Tag Archives: pitch

What Marketers Want From Their Creative Agency (Part 2)


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Last week I caught up with Tom Lucas, the much respected Marketing Director for UKTV, for a long overdue catchup, much appreciated mind meld, and afternoon caffeinating. I consider it pure luxury to be able to listen to seasoned clients discuss real world/right now challenges in a frank manner and their approach to filtering through the creative agency clutter.

I again thank Tom for his perspective, some of which I share with you here.  PS: Please don’t bombard him with blind inquiries. He was kind enough to let me present this on ABM, and since I’ll be sharing more of my chats with top UK & US marketers and I don’t want to be scaring them all off. 🙂 Thankya.

A Brief Guide to What Marketers Want From Their Agency (Part 2 of 3)
Missed Part 1? You can find that here.

Get a Grip on the Numbers

  • Get on every email circulation list which disseminates performance data on your client companies.
  • Read the analyst report.
  • Get a copy of your client’s P&L, see where the marketing line fits in.
  • Look at your fees from the FD’s perspective. Make it easy for him, demonstrate that the actual return on your endeavours outweighs the cost of hiring you.
  • If you need to hire someone to do this, do it.

Don’t get the brief right. Get the right brief.

  • Sometimes I think we get the wrong answers because we ask ourselves the wrong questions.
  • “What is the single-minded message?” might be appropriate for a poster, but different consumer behavious and a new marketing paradigm demand new questions.
  • In the digital age, a better question is “Why would I want to get involved?”
  • Templates might make us feel comfortable, but sometimes we need to mix it up a bit.
  • Let’s make the brief fit for purpose.

Adspend is the last resort

  • Spend your client’s money as if it were your own.
  • Exploit every last bit of owned or earned media. Audit the social networks. Find and arm the brand ambassadors.
  • Only once your client’s brand permeates every possible realm of free media should you consider paying for it.
  • And when you do, make sure you demonstrate that every penny is driving incremental reach and reaching the parts that free media can’t.

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Filed under branding, channel identity, opinion

A Brief Guide To What Marketers Want From Their Agency (Part 1)


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Guest Commentary By Tom Lucas
Director of Marketing & Communications, UKTV

Don’t Sell Yourselves

  • A confession: Most of us clients get quite bored sitting through credentials presentations.
  • We’d rather talk about ourselves. Or make sure you understand what we’re looking for.
  • The best way to win our business is to take a greater interest in and ask more questions about our problems than anyone else.
  • Listen as if for a pin to drop.

Be Externally Referenced

  • Spot new stuff and tell us about it.
  • Most of us are profoundly uncool. We spend evenings feeding babies, and watching telly with Simon Cowell in it.
  • Put your army of hipsters to work. Cross pollinate the learnings from your clients.
  • Expose us to the great stuff you’ve seen at Cannes. Buy us the D&AD Annual.
  • Help us dare to be cooler.

Know Your Limits

  • Not every business problem is a communications brief.
  • Sometimes we clients get desperate, and outsource the problem to someone we can kick if it goes wrong.
  • If you don’t think you can help- tell us. We’ll respect you in the morning.

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Filed under marketing, opinion

New Survey: European Clients More Likely to Pay for Pitches


In what has been a hotly debated issue for years within the broadcast design community, we now have new information comparing pitch compensation in the US and Europe. Although the 2009 study (conducted by Worldwide Partners) takes a look at pitch fee structure for traditional advertising agencies, it nonetheless offers a rare comparative glimpse at the two leading markets in the world.

The results? The survey found that European ad agencies were more likely to get compensated for ideas presented during new business pitches than shops based in the US. From my experience, it does seem like US design firms are a bit more willing to engage in no-fee pitches. Reasons for this vary. One possibility could be the large number of shops competing at any one given time in the mega client LA & NYC hubs. As such, if more agencies are throwing free boards at a prospective assignment, clients may be less apt (and less able) to compensate pitch participants.

Some more crunchy data from the study; of the agencies that responded to the survey, nearly half, 49% reported rarely or never receiving compensation from clients.

Only 5% in North America reported getting pitch fees, while 56% of agencies based in Europe said marketers offer remuneration for new business pitches. The pitch compensation structures varied, from a flat fee of about $5000 to a fixed percentage of the contract amount. And again, although these figures are based on traditional ad agency reviews, it nonetheless supports similar observations in broadcast design/branding industry.

I must add (in defense of US marketers), however, that I have had a great number of clients in the US that have compensated for boards through the years. Further, the consensus seems to be that main titles and channel identity assignments have a higher paid pitch percentage over other types of projects.

On a positive note, as I see it, the market continues to offer chances for smaller shops to win hotly contested midline ($75k-$150k) assignments. It also provides unique opportunities for broadcast design & branding shops to pick up previously ungettable direct to client branding work that just doesn’t fit the old ad agency pricing model.

Do you have thoughts on this issue? Send your perspective to denny@dennytu.com

*I have received a number of responses to the original publishing of this story. For more perspective on this article, you can read a few reader responses here.


Filed under industry news, opinion