Identifying Your Ad Agency’s Most Important Client

Do you know which of your agency’s clients is your most important?

There are just over 12,000 advertising agencies in America. The vast majority look and sound just alike. Any wonder that most clients have a hard time distinguishing one agency from another. There is nothing unique about them at all.

Finding a brilliant positioning is one of the most important and rewarding experiences an agency can undertake. You’ve spent so much time and effort working on other people’s brands you need to make the decision to work on your very own.

Given the economic crisis and predictions for 2009 the remaining two months of 2008 perfect time to commit to putting into practice that your agency is going to be your most important client.

There is no better use of your time than thinking about how to set your agency apart from the competition. But this is not a simple process that is resolved quickly. To produce a solid positioning that is lasting it must involve all the major stakeholders: principals, management and staff. It will most likely exceed the time you would normally commit to developing a clients brand.

Think narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow.


If you are willing to take the time to dig deep and narrow for your brand, you will greatly expand the breadth of your agency. You will not be limited to business because of your agency’s location.

Plus, the more focused and defined your agency brand becomes, the more you can charge for your services.

Who charges more for their services, the family doctor or a neurosurgeon? A specialist makes more money and a good surgeon will attract business from all over the country and doesn’t have to compete with all the other physicians just other neurosurgeons. For the ad agency, clients will know who you are and what you stand for and as importantly so will you.

Who charges more for their services, the family doctor or a neurosurgeon?

Many agency principals agree to initiate the process only to lose focus and interest within a few weeks. They have to set the example. If its not important to you, it wont be important to your staff and this is the most important process your agency will ever undertake.

Your agency is probably doing a good job of differentiating your clients brand and adding value to their companies. Now is the time to add some value to your own by applying the same kinds of strategies and that you use to market your clients brands to marketing your agency’s brand. You treat your agency with the same importance as you would with any client. The difference however is that your agency is your most important client.

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. Nice post, Michael.

    Given the potential of social media, ad agencies should look to find their niche with laser-like precision, as social media tools such as Twitter enable agencies to market to the long tail, much in the same way that their clients can. This potential should only grow as these tools become more mainstream.

    Prospering in a recession for an agency will also require innovation, particularly innovation that leads to value. Ad agencies do not necessarily have to innovate their own products (though some cool blog add-on gadgets like Ogilvy’s suite of aggregator widgets are nice brand awareness innovations) but at least be aware of media innovations that are taking place on-line and offline.

    And better yet, they should know how to use those innovations to help market their clients’ brands.

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Excellent additions.

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