Agency positioning: Does your packaging reflect your true value?

Written by: Karl Sakas

A few years ago, I was driving to a speaking engagement in South Carolina when I stopped to get gas.

Waiting in line for the bathroom at the gas station, I looked at large bins of over-the-counter medicine—pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, etc.

They were cheap—approximately $1 apiece for a small box of each. I admired their marketing appeal as an impulse purchase.

The sleep aid was in a blue box and the antihistamine was in a pink box. As I continued to wait for the bathroom—the person ahead of me was taking forever—I noticed something odd.

Same Drug, Different Packages

The blue and pink boxes contained the exact same drug. Different dosages, but the exact same drug.

Through different packaging, people would buy them as two different products, to solve two different problems—”I’m itchy” versus “I can’t sleep.” This applies to your agency’s work, too!

Look at Your Agency’s Packaging

Look at your agency’s services. Are you packaging them the right way? Does your marketing language resonate with your ideal clients?

I’m currently helping a client develop packages for their agency’s services. They serve two types of software startups—early-stage and Series A.

Those clients have very different expectations; early-stage software startups are building their product, while Series A startups are focused on growing traction. Yet the two kinds of startups have overlap when it comes to the agency’s services—they need “Think, Teach, and Do.” They also need help moving their products forward.

Ultimately, my client decided to have a single services page with sub-pages to appeal to each client niche. The goal is to show each type of startup that the agency “gets” them.

Packaging Impacts Value, Which Impacts Price, Which Impacts Profits

Consider job titles—content strategists tend to get paid more than “mere” copywriters. Should they get paid more, or is it just marketing? It depends on the person—but they’ve illustrated the power of language.

Value: Making $25,000 or $125,000?

If someone is organized, they could be an administrative assistant—where they’ll make $30,000 to $50,000. Or they could be a project manager—and make $40,000 to $125,000. Or they could apply the same skillset as an executive assistant—and make $60,000 to $100,000.

The higher-paying rules require more experience and, importantly, higher levels of responsibility. But in any ambitious person’s career arc, there are times when they lever-up to make themselves more valuable.

Marketing Advice… Business Advice… or Business Results

Does your agency sell marketing advice? Or business advice? Clients pay more for business advice. And they pay even more for business results. (For more on this, see my “Strategy Tiers” concept.)

Higher prices imply higher value—and to better client self-selection:

  • One agency owner mentioned that his $4K clients often have more unreasonable expectations than his $75K clients.
  • Another agency leader told me his $72K/year clients are more demanding than his $500K/year clients.
  • I’ve seen a similar trend, where clients get stressed about something that’s small for me… but big for them. I bet you’ve seen something similar with your clients, too!

Packaging and positioning aren’t just marketing—they’re a choice about self-identity. What identity do you choose?

Question: Are you satisfied with where your agency is today, or do you aspire to more?

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