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The 10 Step Pitching Guide

for Australian Advertisers

This report is based on an independent review of current best practice in Australia


commissioned by the AANA and the AFA
THE 10 STEP PITCHING GUIDE
FOR AUSTRALIAN ADVERTISERS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHECKLIST 3
STEP 1: GETTING STARTED 4
STEP 2: SELECTING THE PITCHERS 6
STEP 3: LOOKING BOTH WAYS 10
STEP 4: FRAMING THE BRIEF 11
STEP 5: DETERMINING FAIR COMPENSATION FOR PITCHING 13
STEP 6: PLAYING BY THE RULES 14
STEP 7: ESTABLISHING AN OBJECTIVE EVALUATION SYSTEM 15
STEP 8: FORMULATING CONTRACTS AND REMUNERATION 17
STEP 9: MAKING THE DECISION 20
STEP 10: GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS 20
PITCHING TIPS & TRAPS TO AVOID 22
APPENDIX 1 23

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CHECKLIST

Start/End Dates !

1. Identify your requirements in an Outline Brief


and identify Pitch Management Team
2. Establish initial prospect list and Roll Call
Register using questionnaire [Appendix 1]

3. Organise meetings with prospective agency


personnel
4. Prepare detailed briefing with objectives
prioritised

5. Budget for strategic advice and creative ideas


from selected agencies

6. Conclude confidentiality agreements with all


participating agencies

7. Determine objective evaluation criteria for


comparative analysis of agency submissions

8. Agree terms of contract with selected


agency/agencies

9. Advise agency selection to all participating


agencies

10. Manage the contract throughout its term

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STEP 1: GETTING STARTED

The first step is to decide what you are looking for - and why. You may be:

" looking to appoint an advertising agency for the first time


" wanting to split your business amongst different service providers
eg creative agency, media agency
" a company setting up new business arms particularly in the area of
e-commerce and wanting to assess potential capabilities of
managing new areas, or
" taking a decision to make a change you hope will be for the best
" wanting to test one already in place against the rest**
** We do not endorse this practice

Whatever the motivation, selecting an agency is a demanding process. It is worth considering


right at the outset, that estimates suggest less than half of all account changes result in
greater advertiser satisfaction while some of the world’s most successful businesses have
been dealing with the same agencies for decades.

You will need to assess the time and expense of the pitch process, together with your
organisation’s capacity to internally manage it. If you are planning to split up your business, it
is vital that you accurately assess your organisation's ability to manage a range of different
service providers before you do.

Once a decision is taken to subject one or all sections of your advertising account to
competitive pitching, you will find it advantageous to keep detailed records every step of the
way - starting with forming a Pitch Management Team and formulating an overview of what
you are setting out to achieve and why.

This is best set out in an Outline Brief, clearly identifying your objectives and the anticipated
role of advertising in their attainment, relative to any other marketing communication being
considered.

The more accurately your needs are defined, the more readily and precisely agencies will be
able to respond to them. In order to obtain accurate advice on costs, you will need to be
specific about the nature and extent of services you want an agency to provide.

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SETTING UP THE PITCH MANAGEMENT TEAM

Right from the start, it is important that one person in the organisation be given full
responsibility for managing all aspects - internally and externally - of the Pitch process itself.
In some cases, the senior marketing person may decide to handle this task, in other cases it
may be delegated (on a priority project basis) to someone else in the marketing department.

While this person may actually prepare the Pitch brief, all of those who are expected to work
with the agency should be canvassed for their views of what capabilities and experience are
required. Upon completion of the Pitch brief, the 'prime mover' must secure all of the
necessary internal approvals before it is provided to any of the agencies under consideration.
In similar fashion, all credentials documents, TVC reels, other creative materials, and
supporting documents submitted by prospective agencies should be circulated and evaluated
by these people.

When deciding how many people will interface with the 'candidate' agencies throughout each
stage of the Pitch process, you will need to consider whether or not you delegate this aspect to
a core evaluation team of typically 3-4 people. By relying upon one person to interface with
the agencies, you may not adequately represent the collective interests of the organisation.
Alternatively, by involving more than the core team in the early/elimination stages, you will
sacrifice the depth and quality of person-to-person interchange possible within the time
available.

However it is quite common for organisations to widen the Pitch team to include top
management for the final presentation stage. Beforehand, you must ensure that they are
brought to the same level of understanding as the rest of the Pitch team, otherwise you risk
undermining the integrity of the overall process.

CONSIDERING SPECIALIST VS FULL-SERVICE AGENCIES

For advertisers employing creative (or other specialist) agencies, as much as for those relying
on full-service agencies, the pitch process can be influenced by the specifics of particular
requirements and associated marketing considerations.

These guidelines are designed to provide a rational business model capable of adjustment to
any particular conditions.

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While individual advertisers may accord different degrees of emphasis to the progressive
steps, the overall model is applicable to the invitation of any type of agency to participate in a
competitive pitch.

