Vineet Sodhani
Sep 04, 2019

Opinion: Getting under the pitch surface - Part two

This two-part series, highlights the crucial elements that a client and an agency should keep in mind. The second part of the series is dedicated to agencies

Opinion: Getting under the pitch surface - Part two
In the second and the final part of this series, let me now put down eight pointers for the agency to ponder on. (Read part one here).
1. Public visibility – The agency should be visible in public domain – website, LinkedIn and so on and have your work displayed. Clients and consultants look at these places for initial screening. Make it simple, tone conversational, with the client. 
2. Pitch ownership – The ownership of the pitch must be attributed before work begins. Clients and pitch specialists pay great deal of attention to this factor. That the owner’s confidence and passion show through on D-Day and create lasting impact on the client and the pitch management specialist is of utmost importance.
3. One size does not fit all – Credentials deck customisation is often delegated down the line and is not supervised by the top team. It is advisable that seniors and the pitch owner give it a close look before sending it out. Reach out to the client and ask if they want anything specific such as case studies, regional understanding, tools etc. 
4. Foundation – A good pitch needs a good foundation. A concept note ‘defining the problem or task at hand’ is a necessary first step. A good second step is to work the 3-4 (not more) issues you want to focus on. Each issue must be well articulated. Only when focus issues are clear should the strategic thinking work and argument development begin. 
5. Creative, media routes – Applicable for creative agency, it is best to resist the temptation to create multiple creative routes and stick lesser number of (two maybe) renditions. In media as well, go with specific ideas rather than too many of them. 
6. Strategy is equally important - Clients often prefer agencies that understand the category, issues, TGs, market dynamics, nuances. They are looking for someone who sees the problem well and is crystal on the approach. I have heard more of “solid strategy and thinking” as opposed to “great creative” or “awesome media plan”. Some clients believe that as long as the agency is aligned on strategy, creative or media plan will follow. As one said, “They should be clear conceptually. Creative ideas to bahut mil jayenge”.
7. On the final presentation – The final full-fledged presentation content is crucial for decision-making. A few things to bear in mind for the agency –
o Outline the pitch presentation like a film storyboard, even if it is a media pitch. This helps spot the gaps in strategic argument and pushes the strategic planner for more supporting data, discussion, and thought. 
o A good presentation is story well told. The presentation becomes richer and more impactful when you adopt a story-telling approach
o Determine who will answer the questions. He/she should redirect the answer to someone else if unaware. Don’t jump and answer. I have heard a yes and a no many times simultaneously during the pitch. 
o Display team work. Get at least 3-4 people to take up meaningful parts during the presentation. It should not be a one man show. 
o If a projector is used, carry a pointer! In case of the TV, use the cursor often. You know that your slides have too much in them. Clients are bored and the laser keeps them coming back to what you want to convey. 
8. Passion and participation – Pitch owner’s passion is of the essence! It must resonate with the commitment of execution in every sphere of its intended exposure. However, caution must be exercised to allow team participation to come through.
The final stage involves remuneration discourse. The external ‘specialist’ plays a useful role in applying industry experience and benchmarks to the specific case at hand, sifting through scope of work, examining the fee or commission methods and the resource composition. He then proposes both the agency and the to come to a sound, well-reasoned platform for the right remuneration discussions and closure.
It’s difficult but an achievable win-win.
Campaign India

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