Having spent some time ‘moaning’ about how not to run a pitch, how people run bad pitches, making it difficult for agencies and clients alike to really decide on the right partner. I thought it worth putting some ideas down on what makes a good pitch.
So, here are some tips, based on 20 years of doing and running pitches;
- Budgets – set a budget and tell the agencies what it is. There are few things worse than working on a pitch thinking its 50k, to find out it’s only actually 5k. All of your ideas become a complete waste of time in the first ten minutes of the pitch. I think that people think that if they don’t tell you the budget it allows you to be creative, to see really what is possible, but in reality it just means the agency is working in the dark.
- Numbers – limit the number of agencies to 4. If you go for more than 4 it’s too many for you to judge effectively. 4 gives each agency a genuine numerical chance, and also allows you to satisfy the procurement people.
- Real – keep the brief real – pick a real subject, a real project and tell the agencies all they need to know about it. Never, ever make a brief up, if you do, then you are less likely to be able to answer any questions, and to be honest, what is the point? You won’t get a real feeling for how the agency can work on your real project.
- Time – give the agencies time – time to prepare their response (but not too much, two weeks is usually enough), and also time to prepare their materials without you in the room (nothing is worse than trying to set up your stuff in front of 15 people) and then give them time to pitch – don’t give them just 30 minutes, it’s often not enough.
- Relationship – in the end you are surely looking for an agency you can work with. So having a long tick sheet of questions is useful, but don’t make it the be all and end all of the review. You are looking for people who you can build a relationship with and produce great work. A pitch is one snapshot of what they can do in isolation.
- Clear up – In between each pitch, put the work, the files, the screens out of the way. Ideally out of the room. Also, make sure that you keep the pitch area professional, don’t leave lunch lying around, or cold cups of coffee, don’t leave papers strewn all over the desk. Show the agency the respect you want them to show you.
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