1. Make sure you understand the commercial model of the potential client and their position in the market
It’s surprising how often people make assumptions about the objectives of a media campaign. At the agency pitch stage, you’re hopefully thinking ahead about the various objectives for a media campaign that a client may wish to run: Awareness Generation, Direct Response, Incremental Sales, Market Penetration, etc. Behind each of these objectives should be a good understanding of what commercial success looks like for the client in question. For example, if you propose starting with awareness campaigns, make sure you can justify how that awareness can increase purchase behaviour later (or how you’ll find this out).
2. Ask the client to share their data openly with you
We all know the importance of data in the modern world, but you’re going to be guessing as to whether your campaigns are effective unless you have the data to prove it. Think about all the data you might need to do this and ask the question: can we access this data and if so, how and when?
Without a complete set of data, it’s possible you’ll fail to adapt campaigns quickly enough to any underperformance and that’s in nobody’s interest. Ideally, you should agree to get the data on a regular basis and in a consistent, structured format – and do make sure you can reciprocate this offer!
If you can, build a dashboard that contains all the data so that you agree on a “single source of truth”.
3. Demonstrate the importance of long-term thinking
Different strategies you might employ lead to short-term vs. long-term success. Most brand owners want to build successful brands for the long term but aren't maximizing their chances of success due to a mistaken focus on short-term KPI optimization. Using a process such as the one we can help you adopt using our portfolioQED solution can help to dramatize the differences between these strategies. It’s an essential conversation to have with your prospective clients and one that will position you as business partners with a solid commercial focus.
For an explanation on this and why it matters, I can recommend the publication “The Long and the Short of it” by Les Binet and Peter Field. In this publication, Binet and Field have examined a large number of case studies on advertising effectiveness and demonstrated that brands need to balance brand building and activation in the correct proportions for longer term success.
4. Encourage innovation
Show how you can develop measurement strategies for new media ideas as effectively as for traditional ones. Whilst measurement and refinement of mainstream media channels is fantastic and will deliver significant upside, it’s important that new ideas get a chance to flourish. Reaching new customers is always going to please your clients and there are an increasing number of ways that this can be achieved. What’s important from a credibility perspective with these innovations is that you can establish how you will measure success of these ideas.
Set yourself apart from competitors with these tips
What the above tips share is a commitment on your part to being the business partner of your prospective client. Every media agency should be demonstrating this kind of approach, in an effort to move away from a simple transactional relationship. The pitch process is all about setting yourselves apart from your competitors – often creatively, but increasingly commercially.
If you’d like to know how you can provide even more value to your clients, download the free whitepaper.