Most Agency Credentials Presentations, Display Little Relevance to Clients

advertising_agencyAgency credentials presentations – the perfect way to bore clients to death!


Is your agency credentials presentation really helping you win new clients?


How many clients do you think are just sitting saying to themselves…”I just cannot wait to see which agency credentials I receive today”

Most agency credentials presentations, whether sent ahead of time or presented in person display little or no relevance to the client and their business. They are generally internally focused and amount to nothing but a boring dissertation about how smart we are, what a great catch we would be and how much we need you the clients business. In a nutshell most borderline being embarrassing and we need to stop this insanity.

Just this week I was reviewing an agency credentials presentation that was made to a large financial institution. Of course it was in PowerPoint and it contained the maximum number of slides that the presentation team could think of to include. In fact it had 75 slides and it was not until slide 48 did they start to make any reference to the client’s business.  Assuming a very conservative one slide per minute, that’s 48 minutes into the presentation! What are we thinking?

Included in those 48 slides was the always fascinating proprietary, patented and trademarked agency process that is unlike any other you have ever seen. The reality is the only people who are fooled by this are the agency itself. I recently reviewed eight independent agency ‘proprietary’ process presentations. They were almost identical, even down to the nomenclature used. Can you imagine what a client thinks after sitting through half a dozen or more of these? I can tell you that many of the pitch consultants find great amusement in our collective naivety and ignorance.

Having completed such a presentation we walk away believing that we effectively differentiated our agency in the minds of the client and convinced them that we are THE agency to be trusted with their marketing dollars. Not the case! The average agency pitch rate provides material support to this hypothesis.

It’s time we realized that a credentials presentation is about demonstrating that we have done our homework,  how much we know about their business and how we are best suited to help them succeed. It’s that simple.

So having leveled all these criticisms you may ask what then I suggest. Well here are few tips to take with you:

  • Do your homework ahead of time. Above all make sure you know which company it is. Yes believe it or not a senior marketer from Verizon recently related a story about prospective agencies approaching her believing that she was with Verizon Wireless. 
  • Forget your ‘Proprietary’ process. Bottom line is it is not as unique as you think it is. Take Brent Hodgins (Mirren) advice – turn your process into a set of diagnostics.
  • Experience equals insights. Insights are your weapon of choice and they come from both your experience and doing your homework and research. Real insights are immediately recognizable and help position you as an expert.
  • Upgrade your analytic Skills. “Agencies need to upgrade their analytic skills and become insight brokers. Their great challenge is to take all their vast knowledge of consumers and marketing and make it relevant”  Louisa Shipnuck, IBM.
  • Use your case studies to prove your expertise and track record.  Draw out of them why they are relevant and how the same approach might work for this client.

The credentials presentation is not an opportunity to talk about yourselves but rather to convince the client that you can help them solve their issues and make them successful.

4 Responses to Most Agency Credentials Presentations, Display Little Relevance to Clients

  1. Another suggestion for agency pitch teams? Learn to shut up.

    Just because it’s your presentation doesn’t mean you have to fill every second with agency chest-beating babble. One of the most impressive agency new business presentations I was part of started off by asking the clients what was keeping them awake at night re: their business and brand(s). Interesting reactions. The agency took what it heard and built in into their credentials pitch on the fly. No on PPT slides – but from their memories and brains. Sure, it took 15 minutes of valuable time at the beginning of the meeting to take this approach. And no, maybe every slide didn’t get shown. But the potential client was engaged right from the outset. Conversation took place. They felt like the agency gave a damn. A relationship started. And that’s what new business wins are made of.

  2. Srimatesh says:

    Both postings are absolutely right. Over the years I have observed and learnt that any client who is serious about hiring an agency is not interested in the powerpoint or in bulletted ‘gyan’. What the client is interested in is whether the agency has its ear to the ground, understands the client’s business, understands the client’s market and if the agency can design the right communication. It is absolutely essential that agencies listen and then talk and provide insights. Agencies get or lose clients not for their proprietary tools and no. of awards they have won but for the final delivery. The client is interested in the agency delivering tangible results and bridging the gap between ‘where we are’ and ‘where we want to be’

  3. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to
    a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

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