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Pitch Perfect?

You've got 99 problems, but a pitch ain't one!

Autumn – season of mists mellow, fruitfulness and… pitches.  2015 marketing plans are written, but who will transform your strategy into your sales campaign?

A Pitch! Of course! You need to choose a partner! One who will be faithful, truthful, supportive, in sickness and in…well it can be like marrying…based on a brief beauty parade and one date! You could end up regretting your choice of partner…or even ending up with a nervous sibling (AKA the junior account team)? So how do you avoid that and make sure you end up with your ideal partner?

Firstly, do you even need a pitch? If your current ‘partner’ has consistently delivered great work, on time, on budget – why go elsewhere? Pitching costs everyone. You spend time crafting a brief, completing paperwork, selecting the pitch list and sitting through the pitches. Agencies commit huge amounts of time and money. A 2014 consumer agency survey found that clients believed the cost of a large pitch was ~£31K, in reality it was ~£178K.  The size of pharma pitches and the costs are usually lower, but the discrepancy between client belief and agency cost is probably similar. 

If you really need to pitch, keep the pitch list small. 

Secondly, be honest and transparent with your suitors. The current obsession with keeping the competitors and even the budgets secret make the pitch a nonsense. Given this information, an agency can make decisions about whether to take part or not and how much to invest in the opportunity. But most importantly, they can deliver ‘the proposal’ that you will say yes to… letting you compare more accurately across all potential partners and letting them ‘show off’ ideas that will work within budget.
Tell them who they will be pitching to – helping them ensure the right team is available to deal with any questions that, say, I.T. may have.

Thirdly – respect the process. Agencies will have invested heavily and deserve the opportunity to present to all decision makers involved. Read any proposal documents, costings and timelines you have requested in advance. Use the proposal to select those who are a good fit for you in terms of budget, size and experience. It’s fine to cut down the pitch list, you will be saving everyone including the excluded agencies time and money. 

Next – Agencies ultimately want to fit in with your ‘family’ becoming part of your marketing team. Doing that requires a chance to get involved, share information and truly understand what it is that you want. This will ensure your vision is delivered and any potential issues can be raised and solved at an early stage.

Let’s talk!  Don’t give agencies just one chance to pop the question, or share the responses with the whole pitch list.  The agency takes considerable time to craft their questions, and they don’t want to give away their ‘Big Idea’ to the competition. In the build-up to the pitch, as the agency undertakes research into your sector, more and more questions naturally occur.

Finally – timescales.

Four weeks: Time to arrange a big fat gypsy ‘Wedding’ ceremony… 3 weeks: Local registry office and a cold buffet… 2 weeks: Gretna Green on a wet and windy day. Be fair – don’t issue the pitch documents at 5.30pm on Christmas Eve with a presentation date of 2nd January. Ok, whoever puts together a pitch in that time is dedicated (or desperate), but you are not respecting your potential partner, which sets the tone for the future relationship.

And feedback fully within a week if possible, not more than 2. Agencies hit the client timescales, keep the respect going by giving rapid constructive and honest feedback.

Follow these 7 ‘R’s of agency Relationships and enjoy your honeymoon and anniversaries….

Clare CHamberlain, Strategic Director CAN Advertising 

19th June 2015



Company Details

CAN advertising

+44 (0) 1753 272073

Contact Website

CAN advertising Ltd
59 Thames Street
United Kingdom

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