Positioning and productising are a perfect pair

By Joe Daniels | Updated on: May 02, 2023

I recently did an Agency Hackers Mastermind in which I shared our journey of taking consultative, strategic work and turning it into fully-processed, polished-up packages that made us way more efficient as an agency.

You can check that out here if you’re a member. But at least read the rest of this article first.

Because it occurred to me afterwards (all the best ideas are late to the party) that a key reason we were able to package up our services was that we were so well positioned.

And so I thought I’d explore that notion further in a blog post with a title packed with more p’s than an evening with Donald Trump.

That’s right, I’m going to shower you with pure, unadulterated gold.


Why you should think about productising

For a lot of agencies, coming up with concrete processes around what they do and then bundling that up into clear packages is a bit of a holy grail. So grab your fedora and whip, because we’re going on an adventure.

The reason so many agencies obsess over productising is that if you get it right it brings a whole roster of benefits.

Firstly, it makes it a lot easier to sell your services. Prospects can simply look at what you have on offer, make their choice, and buy it. They know exactly what they’re going to get. Much easier than having to faff around choosing different services and tiers and packaging it all up yourself.

Secondly, it makes your team’s life easier too. Instead of having to come up with convoluted briefs and having things fall through the cracks, instead of having to reinvent the wheel for every client, your team can just follow the process. They know what to deliver and how to deliver it.

Thirdly - taking the above into account - it means you get more money. Easy.

Which is funny because…

Productising is bloody hard

Lots of agencies try and fail to productise. There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes what you do is just naturally bespoke and will always change from client to client. Sometimes you work with clients who want a more tailored approach, and would hate the idea of a cookie-cutter process.

Luckily, both of those obstacles can be overcome with a bit of thought. But one common reason why agencies struggle to make productising work is that they’re positioned poorly.

Because an agency without any clear positioning is an agency that does a bit of everything for anyone. And it’s pretty much impossible to package up a bit of everything into a product. Especially given you don’t have clarity on who you’re even selling your products to.

And even if we move away from the market positioning and towards narrative positioning, if you don’t stand for something, then your products won’t stand for anything either. And at that point you’re really just offering the same services as you were before, just with a catchier name.

So let’s look at the flip side…

Why positioning makes productising so much easier

So a simple way positioning makes productising easier is if you’re positioned in a niche.

If you’re doing one particular thing then it stands to reason that your packages practically define themselves. If all you do is Google Ads, then you just have to come up with a few different packages based around that.

Equally, if you’re doing stuff for one particular type of client, then build your packages around the major pain points that type of client has. 

If you’re niched both ways, then you probably don’t even need to productise. You’re already there.

But what about agencies that don’t want to niche. More and more we’re seeing agencies choose to position around a narrative. Does that still help you when it comes to productising? Well, yes it does actually.

Most narrative positioning is based around solving a core problem. That problem might be one that clients face, it might be one your industry faces, or it might be one society is facing. Or maybe it spans all three.

The point is, once your agency is dedicated to solving a particular problem, then your packages and products should all be designed with a solution to that problem in mind.

Positioning is all about priorities. And once you have your priorities, productising is way, way easier. Piss easy, some might say.

What the heck should I do now?

Of course, I’m not remotely suggesting that positioning your agency and then using that to guide your productising is a walk in the park. It’ll still take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make it happen.

But if you think your positioning is one of the reasons you’re struggling to make it work (and the whole point of this article is to suggest it is) then that should be your first port of call.

If only there was an agency that had a lovely packaged up positioning product you could purchase…

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