REASONS FOR CHANGE

Although many reasons are given for embarking on the pitch


process, perceived poor performance, lost enthusiasm and new
business requirements apart, the motivations appear to fit one of
the following categories:

" Cost
" Creativity
" Service
" Capabilities
" Lack of results
" Complacency

While there may be more in the perception than the reality of such
motivations, the determined cause for starting the process
deserves up-front acknowledgment—and frank admission to pitch
prospects.

STEP 2: SELECTING THE PITCHERS

Creating a ‘pitch list’ is your second key step.

This starts with an initial prospect listing on the basis of information about various agencies
you might like to compete for your business, gathered from a variety of sources - recognising
that some agencies concentrate their focus on particular services or industry sectors. Also,
some claim to be specialists and generalists at the same time, promoting themselves as one-
stop-shops.

SELECTING SERVICES

Agencies can offer a whole range of capabilities, but you will gain the most from
them by knowing what you want and what you are prepared to pay.

Even those promoting themselves as ‘holistic’ or ‘one-stop shops’ can often be


persuaded to unbundle selected services or package a range of specific services to
a particular requirement.

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As a guide, these are just some of the services you might want to consider when you’re
looking for a full-service agency

Strategic Tactical

Communications Strategy Development: Implementation:


- Advertising Planning - Brand Promotion
- Brand Positioning - Budgeting
- Creative Planning - Creative
- Marketing Planning [Corporate] - Direct Marketing
- Marketing Planning [Product] - Media Buying
- Media Planning - Media Contracting
- Research Planning - Media Negotiation
- Merchandising
- Research
- Sales Promotion
- Internet/Online

When you’re looking for a media agency, suggested criteria* to consider are:

Strategic Tactical

- Communications Strategy - Media Costing


- Media Strategy - Media Optimisation
- Media Planning - Media Buying
- Analysis of Media Operations - Media Verification
- Target Audience Research and Analysis - Media Account Management
- Annual Media Rate Negotiations

When you’re looking for a creative agency, suggested criteria* are:

Strategic Tactical

- Communications Strategy - Concept Development


- Creative Strategy and Planning - Production Counsel and Briefing
- Brand Positioning - Art Direction and Design
- Creative Briefs - Copy Writing
- Market Research Counsel - Brand Promotion
- Print Buying
- Sponsorship Management
- TV Production Supervision

*Information supplied courtesy of AIS Media.

When looking for a creative agency, further suggested areas for consideration are:

• Review the agency's most recent campaigns (previous 6 months)


• Consider the creative reputation of the selected agencies
• Request failure/success case histories, gauge whether the agency has an understanding
of the reasons behind a particular campaign failing or succeeding.

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Prior associations and contacts, the recommendations and referrals of colleagues, media
reports and researched performances may contribute to a preliminary rollcall. You will need to
reduce this first to a shortlist and then your preferred pitch list.

Personal factors can play a part in selecting agencies to be invited to pitch however, by
adopting a strategic approach to every aspect, the opportunity for a successful pitch is
increased.

To start:
" List agencies responsible for advertising you regard as effective, or simply like.
In some instances, it may be prudent to eliminate any agencies with known connections to
competitors or other inhibiting conflicts of interest
" Consider your potential priority within the client registers of agencies on your list in terms of
estimated budget size and significance
" Compare agency profiles compiled from recent trade media monitoring as well as such
references as the B&T Year Book, AdNews Hand Book and AdBrief (Quarterly) Review,
The Agency Register, and current reference material available from the AANA and AFA.
" Contact comparable client company marketing managers (as gleaned from the agency
profile comparison) for personal references
" Request and review agency reels and example strategies and/or creative (with an
emphasis on similar briefs).

These practices should allow you to create a rollcall register from which to seek further
credentials and capabilities information specific to your outline brief, allowing the selection of a
shortlist leading to a group of up to four agencies to be invited to pitch for your business.

While a questionnaire is provided (as Appendix 1) to assist in the final stages of selection, a
general guide to the process is illustrated here:

Stage Major Assignment Minor Assignment


Prospect List* 20+ 10+
Rollcall 10-20 5-10
Shortlist* 6-10 5-7
Pitch List 3-4 2-3

* Note: In smaller markets (outside Sydney) the prospect list and shortlist would be much smaller

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Typical questions in requesting specific credentials and capabilities include:
" Agency history
" Current client list
" Example campaigns
" Specific skill sets / strategic

The screening process can also include direct contact with agency management, ranging from
informal telephone conversations to inspection visits of agency premises.

At this early stage, it is also important to determine any potential conflicts of interest, which the
pitching agency should be made aware of. It is best to advise the agency of these in writing.

Influencing factors will also depend on priorities and preferences in relation to your particular
requirements, which will determine relative weighting of established agency strengths such as:

" Creativity
" Management (particularly account strength and continuity)
" Media
" Strategy

Agencies position themselves according to their capabilities and their own beliefs concerning
the relative importance of such capabilities. Some are broad-based, others narrowly focused
on particular areas of expertise. A match for your range of requirements will also depend in
part on your established in-house resources, and your own estimation of external support
needs.

