Even though I’m freelance I still take part in quite a few proper pitches. I mean the full-blown strategy + creative + logistics + budget presentations in front of senior clients where they decide based on a ninety minute presentation whether or not to spend a million pounds plus with the agency.
Comparing these agency pitches with my experiences at my three previous agency employers, what’s stuck me is that The Laws of the Pitch Room seem to be the same everywhere you go:
1) The client’s projector will not talk to the agency laptop. If the pitch is on home turf then the agency projector will not talk to the New Business Laptop. I’ve actually heard of pitches where the agency has even taken their IT guy with them just-in-case.
2) No-one will have remembered to bring an extension lead.
3) It will be too dark to write notes or see creative on boards with the lights off – and too bright to see the powerpoint with the lights on.
4) One client you were expecting to turn up will send their apologies – and some random bloke you weren’t expecting will ask lots of questions like “so can you buy followers on Twittter?”
5) The video clip won’t play.
6) The client will ask the one question you hoped they weren’t going to ask.
7) Media will over-run their slot.
8) As will the agency Account Director / Managing Director’s pre-amble.
9) After the Budget slides are presented, the client will ask “yes, but how much is it actually going to cost?” followed by “can you do it for less than that?”
10) Afterwards, when asked you will all say you thought it went quite well, but it was hard to tell what the client thought – but secretly you all think it either went brilliantly or was a total disaster.