Reaction as IPA & ISBA launch guidance on media pitch principles: Maxus, Arena, Vizeum

The IPA and ISBA have created new guidance on media pitch principles,featuring six pieces of guidance to take into account the emergence of technology and the impact that has had on the pitching process. Some media agency professionals offered their reaction.

Richard Morris, managing director, Vizeum

This initiative is hugely welcome. Clients simply need to follow best practice if they are to find the right agency. We're involved in a pitch process right now following these guidelines and, regardless of the outcome, we will feel we have had every opportunity to understand the client's business and culture, and every opportunity to demonstrate our true potential. The best relationships begin with the best start, and that begins with the pitch process.

Richard Stokes, global new business and marketing director, Maxus

Pitching is the lifeblood of any agency. It's a very public sign of an agency's health and vitality. We take it seriously, invest a lot of time in it and hope that the client mirrors that effort.The fast pace of the industry today means it’s an excellent time for the IPA and ISBA to launch this initiative, and I think the clear and helpful principles they've outlined should make the pitch process better and fairer for all.I'd encourage all clients to take into consideration the advice so that once the tough decision to review is taken you create a process that encourages true collaboration. As a result you’ll definitely end up with the right agency for you and your brand. Here at Maxus we know collaboration works. The better we get to know our potential client’s business challenges (beyond what’s in the brief), the more successful we can be at pitching the right structure, ideas and team to help grow the client’s business – and at the right price for both parties.

Henry Daglish, Managing director, Arena

If clients were to universally use this type of approach it would be a breath of fresh air to the way that agencies are asked to pitch.What is of real interest to us Is the concept of briefing all of the agencies at the same time in the same place - this is getting more and more frequent and whilst it's uncomfortable for the competing agencies it's vital that the clients then commit to giving someone to one exposure. Too often all agency briefings can be seen as a bit of a cop out - especially if you don't see or hear from the clients until the actual pitch.Also, eliminating agencies early in the process who don't have a chance should happen more often on both sides, pitching costs a fortune and competing agencies should only be in it to win it.Scope of work is becoming an ever increasing challenge - we have a wide range of services on offer, and must be crystal clear from the start.And finally the judgement criteria is vital and too often not shared - the really hard thing is getting to prioritise which elements will win the business. It can't be everything, and there's nothing worse than clients claiming that it's all about the strategic thinking when it's in fact all about the price.

Natasha Murray, MD, Havas Media

We always welcome more structure to modernise the media pitch process. The behaviours of a client within the process will often set the agenda for the future partnership, so getting it right from the beginning can only be a good thing. Encouraging more work in progress meetings throughout the process will give both client and agency a better opportunity to understand whether, in the real world, this could be a true partnership. Agencies give everything to pitches so to know that this is being valued throughout and that clear expectations are set along the way will be well received. Like any set of guidelines however, the challenge will be on whether this is followed through.

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