Ever put a bumper sticker on your car?

I have – usually during political election seasons.

Bumper stickers typically very clearly and very succinctly articulate an idea or a position.

If you had to create a bumper sticker for your agency, what would it say?

How would it define your point of difference in a way that is compelling enough to get marketers to want to sit down and talk with you?

If you tell me your bumper sticker says that you’re strategic or hard working or a dedicated partner, I will simply cry.

I’ve told this story before…but I’ll tell it again – to make my point.

Back in 2007, I presented to a group of 20 agency principals.  During that presentation, I asked them to outline their elevator pitch.  19 of the 20 agencies told me that what made them different, was the fact that they were strategic and fun to work with and hard working.

While all of this is great and each and every agency needs to do all of these things, these aren’t the things that are going to attract a new marketing client when you’re reaching out to them.  They are things that will help you keep your relationship strong and help your marketing clients feel like every day is the first day of the relationship.  In our annual surveys among marketers, we know that it’s these things (when they are not delivered) that cause marketers to look for a new firm.

So how do you define your bumper?


While it’s certainly possible that your positioning won’t fit on one bumper sticker…it may need two or three…but regardless, it still should be tight and clear and unique to who you are.

Think about where your strengths are.

Are they sector specific?  Do you have an expertise in a specific type of work?  Is the there a commonality in the types of problems that you solve for clients?  Is there a similarity in the types of clients you represent (in size or market position)?  Do you have technical expertise in a specific area?  Are you so tapped into an industry, gathering up insights from some pretty unique sources that put you in a position that proves advantageous versus other agencies?

These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself – or the kinds of questions you need to ask your clients.

Once you define it, live it, breath it, carry it across everything you do.

Put it on a bumper sticker and bring it to life!


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.