JWT, Karmarama and Isobar directors discuss how procurement is changing pitching processes

In the last few years the pitch process has changed dramatically for agencies with increased competition, mounting pressures from clients to work on a global scale and demands from procurement adding an extra layer to the pitch process.

Speaking to The Drum at the recent ‘Brief Encounters’ conference last week, Carmen Bekker, JWT European marketing director; Nick Bailey, Isobar CEO and executive creative director; and Hannah Matthews, managing partner at Karmarama revealed their thoughts about pitching and new business.

“From a pitching perspective the challenges facing the ad industry for clients is the huge choice of agencies and huge amounts of information that needs to be sifted through before they can find the right agency...and for the ad industry itself the pitching environment has got more competitive,” explained Bekker.

Bailey added that “globalisation and convergence” are of increasing concern as clients demand more. “It puts new and novel pressures on the businesses we [agencies] work for but it also represents opportunities for agencies and networks that can adapt effectively.”

Bekker, Bailey and Matthews all agreed that there are common mistakes made by clients when reviewing their accounts, which in turn puts pressures on agencies. With both Karmarama and Isobar admitting to taking part in less pitches due to the enormous amount of work needed.

With procurement now involved in 40 per cent of pitches from the beginning, Bekker remarked that this “adds another layer” meaning the process can take longer but praised procurement for making processes “more defined, clearer and often fairer”.

“The influence of procurement and what that means is the model clients like to enjoy – inviting large numbers of agencies and going on little fishing expeditions – begins to fundamentally disrupt the agency business model and something will have to change going forward,” said Bailey.

To view the full interviews on the challenges facing the advertising industry; whether the current pitching model is sustainable; common mistakes made by clients reviewing accounts and how procurement is changing the nature of pitching, watch the video above.

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