Distinguish Yourself From Your Ad Agency’s Competition to Drive New Business

Too often marketers complain that agencies are alike, that their services are a commodity.

As frustrating as this may be, Kaihan Krippendorff argues in a recent Fast Company article that there’s a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.

He poses three questions:

1. How might I aggregate the parts to create something new?
2. How can I disaggregate things to create new things?
3. What does my competition offer, and how can I make my approach more appealing?

Let’s brainstorm ways in which this might apply to your new business efforts:


Say you have expertise in interactive, passion for social media, and a new hire who’s an expert in branding? Might you create a social media ‘product’ that combines the three and would be attractive to an industry niche you know well? Might this satisfy an existing customer’s unmet need? Think about the services marketers have asked you to perform, or that you think they need. Can you combine them in ways you haven’t tried before?


Let’s say you pride yourself in being a “full service agency”. Have you ever felt that you leave money on the table, perhaps offering high-value services for a low price – that others charge a premium to handle? Might there be a way to reconstruct your business model and instead sell less, for more? Or, could you repackage certain offerings and combine then in ways no other agency is (yet)?


Have you spent time analyzing your competition’s offer, piece by piece? Why do their clients buy their services? Is it their creative product, their people, their process, their hourly rate, their location? How can you change your approach to how you differ to make your agency more appealing – not more similar? The idea is to distinguish yourself, not make yourself more the same (proving the commodity stereotype). This demands a fresh look at your agency, and may require an outside opinion, perhaps from someone outside the industry.




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