OPINION: A sensible approach to pitching is long overdue

Nothing sets an agency’s adrenalin flowing like a pitch. The shared experience of the hectic behind-the-scenes preparation. The elation if the show proves a winner.

Nothing sets an agency’s adrenalin flowing like a pitch. The shared

experience of the hectic behind-the-scenes preparation. The elation if

the show proves a winner.



Sure, there are many other sensible and efficient ways for clients to

assign their accounts. Of course, the process can be a huge and

expensive gamble. But the agency world would be a far duller place were

pitches consigned to history.



Nevertheless, the Results Business Consultancy is right to warn agencies

to keep pitches in perspective and not to rush headlong after new

accounts while paying insufficient attention to those they already

have.



Although the survey (Campaign, last week) is based on the responses of

just 45 clients, the message is clear. Too many agency marriages hit the

rocks because the courtships have been too swift and are not taken

seriously enough. As a result, neither partner knows enough about the

other and recriminations begin.



In 1995 the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers and the

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising vowed to help improve matters

with a pitching charter. No more pitches that were only ’virility

displays’ by newly appointed marketing directors, no more than three

agencies on a pitch-list and clients to contribute towards pitch costs

were its main points.



Almost four years on, ’rogue’ pitches are still a fact of life and

agencies will still drop clients to take on larger ones in the same

category. Both sides have an interest in stopping this destructive

process. This latest survey suggests there is a long way to go.



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