Category Experience, or lack of it can be a challenge for a small regional agency. In the big national and global shops, there’s experience in every category and medium that you can think of—been there, done that. If they don’t have specific experience in a particular category for a client that they’re pitching, they just call the Dallas office, or the one in London, or Rangoon. But for the regional and small shops in our own town, it can be a high hurdle. That’s a misdirected focus. If you’re a small shop in Western New York, Scranton or Fargo, and you’ve been around for some years, you have experience with the most important category of all. It’s the market, the consumers buying the products. It’s likely you’ve been selling those very consumers every imaginable product from banking to hardware to fitness centers. You know how old they are, how much their homes costs, who they’re likely to vote for, what motivates them and what annoys them.

You know what those local purchasers and end-users are buying, why they’re buying it and what they need to be convinced of to make whatever purchase your perspective client wants them to make. And you know what they typically are willing to spend for value.

The worst is when a large out-of-town shop comes into your town and grabs a local client with the promise of size, glitz and specific category experience, even though the target market is your own front yard. This is supposed to be your town. No one should be able to come into your house and kick your ass.