STANDOUT agencies don’t know who their competitors are.

STANDSTILL agencies don’t know who their competitors are.

STANDOUT agencies don’t have competitors.

STANDSTILL agencies have plenty of competition. There are thousands of agencies out there. But when I ask agency owners who – specifically – their competitors are, I usually get blank looks.

To be fair, the digital revolution has eliminated geographic boundaries. Few agencies are competing in local markets for local clients these days. You can easily find yourself competing against firms in Bristol and Brooklyn for the same piece of business.

STANDSTILL agencies have a bigger problem than communication though. They can’t name their main competitors because their offer is so broad. They don’t work with any particular types of clients and they purport to offer any number of services to them.

If your target market is EVERYBODY then your competition is EVERYBODY.

True STANDOUT agencies don’t have any competition. They position themselves in a market of one. Their target market and proposition is so tight and clearly defined that no other agency claims their territory. They become THE experts in their field.

I admit that such a position is difficult to achieve. Probably a better test for your agency is to see if you can get to a position somewhere in between. You’re not in a minority of one, but you can name a list of agencies that you either regularly compete with or you see as your competitive set.

How can you win a race if you don’t know who you’re competing with?