Coming into 2023, creative agencies across the UK have faced a tough period with demand for services. The effect of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, supply chain disruption and the cost-of-living crisis can be seen across our industry.
Most agencies are used to pitching competitively, but as we respect the need for clients to engage with multiple agencies on a brief, us agencies also expect to be respected for the time, effort and resource that goes into an agency pitch process. Especially in the current market we find ourselves in.
So, we thought we’d share our top tips on pitch best practices…
The Power of Three
They say three is the magic number, well it certainly is within a pitch process. For the client, it gives the opportunity to engage with a variety of agencies and to see how the brief can be interpreted by different creative minds.
Pitching doesn’t just take agency time; clients also need to allow time and resource to manage the process and review each proposal in depth to identify the very best agency partners to work with.
For the agency, it ultimately gives a higher chance to secure the work which allows for more investment into a brief which will inevitably lead to a better end result.
The Need for Time
Ideas normally don’t spark from sitting around a desk. They come from research, debate, subconscious thinking, and strategic evaluation. A well-thought-out response to brief needs time for development. It’s always refreshing when a prospective client allocates a good chunk of time dedicated to agency pitch development.
The Role of Chemistry Sessions
Chemistry sessions work well for both client and agency. It’s a great way to select the best fitting agencies to go through to pitch. For the client, it gives the opportunity to meet a wider pool of agencies, interrogate and ask some interesting first round questions and perhaps even explore some initial creative territories.
For agencies, it allows the chance to bring to life the agency offering, values and personality. And to give a first take on the brief without the investment of loads of time and resource that is required from a full advertising pitch process.
Chemistry sessions are also a great way to see which marketing agencies, digital marketing and media agencies might work best together.
It’s all about the idea
It’s imperative to explore the potential of an idea and how it can be translated across media platforms.
But ultimately, it’s about coming up with a winning idea that delivers to brief, the rest will follow if the idea is solid enough. A creative response to brief is stronger if we give the most focus to the hero idea.
Be engaged in the pitch process
Virtual pitching has obviously been essential throughout the pandemic but there’s no doubt it limits interaction and natural conversation, which are both needed when responding and reacting to a creative presentation.
One of the best advertising pitches I’ve been in was for a global car brand. We had fifteen minutes to sell an idea to key global marketing teams. Armed with an inflatable flamingo we had to creatively plan and prepare how to best bring the creative to life in that time. The whole room were engaged, absorbed in the creative and we did the job.
It’s little nuances we can do to help bring the creative to life and ultimately win the work, and that’s the role of the agency’s pitch team. Client side, it’s important that all key stakeholders are involved and engaged in the pitch presentation so as a team you’re able to make informed decisions and decide on the agency to proceed with.
An idea is brought to life by interrogation which is one of the reasons face-to-face pitching is preferred.
So interrogate, question agencies, help us by letting us answer questions that would otherwise remain unanswered from an unresponsive presentation.
And lastly, please give feedback
Directional and honest post-pitch feedback is invaluable. It allows agencies to grow and learn for both work we secure and work we lose. Taking a couple of minutes to provide feedback to agencies is really appreciated for the investment that goes into a pitch.
Be respectful, be responsive, be transparent, and play fair… the winning combination for a successful pitch process!