Many agencies say it's harder to work out what to pitch for

Ashley Regan
By Ashley Regan | 31 May 2023
Credit: Arisa Chattasa via Unsplash

Pitch processes are becoming longer, more onerous and are leading to agencies becoming far more selective about what they pitch for, according to a global survey of media agency professionals by global independent media advisors MediaSense. 

The study, Pitch Smart, based on a global survey of 100+ media agency professionals, examines the current state of pitch practices, with recommendations on how they can be improved.

Pitching is still seen as a crucial part of agency life (64% agreeing) and a good way to test and energising creative people to show their company in the best light (44% agree).

However, this ignores the human and financial impact.

For example, 64% say the process has a damaging impact on mental health and impact on agency talent is a concern overall with global holding groups feeling this most acutely.

And overwhelmingly, 86% of agencies agree that current ways of working are prohibitively time consuming and costly, with 43% saying it is becoming harder to determine what to pitch for.

Via Mediasense

As the media landscape has evolved and clients’ requirements have changed, client reviews have become increasingly complex and time consuming for all parties. While agencies have become more accepting of this reality, there is a growing weariness about the current state of pitching, and a desire for more transparency and focus.

Ryan Kangisser, managing partner, strategy, at MediaSense, said this study reveals an overwhelming desire to evolve the pitched process to be more streamlined, practical and transparent.

“While tempting to test everything, advertisers should focus on the capabilities and values that matter, and design a process accordingly," Kangisser said.

Creating a win-win for all parties

The study suggests that the pitch process must be constructed in a way that allows agencies to bring their best, most natural selves to the process.

This means removing manufactured situations which encourages artificial responses and instead moving to real-life collaborations, where ways of working are tested over an extended period, and agencies are compensated for time and ideas generated.

More focused information requests around the information that matters will help streamline the selection process, creating more time elsewhere to build chemistry and test capability.

For example, an overwhelming 94% of agencies believe pitches should ditch the RFI as it is seen as an ineffective way of showcasing their agency's capabilities.

With Covid-19 restrictions largely over, there should be a widely accepted return to face-to-face interaction and an increased emphasis on chemistry building, as 79% of respondents agree virtual meetings are seen as inferior to in-person. After all, people and cultural fit will always underpin a successful partnership.

Clients will also get the best out of a process when they communicate clearly, informally and transparently. Overall the study suggests the following:

Via Mediasense


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