There has been increasing scrutiny about the pitching process and its necessity due to the physical, mental and financial costs of pitching on agencies as well as the environmental waste that many pitches accrue.
At The Observatory International we are signatories of the Pitch Positive Pledge founded by ISBA and the IPA with ambition to improve pitching behaviours. We have believed for many years that when a pitch is run, it should be run for the right reasons and in a manner that holds up to scrutiny. A poorly run pitch can impact a brand in multiple ways, from poor pitch behaviours resulting in reputational damage to a less rigorous process resulting in wasted time, effort and potentially greater environmental wastage.
Below we run through why using a pitch consultant like The Observatory International can help ensure a positive pitch process for both client and agencies.
- Dedicated Subject Matter Experts
Agency reviews are time consuming and can be disruptive to both a client and agency’s operations. Using a Consultant ensures that you have dedicated subject matter experts on your team who manage pitch processes as their “day job”, ensuring you bypass all the pitfalls that can slow you down. A dedicated Consultant will generally also act as a sole point of contact for your team and the agencies involved. This not only saves the client a lot of time meaning that they can continue with their day to day work, but also means that we can make sure we uphold the pledge of maintaining healthy communication habits ensuring the wellbeing of both client and agency staff.
- Independence & Integrity
It is essential that the pitch process is objective, stands up to scrutiny, is transparent and retains integrity. Pitch consultants are experts in identifying agencies that are appropriate to client’s needs and have unparalleled knowledge about the agency marketplace. The Observatory International has an entirely client facing model. We do not take money from agencies – be that by acting as new business consultants for agencies whilst also running pitches for brands, nor do we take fees from agencies to be part of a club or to be on pitch lists nor any form of ‘win’ fees. This ensures that we are truly independent and impartial and we recommend agencies that are appropriate to client needs only.
Using a pitch consultant also signals that you are serious as a client, it demonstrates that you are not just running a pitch to put pressure on the incumbent agency around cost negotiation and that you are running a process based on a genuine business need.
- A Managed Process With Robust Timings
Working with a pitch consultant provides clients with a dedicated project manager, who will design a process that is tailored to their business needs and also considers best practice timings and milestones to ensure that not too much is asked of the pitching agencies
Consultants can help make sure that the critical internal stakeholders and decision makers are on board and involved from the offset, with clear roles and responsibilities defined. The Observatory International’s proprietary tool Alignment Comparator™ensures that all team members are aligned from the start of a process on what they need from an agency and enables us to develop a robust scorecard based on client priorities.
Another essential element of running a positive pitch is providing a well-defined brief. As a pitch consultant we have helped clients of all shapes and sizes define their pitch briefs and we work with clients to develop clear and robust briefs for the agencies to pitch against. In the majority of reviews run by The Observatory International the work that is presented as part of the final presentation by the winning agency is utilised by the client. This has multiple benefits, not only is it more considerate of people, planet and profit and it also greatly reduces the time to market for clients and quickens the learning curve of the agency.
- Providing A Positive Resolution
Agencies who pitch for a client’s business will have invested a lot of time and money into the pitch process and it is only fair and reasonable that they receive feedback that is constructive and can provide learning for their next pitch. Our process allows us to gather structured feedback based on pre-agreed scoring criteria that ensures that the agency receives relevant and useful feedback.