Some are stuck in a dead-end niche serving a so-called “gap in the market” without realising that there is no market in the gap!
Others are stuck with Peters’ Principle. The owner has been ‘promoted’ to a place which is beyond their competence. Out of their depth, they pursue strategies and plans they are ill-equipped to deliver.
Others are stuck with the wrong staff with the wrong attitude and feel unable to do anything about it.
The list of sticky/stuck situations goes on but I’d like to focus on being stuck in the middle of the marketplace.
Beneath most agencies lies the bottom tier of bottom-feeding freelancers and young agencies who will do anything they can in order to pay the bills. With no great expertise in business or digital, these bottom-tier players will claim to be able to do anything and do it fast and do it cheap. Think fiverr.com, selling by the hour.
Above most agencies is the upper tier, agencies with serious reputations, experience and expertise. Known for their work with trophy clients they sell their reputation. Think “no-one ever got fired for employing McKinsey & Co”.
And most agencies are in the middle tier. They do a lot of things but can’t compete with the big top tier with their depth and breadth. And inevitably they end up competing with the small fry on price.
Competing on price is not where one wants to be positioned. In a price war, the client always wins and there is no point competing on price unless you can go as cheap as the competition. In this landscape, you need to find a way to be competing with the well-healed smooth operators in the upper tier. So, how do you do that?
The answer is to have a story.
Most agencies in the rump of the mid-tier look pretty much identical. Similar people selling similar things to similar people using similar processes and systems to charge similar prices for similar services provided by similar people with similar educations and backgrounds. You get the drift.
To stand out from the rest you need to be different. Of course, you can be quicker, smarter, friendlier, older, younger, the first, the only and so on but all of this boils down to having a story to tell, and hence, a story for people to remember.
A story is more than facts. It tells people how and why you do what you do. It talks about what you are passionate about. It talks about what makes you different.