Plant your flag with Drew McLellan

By |February 26th, 2018|

Episode 125:

Have you ever walked around Times Square? I was in New York City last week, and if you’ve ever been here before, you know it’s crazy. With all the lights, the billboards, the chaos, the signage, and the people dancing and handing out flyers – it’s just sensory overload.

The eight blocks or so radius that makes up Times Square is a study in advertising and in messaging, sort of both from an old school and new school perspective.

It made me think about one of the realities in both life in general but certainly in our life in the marketing and agency business, and that is that there is no such thing as a constant. Even the most constant of constants, like out-of-home advertising, keep changing and evolving over time. The truth of the matter is, for all of us, no matter what channel we display our message on, no matter where we are talking about the work we do and the kind of clients we serve, the channel is changing.

So if you’ve got a robust Facebook page for your agency, that’s awesome, but you know that in five years, it’s going to be something different. If you are writing incredible blog content, or you’re producing a podcast, whatever it may be, there may be remnants of what we’re doing today around in five years, but the odds are that it’s going to look different, just like these outdoor boards here on Broadway look very different than they did back in the ’40s and the ’50s.

The other thing I noticed was I was watching the messaging for the plays and the restaurants and the souvenir shops, all of them, they all look and sound the same. We all face that problem too. I think one of the biggest challenges for agencies is how do you not look like everybody else? How do you differentiate yourself? We’re great at doing this for clients, but when it comes to doing it for ourselves, we really, really struggle.

This was actually a big part of the conversation that we had in the Creating Content That Creates Revenue Workshop back in January. We started day one by talking about how the reality for all of us is that the channels keep changing and so our presence in a channel isn’t enough to differentiate us. We have to have something that makes us stand out.

We talked a lot about having a unique point of view and about really understanding what your agency was all about. Where do you plant that flag? How do you plant that flag in firm ground so that, no matter what changes, that belief is rock solid? It needs to be so firmly anchored in the ground that you know it’s not going to be blown away by whatever fad or change is coming down the pike.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. For agencies, we all have to be able to define that for our prospects and clients. Why us? Why us over somebody else?

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Staying on top of the ever-changing channels for distributing our messages
  • The struggle agencies face in differentiating themselves
  • Planting the flag of your unique POV so firmly that you don’t feel tempted to change away from what’s important to you when a new fad comes around
  • Why you can’t afford to compete on price or proximity
  • Your unique POV: what you know to be true that you talk to clients about all the time
  • Figuring out what your best, most profitable clients have in common, even if it’s not an industry (and it often isn’t!)
  • Why you should have three different niches
  • How your unique POV combined with your niche industry knowledge makes you look and sound different from your competitors
  • Building your website to show off your POV
  • Infusing your POV into every piece of content you create
  • A litmus test for figuring out if you’ve defined your POV
  • How your POV attracts the right prospects and repels the wrong ones

Drew McLellan is the CEO at Agency Management Institute. He has also owned and operated his own agency since 1995 and is still actively running the agency today. Drew’s unique vantage point as being both an agency owner and working with 250+ small- to mid-size agencies throughout the year gives him a unique perspective on running an agency today.

AMI works with agency owners by:

  • Leading agency owner peer groups
  • Offering workshops for owners and their leadership teams
  • Offering AE bootcamps
  • Conducting individual agency owner coaching
  • Doing on-site consulting
  • Offering online courses in agency new business and account service

Because he works with those 250+ agencies every year — Drew has the unique opportunity to see the patterns and the habits (both good and bad) that happen over and over again. He has also written two books and been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Fortune Small Business. The Wall Street Journal called his blog “One of 10 blogs every entrepreneur should read.”

 

The Golden Nugget:

“If you can't show me how you're different or better, at the end of the day, I'm going to decide by convenience or price. Neither of those are the competitive landscapes where most agencies want to compete.” - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet “You have to know who and what you are, and you have to understand how to express that point of view, that uniqueness that genuinely makes your agency different than all the others.” - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet “One of the most dangerous things an agency can do is believe that they can serve everyone equally well. I don't care if you're 400 people or you're four people, that's just not the case.” - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet “When you combine your industry-specific with your singular point of view of how business should be done, you look and sound dramatically different from most of your competitors.” - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet “If you're writing content and you could swap another agency's logo for yours and it still makes perfect sense -- you have not defined your point of view. You are just creating more noise in an already noisy room.” - Drew McLellan Click To Tweet “When you get very clear about your point of view and get brave enough to declare it to the world and build everything off of that cornerstone belief, including your content, now all of a sudden, you have a point of difference.” - @DrewMcLellan Click To Tweet

 

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Ways to contact Drew McLellan:

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About the Author:

For almost 30 years, Drew McLellan has been in the advertising industry. He started his career at Y&R, worked in boutique-sized agencies and then started his own (which he still owns and run) agency in 1995. Additionally, Drew owns and leads Agency Management Institute, which advises hundred of small to mid-sized agencies on how to grow their agency and its profitability through agency owner peer groups, consulting, coaching, workshops and more.

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