10 Top Tips

  1. Consider whether you need a pitch at all: Pitching is expensive for everyone. Could one of your incumbent agencies develop this new project?
  2. Consider all pitching models: A full competitive pitch is the most expensive of all. Try a ‘pitch in a day’ or a strategic workshop so that you can see an agency in action without taking up 4 weeks of their time.
  3. Select a short list of no more than 5 agencies, ideally 3 or 4: If you start with a longer list, hold credentials meetings to reduce the number before starting the pitch process.
  4. Provide a clear, written brief: ensure it is aligned with all internal stakeholders and that you are specific about what you are looking for in the winning agency.
  5. Meet the agency more than once: This will ensure you find the right partner. Having more than one face to face meeting and visiting agency offices will give you the feel for the culture of the agency and the people you will be working with.
  6. Give agencies 4 weeks to prepare the pitch: Allowing agencies more time will mean they can undertake research as well as strategic and creative development. This will mean you get to see the agencies at their best.
  7. Meet the team: Ask to see the team that will actually be working with you on your business, particularly the key day to day contacts.
  8. Provide approximate budget: Giving a guide to the budget you have available will allow agencies to scale their pitch accordingly. On average, agencies spend 15-20k on a pitch so they need to know the real nature of the opportunity.
  9. Agree clear assessment criteria and a timescale for the decision: Set clear criteria to assess the agencies use a score sheet and stick to your plans around decision-making; ideally the decision should be delivered very soon after the pitch date.
  10. Debrief the losing agencies: Being honest with agencies means they can learn for the next one. Although you may be tempted to let everyone down softly, agencies would rather get specific, constructive, negative feedback to learn and develop.


Author: Paul Phillips