Sydney L!VE – CMOs say agencies should be paid for pitching

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 23 May 2023
Kenny Eliason via Unsplash.

As the Australian pitch market has intensified this year, new business opportunities have become ripe for the taking. But what are the do’s, don’t’s and deliverables for independent agencies looking to make their mark in 2023? 

In a panel discussion at AdNews Sydney L!VE, a question from the audience tackled whether agencies should be charging for the time and cost involved in pitching.

Gemma Hunter, Myer’s GM of marketing, said that she can see both sides of the issue.

“Agencies should get paid, because they are coming in having used a lot of time from their side and putting their best foot forward,” said Hunter. 

“”We all know from agency-side, you're working late at night, over weekends, whatever you need to do to win that business, so they should be compensated. 

“But there's also the reality of the economic environment that we're in at the moment and businesses are doing it tough right now, and have been for a while, so I think it's unrealistic to expect to get paid. 

“You need to, as an agency, decide if you can afford to take on that pitch. If you have that conversation upfront, then you can decide if you want to invest in it and if the pitch is going to be worth it for you.” 

Tourism Tasmania CMO Lindene Cleary said compensation depends on the expectations of the pitch. 

“You can’t ask for the world of a pitching agency when they're not compensated in some way,” said Cleary. 

“I think it's fair to pay a fee if you're asking the world, but if it's a fairly simple process, then no."

Rebecca Kemp, Uber’s international head of partnership marketing for APEC, EMEA and LATAM, said compensation should be paid. 

“In terms of our long-range strategic partners, a pitch process might take six months so the agency partner should be compensated and that would be agreed upfront about what that looks like,” said Kemp.

Kemp said that a great pitch comes down to simply answering the brief.

“The last pitch that we did, six out of 10 of the agencies didn’t actually answer the brief,” said Kemp.

“When you have an agency that thinks long and hard about that main job to be done and produces a strategy that surrounds it, you just have that magical moment of when you see it come to life and that becomes this perfect combination of things. ]"

Another audience member asked how involved procurement is when negotiating with agency partners.

Hunter said that she’s encountered procurement on the agency side and it's “like this word of fear” but when you go client-side, you need to make them a partner in the same way that you make your agency a partner. 

“They have KPIs, but you as the marketing lead need to help them understand that that's not the only important thing here and there are other important things,” said Hunter. 

“What I look for from my procurement partner is that we collaboratively are defining what the most important metrics we’re measuring are and it really changes the dynamic in the relationship between everybody.”

Thank you to our supporting partners: AMOBEE/UNRULY , Foxcatcher, PubMatic, StackAdapt. Associate partners: blis, JUSTEGGS, MIQ, Quantcast. And friend of AdNews: IMAA.

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