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ADVERTISING: Six Advertising Pitch Tips


Recent Gauteng Business News

On a trip to London earlier this year Johanna McDowell, Managing Director of Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), attended the AdForum London Summit where she engaged with international colleagues in the intermediary/pitch consultant industry along with a number of advertising agencies where she received these advertising pitch tips.

During the Summit the IAS was offered a newly published booklet containing “6 pitch principles” that the IAS has decided to share with South African agencies and clients. These principles were compiled by ISBA( The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers) together with IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising).

Your Six Advertising Pitch Tips

1. Openness and transparency
Ask yourself, is there a need to pitch in the first place? Clarifying the business opportunity is key from the outset.

In most pitches there is an unnecessary amount of secrecy. Do you need to keep the name and numbers of agencies, budgets and timeframes a secret?

There needs to be transparency all the way through the process, to allow agencies to make informed decisions on whether to pitch and to assure clients full participation and a more straight forward pitch journey.

For fairness and consistency all agencies should be briefed on the pitch at the same time.

2. Respect
Treat pitching with the respect it deserves. It requires senior involvement/authority from both sides from day one. Don’t just bring the decision makers in at the end of the process. Only with senior client involvement from day one can the agencies be judged fairly. Consider paying a pitch fee compensation fee to an agency as a sign of good intent.

Design and instigate a process that gets your housekeeping in order before the pitch.

Agencies need to be discerning about what they pitch for. Be clear about it that the opportunities are right for the agency business.

3. Bravery
On the part of both clients and agencies.

Push back on bad briefs or too much/too little time and always challenge bad practice.

Eliminate agencies, including the incumbent, along the way if they really don’t have a chance. You will end up saving them a lot of heartache and money.

Explore the fact there may be alternative ways of pitching that could be more efficient and effective for the task in hand.

4. Access and navigation
Have the process clearly mapped out from the outset in terms of numbers, timings, people involvement and location. Who is the decision-maker, and what will the decision be based on?

5. Timing
Pitches can often go on too long. Set a timescale and stick to it.

A creative pitch in four weeks may not always be possible but could be worth aiming for.

Contemporary practice indicates that pitches are elongating mainly due to lengthy negotiations which should be contained within the pitch time frame.

6. Power of collective action
Be cautious of clients and agencies who are not willing to respect these principles.

At the very least remember the five P’s of pitching:
- Process
- Preparation
- Professionalism
- Partnership
- Payment

The Effectiveness of These Advertising Pitch Tips

The IAS are experts in facilitating a structured pitch process between client and agency that is impartial yet deeply knowledgeable regarding advertising agencies and their appropriateness. Affiliated with the AAR Group in the UK, the IAS follows the precise methodologies established by the AAR and offers tried and trusted methods that have been perfected over a 35 year period.

“We think that these principles are very sound and that they offer good guidance to clients and agencies regarding the pitching process. South Africa has already adopted and practiced many of these advertising pitch tips for some years so there are no surprises here. However, it is always good to have an update, comments McDowell.”

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