Before you can commit to a pitch there are a number of key steps you must consider such as;
- Check the client/agency contract
Check the contract you have with your current agency and take note of the notice period and all terms of the contract. Notice must be given to the agency in accordance with your contract if this is the route you choose. Sample contracts for agencies are here.
- Involve the key people in the decision
If a review is deemed to be the right course of action, ensure that your company's top management, including the procurement department fully endorse the decision to pitch and are aware of the full process. Ensure that key decision makers are clearly identified and enlisted in the process.
- As already noted if the agency fee income is likely to be less than €50k we do not recommend a full pitch approach as pitches are expensive for agencies and time consuming for clients. You will find an alternative route here.
- Dealing with the incumbent
It is important to be direct and clear with the incumbent agency, giving the required notice period as stated in the contract. Serious thought should be given as to whether or not you wish the incumbent agency to pitch. Clearly identify if you do not wish to invite them to pitch.
A full list of accredited consultants is available on the IAPI finding the right agency website and AAI (aai.ie) websites. It is important to introduce a pitch consultant as early as possible into the process if this is the route you choose.
Timetable of a typical pitch
Obviously a long drawn-out pitch process benefits no one. By the same token preparing a successful pitch takes time. So before the process begins it is important to consider the time necessary for a proper response to the brief and prepare a timetable for the total pitching and decision making process and stick to it. Six weeks is the suggested minimum timescale for all pitches (creative, digital, media) agencies to produce a full pitch. Typically an agency will divide the available time for a pitch into three roughly equal phases:
Week 1 -2
This might include: analysis of the client brief, desk research, exploratory market research, store checks, field visits, mystery shopping etc... in order to produce the agency's proposed strategy, target audience definition, key customer insight, media usage recommendations and the core creative brief.
Week 3 - 4
Idea development and exploratory idea development research to evolve and validate ideas. Further research and analysis to validate and support the strategy and refine the customer insight is conducted.
Week 5 - 6
Refinement of idea proposals and production of examples of how the 'big idea' for the brand translates into different media channels of communication. Development of the complete strategy rationale, media solutions, media plans, presentation charts and documentation.
Name the competing agencies up front in the pitch process:
It’s a good idea to announce the list of agencies taking part in the pitch as part of the openess that makes for better working relationships. At the very least the number taking part in the pitch should be stated up front. Agencies should also be made aware of any late additions or withdrawals of agencies through the pitch process.All agencies that show an interest in the tender can complete an RFI.