STANDOUT agencies think like a supermarket

I talk a lot about agency positioning. In fact, 2 whole chapters of my book STANDOUT OR DIE are dedicated to the subject. It’s that important to creating a STANDOUT agency.

The agency I owned for over 15 years was well positioned. It focused on clients in the UK value retail sector. This was a successful strategy, but it also taught me a lot. You don’t spend that much time with retailers and not learn a thing or two.
But what can your average supermarket teach us about agency positioning? Turns out quite a lot actually.

Supermarket shoppers, like clients looking for agencies, have a problem: too much choice. Too much choice in supermarkets leads to choice overload. Shoppers get frustrated, buy less, and leave early.

So what do my retail friends do about this? Firstly, they continually review the number and type of products they stock. Nevertheless, your average supermarket still stocks more than 30k products. So what else do they do to help their customers find what they need?

Two things:

  1. Navigation – Supermarkets arrange their stores in familiar and clearly marked product groups. The Fruit & Veg section, the Beers, Wines & Spirits department, the Frozen Food aisle etc.
  2. Segmentation – Within these areas the stores segment the products down further. Dog Food and Cat Food, wine from France and wine from Italy etc.

If you own an independent agency you are competing against thousands of others. Don’t claim you are a one stop shop, full-service, agency. Your agency is not the shop, it’s a product. Think about how you can help your clients find you amongst all the noise.

Navigation – Where is your product in the store? (What does your agency actually do?)

Segmentation – Who is your product trying to appeal to? (Who is your agency target audience?)

Stop thinking you ARE a supermarket and think LIKE a supermarket.