[Posted by Steven Noble]

Most interactive agencies owe their success to their tenacity, not strategy.

The cornerstone of strategy is focus, and that involves knowing how to say "no". For example:

  • "We only bid for integrated marketing campaigns, as our main strength is our diverse workforce which allows us to work across marketing disciplines"
  • "Our priority is winning simple, repeatable, web development projects because that allows us to be the cheapest local vendor in this market"
  • "We’ve walked away from most government and B2B work, because our business is built on creativity and consumer marketers are willing to pay for it"

Offering anything to anyone can be a strategy  — but only if you turn every service into a product, drive inefficiency out of every process, and say "no" to personal service. That doesn’t sound like many interactive agencies to me.

For most agencies, the first step towards creating a strategy is forcing themselves to decide where they’ll say "no" — which market opportunities they won’t chase — and relentlessly focusing on the rest.