Why focus is the best way ahead for high-performing advertising and marketing organizations

Why focus is the best way ahead for high-performing advertising and marketing organizations

In my earlier article, I wrote about why inventive advertising and marketing groups should break away from the outdated working fashions to make sure longevity. It included a five-point framework for making a high-performing group:

  • Proposition: Aligning and concentrating your advertising and marketing agency’s or in-house company’s efforts with a centered imaginative and prescient, positioning technique and worth proposition. 
  • Ideas: Unifying folks with a shared set of working rules on the way to lead, collaborate, talk and make choices of their work.
  • Folks: Aligning organizational construction, staffing {and professional} improvement alternatives to ship on imaginative and prescient, technique and worth proposition. 
  • Course of: Using light-weight processes and instruments for nimble methods of working.
  • Efficiency: Measuring, analyzing and bettering how your agency or in-house company works. 

On this article, I’ll dive into “Proposition” and clarify why aligning your group’s efforts with a centered imaginative and prescient, positioning technique and worth proposition issues. I’ll additionally chart a course you should use to get began.

Constructing your basis for focus

There may be such a low barrier to opening a inventive advertising and marketing agency in the present day. Droves of expertise are leaving companies and opening their very own corporations or becoming a member of revolutionary expertise communities and matchmaking market. The market is saturated with inventive and advertising and marketing service suppliers. 

We even have CMOs bringing growing quantities of labor internally. Because of this, many in-house manufacturing studios have grown and developed, increasing their companies and changing into higher generally known as in-house companies.

To thrive on this surroundings, your group should turn out to be a novel supplier of centered experience that others can’t replicate. It’s the one technique to safe a market place secure from the ocean of sameness.

Advertising and marketing purchasers search well-positioned “best-in-class” companions with slim and deep experience greater than a variety of lower-value companies. The times of offering all sorts of companies to all types of purchasers are behind us.

At this time, providing all kinds of companies doesn’t scale. It’s pricey, inefficient and creates chaotic working environments. 

Focus is what scales. With it, you may:

  • Focus sources towards a coherent technique.
  • Shortly enhance the abilities of your folks, your companies and your inner methods of working as a result of they’re centered on only one or a couple of particular options or companies.
  • Deploy folks’s experience throughout a big shopper base as a result of they replicate the identical centered service areas.
  • Simply preserve alignment between technique, working mannequin and day-to-day choices.

Focus makes working your group a lot simpler and extra worthwhile. You possibly can produce higher work, which helps with recruitment, worker morale and retention.

Creating a centered, differentiating positioning technique

Profitable inventive advertising and marketing organizations align their sources round a centered and differentiating positioning technique. They put money into increasing their distinctive experience and what they’re greatest at, whereas shedding or outsourcing different pricey or distracting capabilities. 

Because of this, they achieve quite a lot of advantages.

  • For inventive advertising and marketing corporations:
    • A well-defined standards for concentrating on supreme purchasers.
    • A stronger win ratio in new enterprise since you are taking part in to your strengths.
    • Stronger pricing energy.
    • Discount of prices.
    • Higher margins.
    • Clearer course for the way to spend time, cash and sources.
    • A broader — not narrower — geographical market from purchasers looking for your experience.
    • Fewer rivals saying they will do what you do.
  • For in-house companies:
    • Readability on which inner purchasers you might be greatest at serving.
    • Stronger shopper alignment on when and the way to work together with your staff.
    • Simpler to create alternatives to work on higher-value initiatives.
    • Elevated credibility amongst stakeholders and purchasers.
    • More likely to be seen as a strategic accomplice.
    • Discount of agency-wide prices.
    • Larger help and funding for staffing and instruments.
    • Much less overlap and competitors with exterior corporations.

Charting your course ahead

To develop a centered, differentiating positioning technique, begin by answering these 4 questions. 

1. Who are our greatest clients? What markets or audiences do we all know greatest?

Defining an efficient positioning technique means clearly defining and understanding your supreme buyer — the sorts of purchasers you’re greatest suited to serve. 

This requires exploring your expertise inside totally different enterprise classes, market segments, audiences and even enterprise fashions, relying on the purchasers you’ve served.

