To close off what has been robust half year of significant achievements, Johanna McDowell, the CEO of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), is proud to present her six pitch principles for agencies to implement in their endeavors for the second half of 2017.
This year, among the significant feats reached by the IAS is their partnership with SCOPEN to publish Agency Scope South Africa 2016, a publication that gives insights into the trends of the South African communication industry.
McDowell also attended the AdForum World Summit where she engaged with international colleagues in the intermediary/pitch consultant industry along with a number of advertising agencies. The highly acclaimed AdForum World Summit has placed the IAS in prime position as an intermediary operating at the forefront of global issues facing the marketing, communication and advertising industry. Following this prestigious AdForum event and the publication of Agency Scope South Africa 2016, McDowell shares her “6 pitch principles” that the IAS has constructed to share with South African agencies and clients:
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 time frames 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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 principles for some years so there are no surprises here. However, it is always good to have an update, comments McDowell.”
About the IAS
The IAS (Independent Agency Search and Selection Company) in association with the AAR Group (UK) was founded in South Africa by the Mazole Holdings Group in 2006. IAS specialises in client/agency relationship management and helping clients find agencies. International associate company AAR Group was founded more than 30 years ago in the UK and has associates and branches throughout the world. The Independent Agency Search & Selection Company is committed to the international and local pitch guidelines as defined by both the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising UK) and the ACA (The Association of Communications Agencies SA).