MORE Words of Wisdom From THE Ad Agency Pitch Consultants

August 18, 2009

words of wisdom 3

My post last week titled “Words of wisdom from THE ad agency pitch consultants” generated both a high level of traffic and numerous requests from readers asking for more of them. Here they are:

First, I thought I would share with you a piece of editorial that you may find both interesting and surprising. In recent discussions many of the pitch consultants have shared the fact that they are getting increasingly involved in non-advertising related pitches. For many years these consultants have been primarily involved in the larger ad agency reviews with very few direct, promotional or interactive type assignments.

Well, the tide has turned. Many of them are now reporting that they are being more frequently retained to conduct both AOR searches, as well as agency searches, for large stand alone projects. (Across a wide range of categories) So while in the past their comments may have been more pertinent to the ad agency fraternity, today they are increasingly pertinent to a much broader group.

  • When you read in Ad Age or any other trade journal that an account has gone into review, DO NOT send a “Pile of Stuff” to the pitch consultant handling the review.  It just gets thrown in the corner and piles up with all the other unsolicited submissions.

         If you are going to send something in, make it short, to the point and make          sure that you demonstrate value. Keep in mind that by the time you read about it in the trades, you are probably too late. The review is most likely     too far along already to include a new agency. (Leslie Winthrop, AAR          Partners)

  • The number one pitch killer is a CEO who talks too much and talks about irrelevant matters. Closely followed is a perceived lack of passion on the agencies behalf and the third is a disconnect between that strategy and the creative execution. (Hasan Ramusevic, Hasan & Co.)
  • “We just received an RFP that seems promising, but we can’t ascertain what the potential revenue and scope is?” Ask the consultant or client to try to define it. If it is not forthcoming consider this a red flag. If you start out not knowing, you will probably have the same issue all the way through the relationship. (Ann Billock, Ark Advisors LLC.)
  • “If the agency brief says that you should have your day to day team present in the pitch, what do you do?” If the team members concerned are proficient presenters, then you have no problem. If some are not, do not let them pitch. You will need to compromise as you should never take a weak presenter to a pitch. In this instance support those team members who are proficient presenters with some of your stars. Your objective is to win and sometimes in order to do that you have to break some rules. (David Beals, Jones, Lundin, Beals)
  • NEVER go over your allotted time in a pitch. Not only is it bad manners and disrespectful, it shows that you have not rehearsed. Always rehearse and make everyone rehearse, even those who claim that they can “only be real on the day”. Insist they do it. In addition, whatever number of slides you have, cut them in half. Make every word count and make sure that you engage the clients. (Cleve Langton, New Business 3.0)





Words of Wisdom from The Ad Agency Pitch Consultants

August 12, 2009

words of wisdom 2

The other day, I came across a collection of notes I had taken during various presentations, given by some of the top names amongst pitch consultants. The tips contained in them are as pertinent today as they were then, so I decided to aggregate a selection of them in one post and share them with all of you.

  • Think very carefully before deciding to defend when your client decides to put their account up for review. On average you have only a 1/18 chance of winning, so the odds are heavily weighted against you. (Dave Beals – Jones, Lundin, Beals)
  • If you believe that the client RFP is requesting excessive information, go ahead and push back, and submit what you are comfortable with. The most important thing you can do is look at the issues within the questions and adequately address them. ( Ann Billock – Ark Advisors)
  • Does size matter? It all depends. If the business being awarded is likely to overwhelm your agency, then yes it does. If the client needs an international network, yes. It’s about horses for courses. In some instances smaller can compete with big if they are able to leverage strategic partnerships. (Hasan Ramusevic – Hasan & Co.)
  • Every agency claims to have a proprietary process or philosophy. Bottom line is that there is just too much BS out there, as the agency world drinks its own Kool-Aid. Show them ideas backed by research and validate how you intend to produce results. (Lisa Colantuono – AAR Partners)
  • Do clients who ask for it really want and buy cutting edge work? Seldom does a counter a culture approach prevail. Ask more questions and try to validate their requests. If you are still unsure, then give them one of each so you are covered. (Ann Billock – Ark Advisors)
  •  Never stretch the truth when answering an RFP. If you feel that you have to in order to be competitive then pull out. Define what you cannot answer truthfully and ask the client or consultant why you were included on the list. It might be something specific you have that interests them, in which case focus there and leave out answers where you have to. (Lorraine Rojek – RCG Consulting)
  • How do we crack the clutter with our new business prospecting? The letter should address a specific challenge or opportunity. The supporting materials should do exactly that. Support the letter with a clear and consistent message based on actionable insights. The materials should also effectively differentiate your agency brand. Simple, easy to read and direct. No coffee table books, gimmicks or tchotchke! (Leslie Winthrop – AAR Partners)
  • Never include the prospects title in your new business materials unless you know it to be accurate. Titles change all the time and often many of the compiled lists are already out of date when you use them. (Cleve Langton – New Business 3.0)

Rocket science…No. Worth remembering…Yes