. The impulse is understandable, like spread betting; the more services you can offer to a client, the greater the likelihood that something might appeal. The thing is, most agencies can in fact offer most things, which means that the power resides with the client. Your agency will simply be one of a long list of undifferentiated competitors and, even if you successfully win the business, your profit margin will invariably take a hit. In order to win profitable new business, an agency needs to narrow its focus.

At the core of a successful value proposition is a deep-rooted agency expertise. This will make it easy for the right prospects to find you, attracting those that identify with what you believe in/stand for and who need the specific specialism you offer. Right there, in narrowing your focus, you eliminate much, if not all, the competition. Given that there are fewer experts available, the client’s buying options are more limited which allows you to charge a premium price.

Creating a powerful value proposition is the Holy Grail of the New Business Director. It narrows the field of prospects allowing you to take a targeted offering to a targeted prospect, one whom is more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. It’s about being single minded, selective and making sacrifices, so you have to be prepared to polarise: it’s as much a statement of what you are not as what you are.

Importantly, it enables an agency to take control of the process, shifting power back our way. And that’s good news.

Want to find out much more about how to create a compelling value proposition, what works and what doesn’t? Then come to our Early Worm Club on 29th January – click here for more information.

Janine Abrahams