Tim Williams for survey

Tim Williams for survey


Is your firm practicing the Confirmation Bias?

That’s the question Tim Williams, Founder and Managing Director of Ignition Consulting Group, asked himself when considering agency responses to survey questions he provided for the recent RSW/US Thought Leader Survey.

Over two-thirds of agencies believe their positioning is unique relative to other firms.

Tim williams chart


However, when asked to share their positioning by way of “elevator pitches”, the unique value propositions proved to not be all that unique.

A sampling of many less-than-unique statements follow:

  • We work with “companies for good” those who put their customers’ needs first.
  • …we exchange egos for listening…helping clients live the brand as much as communicate the brand…
  • We help brands create abundance for the greater good through the power of storytelling.
  • We help clients with big creative appetites punch way above their weight and deliver positive results.

The 2016 RSW/US Thought Leader Survey Report features Tim’s survey questions, along with examples of quite unique and effective positioning statements.  If you haven’t seen them yet, you can download the report here.

As an industry expert in agency positioning, Tim relates that agencies are not differentiating themselves as much as they perceive internally.

He describes a big discrepancy in how marketers perceive agency differentiation, compared to how agencies assess themselves.

Furthermore, he’s concerned that much agency content is way too self-promotional.

Along with these thoughts in a post-survey interview with me, Tim described the confirmation bias.

He also presented “Four Foundational Questions” that are required to define positioning, and subsequently content, with effective differentiation.

Tim observes that agencies have “lots of irrational fear around selecting a niche”, but that in fact, the most profitable agencies are the most focused.

Watch the interview I conducted with Tim to learn about these questions.  See how you can sharpen your positioning and your focus, and grow more profitable.

*See Thought Leader material and related resources below, including blog posts, interviews and a webinar:

Blog Posts

Mark O’Brien: No Silver Bullets for Agency New Business

Blair Enns: The Only New Business Indicator That Matters

Jay Baer: Account-Based Marketing –What’s in it for Agency New Business?

Michael Gass: Fish Away from the Boat

Peter Caputa IV: Differentiate and Articulate – Emphatically

Tim Williams:  Agency New Business Success is NOT about LOCATION!



Mark O’Brien: Marketing Automation and Agency New Business

Blair Enns:  Have a Polarizing Point of View

Michael Gass:  Lose Your Fear of Positioning

Peter Caputa Interview: “Table Stakes” for Agency New Business



Inbound Cannot Live Alone – Agency New Business Webinar


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.