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Honda, RSA and Diageo directors reveal common mistakes agencies make when pitching for new business

Failing to understand a client’s needs is one of the biggest mistakes an agency can make when approaching prospective business leads, according to directors from Honda, Diageo and RSA.

Speaking with The Drum at its ‘Brief Encounters’ conference, Martin Moll, marketing director for Europe at Honda said agencies need to think about understanding the sector and the brand before trying to sell creative.

“Understand who we are, what our needs are and whether we’re in the market to buy, then come in with an educated view about what you can offer the brand,” said Moll.

RSA commercial marketing director, Adam Morghem, seconded Moll’s points adding that the one piece of advice he could give agencies is to “do your homework”.

He added: “They’re the ones approaching me. I think they need to demonstrate an understanding of my business."

Meanwhile Diageo global design director Jeremy Lindley cited the "blanket email" as his biggest bug bear because their lack of personalisation shows the agency's people haven’t “put any thought into my business or what my needs are”.

Morghem added: “The best agencies that have approached me to win business have fully understood the commercial area I operate in. They’ve tailored their approach and the case studies they’ve provided or the messaging they’re demonstrating is an opportunity for me - rather than just presenting a problem, they’ve brought to life how they’d go about solving it.”

Working at the forefront of marketing the three revealed the trends their most excited for in 2015. For Morghem the most exciting trend was the growth of social media in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

“There’s a massive challenge for us as an organisation but also the whole industry in B2B financial services to connect with our people and to connect with our audiences and get our messages across,” he explained.

Coming from more of a design perspective Lindley added that his area to watch next year was the resurgence of craft.

“It’s fascinating and wonderful for a designer to see consumers really embracing craft manufacturing,” he said. “The brands I work on have a great history and great stories...that resurgence of interest gives us the opportunities to tell those stories in a really engaging way.”

Moll, Morghem and Lindley’s advice to agencies, observations on the common mistakes agencies make when approaching clients and trends to watch out for in 2015 can be viewed in full in the video above.