Ad Agencies Desperately Need a Position for New Business

Ad agencies need positioning because prospective clients have lots of choices—and if you don’t stand out, you are going to struggle with new business.

In a recession your competition steps up their new business activities. Small-to midsize agencies are out trolling for more business. Larger agencies are willing to accept smaller accounts when business is tight.

Positioning is what differentiates a brand in the customer’s mind. It is how you go to market. To win the positioning game, brand coach,  Josh Levine, says to answer this simple question: “What makes you the “only”?

Josh, developed the simple slide above to begin conversations about what makes a company the best to be considered. Use it in discussions regarding your own agency’s positioning and you’ll be surprised how quickly you start talking about the things that really matter.

Josh says, “if you can’t say why your brand is both different and compelling in a few words, don’t fix your statement, fix your company (agency).”

The problem is, answering such a simple question isn’t that easy. One way to approach it is to think about why your agency brand matters to your primary target audience. I’ve taken a number of agencies through a series of steps to discover what makes them the only.  It is a discovery process that is a journey to the core of their business. Remember, you can’t promote your way to being the one and only —you have to start with it.

Without a point of differentiation you will find it difficult to effectively market and promote your agency and you will struggle to succinctly  define your agency and what it does.

Seven things that a clear positioning will provide your agency:

  1. An increase in your agency’s relevance
  2. A direction for how your agency spends its time, money and resources
  3. An understanding on the types of persons to hire
  4. A better new business win ratio
  5. A strong appeal to a select group of prospects
  6. Prospects that line up with your agency’s core strengths, what you do best
  7. A broader market area

It is possible to have prospects who seek you out when they know who you are and what you stand for. Trying to appeal to everyone appeals to no one.

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. Michael, excellent synopsis for finding each of our respective places in the stream or simply learning you need to get IN the stream. We did this a few years ago and have revisited regularly to ensure it is still applicable. Our B2B clients expect and deserve an agency that can service with an understanding of closed-loop CRM, the payoff and the role marketing plays in achieving it. We’ve seen the benefits of subscribing to this mindset.
    Craig Lindberg

  2. Thanks Craig.

    I invite others to check out Craig’s agency, MLT Creative:

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