Pitches are a necessary evil for most agencies.
They require a lot of time and energy, but then often don’t result in getting a project. As such, many agencies tend to gloss over the pitch with a generic template.
As a client, you may not notice an agency simply phoning it in during a pitch, so here are some common marketing agency pitfalls to look out for when pitching new business:
- No individualized content – Most agencies have pre-prepared pitches which they recycle to a degree. Obviously, some general information is universal, but a major pitfall to look out for is an agency that doesn’t seem to say anything specific about your company. Research is one of the most powerful aspects of an effective marketing agency, so don’t get fooled by a pitch that, while potentially impressive, doesn’t include any information about your specific context and needs.
- No vision for the future – An agency is only as useful as its knowledge, and especially in the marketing space – knowledge tends to be fleeting. If an agency does not say anything about how the future of technology applies to your company, then it’s not a good sign that they will keep you on the cutting-edge of the industry. Remember – a pitch is not just about what an agency can do right now, it’s also about the sort of partner they can be later on.
- No representation by anyone who will be working with you – Picking an agency is a two-way relationship that will have its ups and downs, but any good pitch should include someone that will be working with you on a normal basis. A sales-type individual can spin anything to sound good, but ultimately, your relationship with an agency is mostly based on your relationship with your immediate account manager. If they are not present for the pitch in any capacity (or at least mentioned), then you are not in a good position to partner well with the agency going forward.
So what does this mean for you, the Marketer?
Pay attention during pitches. Put your phone away. Close the computer. Pay attention.
Ask a lot of questions. Come to the pitch prepared with questions tied to your challenge.
Limit the number of agencies you have pitch. We typically limit it to three agencies. Get any more than that in a pitch and they all start running together.