We are in peak pitch season and a host of big-name advertisers will want to find a new agency partner in time to ramp up their media results by the summer.
But it’s not as simple as just saying to the market that you want a new agency and waiting to hear what they can offer. To get the right agency and the right choice of agencies, advertisers have to adopt the correct behaviors.
To be fair, these behaviors have always mattered but in 2022 they matter more than ever. That’s because we are in a seller’s market when it comes to media agency selection.
Fueled by the talent crisis, agency CEOs are now much more selective about where they go all in and which pitches they commit to. That’s because the best calling card to hiring and retaining the best talent is to win new business. And while winning a pitch is brilliant for moral, losing one is hugely negative.
You should also remember that the value that an agency brings is largely discretionary – the agency CEO will decide level and volume of talent they will put into your business. A highly motivated agency leadership can bring huge value to your account and will also help you secure commercial value and innovation as well.
The bottom line is that you can no longer assume that your scale or brand count for anything. Agencies may want to have your logo on their credentials but they will also consider if they want to put their team through the experiences of working for a “difficult” client.
Four key tips for potential pitches:
1. Engage with the agency leadership as early as possible. Speak to them and have top level meetings where you can share your vision and ambition for media. Give them an early opportunity to see if there is a cultural affinity and play to your strengths by defining the narrative for your business right at the start.
2. Invest as much effort as you can in creating the very best pitch brief. This not only enables the agency to really understand what kind of business you are and where your challenges lie but it also tells the agency you believe in media, care about it and are going to challenge them in the right way.
3. Use a pitch consultant. We would say this but the value that pitch consultants bring in these processes are immeasurable. Not only do the very best have a reputation for processes that have integrity and are fair but our brands will ensure that the brief is seriously considered. When agencies are making discretionary decisions the fact that there is a consultant involved will help.
4. Get the C-Suite involved. A really good indicator for agencies that media is taken seriously when the CEO, CFO and CMO turn up at the start of the process. Their presence alongside the media director and procurement team tells the agency that this is a valuable exercise for the whole company.
In a seller’s market, advertisers have to make their business attractive to the media agency community if they want to get the very best partners. It’s always been worth adopting these behaviors but now they have become an even more competitive advantage.
Advertisers need to sell themselves to agencies more than ever. You can’t go into the pitch marketplace feeling like you are entitled to their best efforts. You have to work hard to get agencies to engage but, once they have done so, they will produce the magic you need.
Watch the ID Comms #MediaSnack episode here: