MARKETERS expect digital ad agencies to jump through hoops on nothing more than an elusive chance that they might land their account, according to some agencies attempting to change the pitching process.
They say some marketers offer a limited explanation of their business needs in the hope the agency will write the brief for them, and the clients’ lack of direction is frustrating as agency profits are eroded.
The advertising fraternity has long bemoaned problems with the pitch process but digital agencies say the situation has worsened in the past two years as marketers have placed increasing emphasis on digital accounts.
In response more than a dozen digital agencies have worked with The Communications Council to create a set of pitch guidelines.
The managing director of digital agency The Dubs, Josh Frith, said: ”Everyone in this game wants to win business and to do that you’re expected to show your wares. And you’re almost never told who else is pitching for the business, even when you ask nicely.”
The new guide covers defining pitch requirements, the pitch process, the brief, intellectual property, copyright and assessment criteria. It suggests marketers pay a pitch fee of up to $5000 to each digital agency invited to pitch.
But that fee is a drop in the ocean. Simon Morgan, a partner at Publicis Digital, said it was involved in eight to 10 pitches a year that each cost $10,000 to $100,000. ”There is a lot of frustration that the pitch process is being used to define the actual brief. It’s just not a fair process.”
Darren Woolley, of Trinity P3, said clients needed to be clear about what they need before calling a pitch, otherwise they are ”the ultimate tyre-kicker”.
Mr Woolley said an example of a poorly run pitch came from the airline industry, which had limited all communication with those pitching for its account. ”The airline is asking digital agencies to answer the brief and upload their pitch to a website, which is an extremely bad example of how to pitch your account.”