The Evolving Pitch Process - Why Brands Should Approach Agency Selection Differently

How easy is it to stay in an unhealthy relationship that isn’t the perfect fit? Months or maybe years pass after committing and then there is the sudden realization that “they” are not “the one.”

Or maybe it has been a long time coming but the pain of starting over with someone new is too hard, so you find yourself settling instead.  

Finding “the one” is stressful, time consuming, and, to be honest, extremely hard. A romantic relationship is not exactly congruent to an agency-client relationship, but there is something to be said about agency selection and the evolving pitch process.

Is the pitch process dying? No, but it is changing. This Ad Age article highlights brands like Domino’s and their decision to take the agency pitch in a different direction.

Current pitches require agencies to spend money, loads of time, and resources on a flashy presentation that does not:

  1. Assess the agency’s compatibility with the brand

  2. Showcase if the agency’s capabilities fit the current need

How can the Pitch Process Change to Benefit all Parties - Agencies and Clients alike?

It’s simple. Date.

No need for romantic gestures with boomboxes, dance numbers, or flowers, but a sit-down conversation where the agency can interview the brand and the brand can interview the agency.

Similar to most pitch presentations, brands need to ask themselves the following questions during the conversation:

  • Do the agency’s rates fit in the budget?

  • Do the agency’s objectives align with the strategy?

  • Will the agency represent or capture the brand’s voice correctly in content materials?

  • Can the agency handle the ask?

    • In order to gauge the agency’s capabilities, ask that the agency prepare case studies of their past work that relates to the brand’s current need.

But different from the typical pitch, chemistry should be the brand’s primary focus.

  • Is there chemistry?

    • In order for this assessment to take place, ask that the agency team that will handle the project take part in the pitch. As opposed to the bait and switch situation where the client meets the A team and, instead, works with the C team, ask to meet the entire team from the beginning.

    • This may seem silly, but chemistry is the most important aspect in a relationship. Both parties need to be comfortable with being honest and transparent. An agency is an extension of a brand’s internal team. A solid communication and relationship could positively influence the direction of ideas and projects.

Conversation, not presentation.

You don’t put on a spectacular play for your first date.

Having a direct conversation will save time and prevent nasty breakups down the road. A straightforward meeting spins the “presentation” in a different light to gain new insights and will also make it easier to onboard the agency for future projects since the groundwork is already laid.

Truly “date” your agencies before you launch into a long term commitment. Get the best feel and don’t settle for an agency (even if the process to onboard a new agency may be unpalatable).

As true matchmakers between brand marketers and marketing agencies, Setup knows where the agency-client relationship struggles. Even if you implement personal conversations with every agency prospect, this process still takes a decent amount of time. We help by performing a thorough vetting process of outstanding agencies to simplify your onboarding process and bring you one step closer to finding the perfect match.

Read Related - Why Big Brands Are Turning To Small Agencies

If you are currently struggling to find an agency that is right for your brand, download this free guide about how to select the perfect marketing agency for you.