Beyond Sameness: An Advertising Agency Marketing Objective
First of all, of course, all advertising agencies are by nature the same. All dry cleaners are the same. All bars are the same. All optometrists are the same.
All advertising agencies make or deliver ads. Dry cleaners clean clothes, bars serve drinks and optometrists check out your eyes.
However, some agencies get past sameness and stand out from the pack. How do they do that?
How To Leave Sameness Behind?
Sameness sucks, but if you are like me, you do have your favorite dry cleaner (mine looks very modern); bar (mine is on a roof) and optometrist (mine is young and knows the latest methods and speaks English) I live in Mexico.
How can you get your advertising agency away from acting and looking like the agency down the street?
It isn’t by delivering the same message. “We are cool” / “We are smart” / “We know social media” / “We are creative” / “We have nice furniture” / We have a very human culture” / “We know content.”
The way out of this mess (the mess is huge given that there are over 4,000 ad agency-type choices) is to make looking and sounding different a goal. I call it being “Unignorable.”
6 (Easy) Paths To Being Unignorably Un-Same
Get past sameness. Make not being the same, make not being IGNORABLE an agency objective. Here are some things you can do.
- Market the hell out of your agency. This means having a super smart plan, a plan that you run 24/7. Good news for you… most agencies do not do this. Just by running a solid business development program, you will be not same-like. How is your outbound program? Your account-based marketing calendar? Your must-read blog? Your Linkedin program? By the way, could you swap out your name and put in another agency and have all of your marketing activity be too same-like — as in not branding you? If so, you are screwed.
- Get specialized. Pick something narrow to be known for. What’s available… Think expertise. Be the micro-expertise digital specialist example: Own search engine marketing like HawkSEM. Own data marketing expertise like Delve. Own category expertise like Red Interactive and entertainment.
- Own geography. Portland’s Grady Britton is not only one of the oldest agencies in Portland, but it also supports the city. Check out its Portland non-profit grant program.
- Own a high-interest demographic. Miami’s Viva owns Hispanic marketing. Linda Gonzales, its leader, is a recognized expert. She gets the calls from the trade press about anything related to cultural marketing.
- Own a personality. The essence of getting past sameness is having a personality. The clients you want, buy people (you are in a people business). Australia’s Tiny Hunter does a couple of things right from the go. First, they tell the market that they specialize in family business marketing. Second, they introduce you to the leadership team right away via a home page video. Tiny Hunter is all about people: the type of client, the client’s customer and the agency leaders. How clear are your agency’s message and personality?
- One more. Have a website that isn’t interchangeable with your neighbor agency’s site. And, remember, ask for the order. Your website is a sales tool.
If you make sameness your enemy, you will become unignorable.