Pitches are much easier for both sides if there is a clear understanding about what the opportunity represents from the outset. What are the timings? What other agencies are involved? Why is the business up for pitch? Who will be involved?
Transparency will benefit clients too as agencies will have the information they need to fully commit to the pitch.
And because the quality of briefing can vary from the first to the last meeting, consider holding just one briefing session for all the agencies involved in the pitch.
This ensures consistency of message, saves time for the client and encourages senior people on the agency side to get involved from the outset.
The pitch process should be approached with respect by both sides.
For a start, senior people should be involved from day one. That way agencies can be judged fairly and an informed decision made at the end of the process.
It helps if clients are clear about what they want the agency to do, they could even consider paying a fee as a sign of good intent.
And rather than chasing after every piece of new business, agencies should be discerning about the pitches they get involved in and be clear what they can offer the client.
It takes bravery on both sides to conduct a good pitch.
Just as clients need to firmly refuse last minute applications to join the pitch list, agencies need to request more clarity or time if the brief is poor or timescales are too tight.
And if a client reaches a point when they think they might choose one of two agencies, being honest and eliminating all other agencies from the pitch process will save the agencies from wasting their time.
It’s also better if a client lets an incumbent agency know if they don’t stand a chance in a re-pitch. They’ll save them time and money and gain the agency’s respect.
And if you need a quick decision or would prefer a strategic solution without the creative, don’t hesitate to consider Pitch Alternatives.
4. Communication & Access
A successful pitch begins and ends with full co-operation between client and agency.
Clients should treat all pitching agencies as if they were the incumbent, giving them access to all the information they need to prepare their best pitch. They need to be available to talk to the pitching agencies and clearly map out the pitch process from the outset, so that everyone knows where they stand.
It’s worth keeping pitches as short as possible. Everyone benefits because it keeps costs down and minimizes uncertainty.
Lengthy negotiations can extend the pitch process too. So, aim to set a timescale that includes all aspects of the pitch and stick to it where possible.
6. Working together
One of the ways you can get a pitch off to a good start is by agreeing to sign the IPA/ISBA pre-pitch NDA. If clients or agencies are not willing to respect these principles, they are probably best avoided.