The Ethics of The Game – Competitive Agency Antics

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by on April 2, 2016

The Ethics of The Game – Competitive Agency Antics

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Gary Vaynerchuck recently said something to the effect that ‘I love people in other agencies,’ but when I put on my jersey and I get in the game, I’m going for blood. I’m ready to win.

There are a couple different things swimming around as general themes when it comes to the competition between agencies. There is an old 80’s mindset that you have to steal clients and man-handle relationships to get what you want, and another softer approach of giving a ton of value without expecting a ton in return. Clearly Gary isn’t an 80’s business man, he’s generally a ‘give a ton of value’ type guy so what is his prerogative of being so competitive?

Competition breeds value.

When Comcast has some weird monopoly over a market, you get shitty internet speeds and shittier customer service. When another service provider swoops in, suddenly Comcast has to watch their P’s and Q’s, lower prices and at least pretend to care about it’s customers.

The same happens with agencies, and in Minneapolis web design, and perhaps in your market as well there are a lot of options for companies you can get a website through. A couple that my agency competes with we see people that have worked with them come to us, and some of our clients have gone to them. Because we have to compete with them it drives us to be better, to glean insights from a lost client and to improve our work and process. The natural evolution through hardship is painful but ultimately useful to us and our future clients.

The sweet spot between cutthroat and iron sharpening iron

The truth is, from my perspective that there are more small, mid, and large businesses that need marketing and web design service at any one time that the agencies at our level, that all the quality web design freelancers could possibly help. So some competition is inevitable for ideal clients, but so many companies need work done that there’s no reason to worry if you’re good.

So to find that sweet spot of being competitive but also recognizing value of our competitors means we: 

  • Collaborate when there’s an opportunity to improve the overall marketplace
  • Build community around niches in the market and organize and attend events
  • Nurture relationships between different niches in the market for referrals
  • Hustle our asses off to win when we go up against another agency
  • Push ourselves to do our best work, because another agency might do better work otherwise

The best revenge is living well

No matter what, when someone seems to have unnecessarily stepped on our toes in a competitive market – let’s say they won a contract over us or did something we didn’t like…

  • We shake it off, it probably won’t matter much in a relatively short amount of time
  • We ask ourselves “What can we learn from this situation?”
  • We power-through and shoot for the next possible success.

Because.. well, the best revenge is living well. 


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