Nailing your agency positioning has become an integral part of new business over the last few years. But what does this actually entail? How can we look at our own businesses and work out what best suits you? Won’t niching reduce the amount of new biz we have coming in rather than increase it?

We spoke to Roland Gurney, founder of Treacle on how we can make niching work for our agencies.

A Saturated Marketplace

“Agencies are great, fantastic creative businesses. But the barrier to entry is increasingly low, so there are more and more entrants to the market. You could start with nothing but selling some hope to a client and not need to have anything. It’s a real frictionless thing to start.” Says Roland.

“But what’s happening is the market is becoming busier and busier, potentially even saturated and possibly even flooded with entrants. So standing out becomes harder and harder to achieve.”

So how do we make our agency positioning stand out?

The Three Ds

In order to make our positioning work, we have to make sure it follow the “3Ds”: Distinct, Desirable and Defensible.

  • Is the agency offering something different enough to shrink our consideration set?
  • Are we appealing to the prospects we want to work with? (NOT our current or previous clients)
  • Have we got the expertise to back up our chosen niche. If not, what are we going to do to get it?


We can make our offering distinct in several ways: By vertical, by service, by approach/process, purpose or fight, problem and solution, pricing or delivery model and brand and personality.


All of the above need to be specific and geared to solving the pain points of our prospects. They have to really want what we are offering them, otherwise this is a pointless exercise. In short, we need to talk to them!


Whilst we do need to make a leap of faith with our positioning, we do need to validate it with our prospects. This is tied in to having that expertise. We need to research what our prospects want and need and position based on this information and our (informed) best guess of what that is.

“You wanna put it out there for at least six months, I think anything less than that is not giving it fair chance.

It’s going to take time. Anytime you shift people’s perceptions, that doesn’t happen overnight, you can’t just flick a switch.”

So time to get out there, taking that leap of faith and really nailing your agency positioning.

Roland Gurney, Founder, Treacle

Roland is the founder of Treacle who push you to be even more focused, distinctive and exciting – giving you structured processes, constructive challenge, and that turn of phrase that turns heads.

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