With recent industry debates questioning if the current agency pitch process is fit for purpose, it’s fair to say it’s caused some passionate views across the PR network.


Pitches take a huge amount of agency time and resource. Unfortunately, often the cost of this work can never be re-cooped by agencies – so a pitch process needs to work well for both the agency and the client for it to be worth the commitment.   


However, when pitches are run well it can be a great way for clients and agencies to find the perfect partnership.


I recently shared my thoughts on the pitching process in a PR Week Podcast. Ultimately, I’ve got five key pointers for clients when it comes to creating the ideal pitch process:


1.     Do your research

Find a handful of agencies that really feel right for what you need [size, client portfolio, team structure] and meet them for an initial chemistry meeting to see if you’re a good partner for each other before you go any further. Pick no more than 3 to pitch.


2.     Facetime

Meet agencies in person. The best pitches can often come from a meeting where the agency is fully briefed on all the relevant info, including the feel and tone of the brand, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked in the past and what type of campaigns they admire.  Often it’s the small comments or reading between the lines that gives agencies a real gut feel for what brands need. This kind of intuition can’t be achieved through a written brief only. Also, always tell agencies what the budget is. There is no point have an agency pitch ££££££ ideas for a £££ budget, and vice versa.


3.     Time to shine

Build in enough time for agencies to research you, your needs, your brief, their strategy and ideas: you won’t get a full showcase of their talents and thinking if you only give them 48 hours to prepare!


4.     Get the heads together

Have all the decision makers in the room for every pitch. Don’t expect to be able to re-sell an agency’s ideas to internal departments with the same magic an agency will.


5.     Give a little respect

A great agency / client relationship is based on mutual respect, so although it may seem obvious, don’t turn up to a pitch halfway through, send junior members or use the time to check your inbox. Plus, we’d often love a cup of tea J


Mandy Sharp