Tim Williams for survey

If in Real Estate, it’s all about location, location, location, in Agency New Business, it’s all about Position, Position, Position.

The importance of a strong, differentiated agency position is a clear theme of our 2016 Thought Leader Survey Report.

Tim Williams for survey

Tim Williams, one of our Thought Leader Panelists is the Founder and Managing Director of The Ignition Group.  The questions he posed to agencies through our survey and the advice he offered provide a solid anchor for the significance and consequences of agency positioning.

Tim’s firm, The Ignition Group, helps agencies define a differentiated positioning strategy.  But their work doesn’t stop with defining positioning; they work with clients to EXECUTE positioning throughout all their business practices.

Many agencies are outstanding in leading their clients through development of strong positioning.  It’s surprising how difficult it seems to be for agencies to apply their talent to their own business.

A couple of Tim’s survey questions I wanted to highlight here are:

  1. On a scale of 1-5, to what extent do you agree/disagree with the following statement: My agency’s positioning  is unique relative to other agencies.

   Here’s how agencies answered:

Tim Williams post chart


Nearly two-thirds of agencies said they agree/strongly agree with this statement.

  1. In one sentence, please provide your agency’s elevator pitch.


Addendum II of the 2016 RSW/US Thought Leader Report provides dozens of verbatim responses.  Just a few are listed here:

  • 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.

Unfortunately, these examples just do not provide clear differentiated positioning.

In contrast, an example of a good, strong, highly differentiated statement is:

  • We market rock crushers, chemical processing equipment and sustainable building materials.


Do the verbatim answers we received support the assessment of nearly 67% of responding agencies that their positioning is unique relative to other agencies?

You be the judge.  The responses begin on page 69 of the 2016 RSW/US Thought Leader Survey Report.  Download the report here.

Be sure to read Tim’s section as well and see how agencies across the country weighed in on all of Tim’s questions about developing their firm’s positioning.

You’ll see why in agency new business success is not about location, but rather, POSITION.


Read more from our Thought Leaders Survey panelists and consider how their recommendations can benefit your agency new business program:

Mark O’Brien:  No Silver Bullets

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: Differentiate and Articulate – Emphatically


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.