Agency Positioning Secrets

The agency landscape is more competitive than ever.

But there are two paths agencies can take to come out on top: going productized or offering a holistic, high-touch experience.

First, let’s talk about the productized approach.

This is where you focus on delivering a specific, well-defined service at a fixed price.

In many service categories all people want is a reliable resource.

Having someone who consistently delivers exactly what they promise.

Quantifying the ROI is not essential here.

Also there’s no giant trust gap to bridge. People can quickly see for themselves if you deliver the quality you promise.

This is the game we play at Our goal is to be the most reliable cold email resource out there.

And it’s working.

Another good example are design services.

Super hard to quantify the ROI here.

But that’s not a big issue because what most people need is really just a reliable partner that can deliver consistent, high quality design assets.

The advantage of productized services is that they’re easy to sell and scale.

You can build a team around a specific process and deliver the same quality over and over again.

To succeed with a productized approach, you need to focus on one thing and do it exceptionally well.

You can’t be a jack-of-all-trades and expect clients to believe you’re a reliable resource.

There’s simply no way you can deliver consistent high quality across a wide range of services.

There’s a reason why McDonald’s doesn’t sell steak or sushi.

On the other hand, there’s the full-service, high-touch approach.

You become a deeply integrated partner that solves a big problem using a holistic approach and directly tie yourself to your customers KPIs.

It’s more challenging to pull off, hard to scale, but when done right, it can be incredibly lucrative.

Many companies in this category work on a revenue-share basis, giving you a large potential upside and aligning your interests with your client’s success.

94 Marketing and Data Driven Marketing are good examples in this category.

The challenge with the high-touch approach is that you need to charge a premium, as you can’t productize and scale in the same way.

You also need to bridge the trust gap, as clients must give you deep access to their systems and data.

Otherwise you can’t make the changes necessary to drive the results they’re looking for.

And you have no way of actually tracking results to make sure you get paid.

This is where personal relationships come into play.

No one’s going to trust a random guy they found on the internet with this level of access.

You need to leverage your network and have incredible case studies to get your foot in the door.

Both paths are perfectly valid. As long as you pick one and run with it.

Agencies that struggle often have no clarity on which path they’re taking.

They’re trying a little bit of both and end up failing at both.

Agencies that do win as the landscape gets more competitive are the ones that know exactly what game they’re playing and are all in on it.

Written on May 1, 2024

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