Clients behaving badly

 New Business is turning into a bit of a farce at the moment.

A client I pitched for in November (who announced within 24 hours that we were down to the final two agencies) let us know today that they’d finally made the decision to appoint the other lot. That’s three months it took them to chose between agencies A and B. How hard can it be?

Then there’s the never ending PQQs, ITTs and other tendering related, time vampire red tape, the client who took so long to decide on which agency to appoint that they went bust in the meantime and the clients who are seemingly incapable of returning calls or emails politely enquiring if a long overdue pitch decision is imminent.

Pitching is an incredibly expensive way of doing business and most clients don’t seem to realise that the agency ‘overflow’ resources which have to be redirected towards time consuming pitches are becoming increasingly scarce in businesses that are running a tight ship in order to stay afloat in this stormy economy.

Fortunately my place is winning new business as well as being messed about a lot (otherwise I’d be worrying about my job), but in the meantime, may I present the New Rules For Clients Upon Calling A Pitch:

  1. Underestimate the budget you have allocated as it will almost certainly have reduced by the time you get round to appointing an agency.
  2. If you think your company is about to go bust, now is not a good time to hold a pitch.
  3. Pitching is very, very expensive from the agency’s point of view. And it takes up a lot of your time and resources too. There may be agencies hungry for work and desperate to get on the pitch list, but limit creative pitches to as many agencies as you can count on one hand. And tell them how many they’re up against so they can make an informed decision on whether to proceed or not.
  4. Keep in touch. Honestly, we understand that your company’s circumstances might unexpectedly shift and you’ll need to re-evaluate. But only if you actually talk to us.

client-run-but-cant-hide

you can run, but you can’t hide, Mr Client

3 thoughts on “Clients behaving badly

  1. You are entirely entitled to be disgruntled with the slow reaction times and general tardiness of clients.

    Pitching is incredibly expensive and time consuming for agencies, and clients should be better about communicating with potential suppliers… but in the current turmoil can you blame them?

    There is however another option to the tedious nature of new business pitches that gives agencies the ability to market themselves to a wide range of clients by showcasing thier best and most informative case studies online.

    creativebrief gives clients the ability to select a number of agencies, brief them and recieve submissions through the website. This cuts the cost of pitching, gives total clarity and allows agencies to communicate directly with clients.

    It is a truly unique approach to new business and hundreds of clients and thousands of agencies have found it efficient and effective new business practice. Putting business development professionals back at the centre of agency / client relationships.

  2. Pingback: abandon hope, all ye who pitch (or tender) round here « (almost) always thinking

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