It could assist to establish the next:

  • The services or products classes you serve and carry out nicely.
  • The distribution and supply channels you serve greatest.
  • The inner and exterior stakeholders you understand greatest.
  • The sorts of audiences and market segments you understand higher than anybody.
  • The sorts of manufacturers you serve greatest.

Artistic advertising and marketing agency instance

Company Sacks has outlined its who as “prosperous customers.” They’ll affect the prosperous because the viewers they know greatest. 

Agency Sacks

In-house company instance

ESPN’s CreativeWorks defines their who as sports activities followers, which makes good sense.

ESPN's CreativeWorks

2. What are our core competencies? During which areas are we actually best-in-class?

You could past figuring out capabilities and discover what it’s you may ship higher in a reliable, differentiating method. 

Look into:

  • Distinctive abilities your staff could possess.
  • Communication channels you understand greatest.
  • Buyer factors of contact who you understand greatest alongside the client journey.
  • Distinctive strategic belongings you personal.
  • Outcomes your purchasers persistently search from you.
  • Advantages you may ship repeatedly.

These are alternative ways of trying on the identical query. Usually, we are able to discover a sample by separating companies into totally different abilities and talents. Then, we are able to reorganize them to inform a compelling story about the place you might be actually greatest in school.


Tribe has centered their what to be on inner communications. Their course additionally works with their who — the viewers they know greatest are the workers of worldwide and nationwide manufacturers. 


3. How are we totally different in the best way we predict? Do we now have distinguishing approaches or philosophies?

That is the way you establish the requirements, values and beliefs by which your company operates, serves purchasers and makes day-to-day choices. It’s additionally concerning the proprietary approaches you convey to fixing shopper issues.


  • The philosophies or beliefs that gasoline how you’re employed.
  • The strategies and approaches you employ.
  • Your “firsts” and main organizational milestones.
  • Your entry to specialised sources.
  • Your beliefs about organizational design, construction or work surroundings.

Artistic advertising and marketing corporations and in-house companies may be tempted to choose the reply to those questions as the premise of their technique. It requires much less focus and sacrifice than basing your technique on the who or what questions. However going the simple method makes for a weak technique. 

Only some organizations actually have a philosophy or method to their work that’s uniquely their very own.


TBWA is a superb instance of a positioning technique that hinges on the query how. The agency owns the thought of disruption. No different company can say they’re the “Disruption” firm as TBWA does. They’ve created disruption workshops, instruments, a consultancy, disruption days and 4 books on the topic.


4. Why can we exist within the first place? What’s our calling?

With out exception, essentially the most notable advertising and marketing organizations have an bold purpose for present. They don’t let the market, competitors or financials drive their purpose for present. 

What drives your group from the within? Your function should be the middle of who you might be as a company.

Why is essentially the most troublesome query to reply. To assist outline your calling, take into consideration the next: 

  • Past earning money, what’s our function?
  • If our folks have been volunteers as a substitute of staff, what would drive them to volunteer?
  • What are the issues we’ll at all times do?
  • What are the issues we’ll by no means do?
  • What can we preach? 
  • What are we towards?
  • What can we struggle for?
  • What would we wish to obtain if we knew we couldn’t fail?


Widespread Good’s why is to make well being and happiness accessible to anybody, in order that they struggle for the manufacturers that share this function.

Common Good

Different examples of in-house company positioning

In-house companies will base their positioning on who they know greatest, which will likely be their firm’s manufacturers and respective buyer bases. Some examples embrace:

  • BBC Artistic
  • Anheuser Busch’s Draftline
  • Google’s Artistic Lab 5 or their Model Studio EMEA

Many in-house companies additionally design their organizations to be “full-service.” Subsequently, they received’t usually restrict their service providing to the diploma that the what query requires to develop a strategic benefit towards different service suppliers.

Nevertheless, the query of what continues to be important as a result of it may be used to speak the kind of inventive work an in-house company is greatest suited to ship. For instance, are you greatest at manufacturing work or technique and artistic concepting?

Sadly, I’m unaware of any in-house companies that reply how or why in a differentiating method on a publicly accessible web site. When you’ve got any examples to share, please let me know.

Subsequent steps to changing into a high-performing advertising and marketing group

By answering the questions above, you may outline a positioning technique to extend your organizations’ worth and relevance. It is going to level the best way towards the way to design your working mannequin and convey your technique to life.

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Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor creator and never essentially MarTech. Employees authors are listed right here.