in praise of pitching

You may have already deduced from the lack of posts from me recently that I’ve just surfaced from spending a month immersed in a major pitch (*crosses fingers, waits for phone call*).

pitch draft ad amctvdotcomunpublished creative work-in-progress for The Pitch by Empire Design taken from AMC’s website

Does your agency pitch, or do you make a point of never doing so?  Do you seek out pitches or actively avoid them?  Hate them or love them?

I love them – when else do you get a chance to take a flyer and move something quickly from brief to insight to almost-execution, without having to wait for endless sign-offs and with no helpful ‘tweaks’ from the client’s assistant’s secretary? There’s no time to second-guess yourself, you have to have the courage of your convictions. And it’s probably the only time you’ll see the agency directors binding presentations or getting the pizza order in.

I don’t think AgencyLand will ever break free entirely from pitches as a format for selecting a new agency.  It’s a Big Deal and a decision that could make or break a marketing director’s career (or even their employer’s entire business) is too big a question to leave to a chemistry meeting, a list of industry awards and a showreel.

In today’s mixed up, fast-moving world, having the right people and the right resources on your brand’s side is more important than ever.  And sometimes a pitch is the only way for a client to truly see how a team works on a Big Thing.  It’s all very well giving an agency a little project by way of a test, but you’ll never really see how their creative and planning teams can fly based on a small-scale DM piece.

So I think (or hope) that pitches are here to stay.  They do cost a fortune and it’d be nice if clients coughed up a bit towards the cost of participating, but their very format encourages the production of some really good work.

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