Advertisers with years of experience working with agencies also stress the importance of
feeling comfortable with the individuals working within them. Openness and honesty of
communication is generally considered crucial, and although this consideration increases in
relevance later in the pitch process, doubts at this point are rarely ever dispelled.

As a prospective client, you should be prepared to provide details of your credit and trading
position (or full disclosure of your source of funds) at the agency's request, particularly if your
company is small or new.

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STEP 3: LOOKING BOTH WAYS

Meetings between your in-house team and those of prospective agencies are widely
recognised as the third key step towards establishing profitable partnerships. This is a good
opportunity for a Q&A session to clarify the needs of both parties.

In all its forms, advertising is above all a people business, and with a shortlist of no more than
four agencies, a round of meetings should be manageable. It is also reasonable in terms of the
information on your own strategic thinking likely to be sought during this phase of the process.

THREE-WAY SPLIT

With full service agencies, while most will endeavour to meet your preferences, they are
generally geared to providing three types of presentation:

Presentations
Based on the agency’s experience, service facilities and people
of Credentials
Strategic Considered comments on a company’s marketing situation and
Presentations strategy
Creative
The creative-based pitch responding to the specifics of a brief.
Presentations

At this early point, you will find most of your team’s information needs met by credentials or
broad strategic presentations, with agencies in any case requiring a detailed brief before
responding to any requests for Creative presentations. (Most agencies will not embark on a
creative-supported pitch without a detailed brief, recognising the risks of investing time and
money - as well as their creativity - in preparing presentations on only superficial
understandings of clients and their objectives.)

If the creative component is a major consideration, a reasonable assessment can generally be


obtained from examples of recent assignments, particularly where agencies and their existing
clients are willing to provide details of results.

Whether you visit the agencies or invite them to visit you, it is important to at least meet with
account and creative managers nominated to work directly on your business, as well as with

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representatives of each agency’s senior management who might lead their pitch for your
business. Personal chemistry is accepted by seasoned campaigners among agency
personnel as well as advertisers as a major contributor to shared success. It is reasonable to
request time with particular people in relation to your account, allowing you to assess their
personalities and operating styles as well as their business industry knowledge - while they, of
course, do likewise with you.

It is also acceptable to request contact with current clients and to raise any issues your
selection process may have revealed relating to previous clients of individual agencies.

What is unreasonable is to expect any one agency to comment on the work or clients of any
other. It is unacceptable to expect any agency to accord less confidentiality to other accounts
than you have a right to expect in relation to your own business.

Particular tips at this point, are to:


" set achievable goals,
" be open and honest on all issues, and
" provide access to key staff and any other information sources.

It is general practice to advise each of the agencies you contact at this time of the other
agencies you have under consideration. It is an increasing trend for advertisers to issue trade
media statements announcing the agencies invited to pitch for their business, with a further
announcement promised at the completion of the pitch process.

STEP 4: FRAMING THE BRIEF

It is often said that the best pitch will be only as good as the brief. More certainly, according to
advertisers and agencies, the best briefs generate the best pitches, explaining the emphasis
deserved by this fourth key step in the advertising pitch process. In order for the process to
produce the best range of pitches however, does require that the briefs provided to each
agency are identical. Generally accepted as the preferred approach, is a round of personal
briefings supported by concise but complete documentation and allowing adequate time for
pitch preparation.

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RESPONSE TIMES

It is in your best interests to ensure that agencies be given adequate time to consider the
brief and prepare their responses, with a general guide being:

Requirement Minimum Preparation Preferred Preparation


Time Time
Credentials Presentation 1 week 2 weeks+
Strategic Submission 4 weeks 6 weeks+
Full Creative Pitch 6 weeks 8 weeks+

For best results, the brief will often need to include commercially sensitive information on a
confidential basis. Most agencies will readily enter into a confidentiality agreement in the
interests of obtaining market data, research and other details contributing to successfully
meeting the specifications of the brief. Both parties should agree to the return of all data and
documentation at the conclusion of the process.

The brief should prioritise your objectives in terms of outcomes and milestones, together with
related measures and rewards, and be supported by a profile of your organisation including:

" Company/organisation history


" Competitive position (customer profile, geographic coverage, market
ranking, pricing, research data etc)
" Details of products and/or services (specific and surplus to current
advertising requirement)
" Distribution methods (business-to-business, catalogues/direct mail, retail,
e-tail etc)
" Existing advertising and marketing activity (including external suppliers
and in-house capabilities, and indications of established and anticipated
spending levels)
" Previous advertising

Your brief should also clearly indicate whether the initial requirement is limited to: strategic
proposals alone; strategic proposals supported by example creative; or a full creative pitch -
together with related arrangements concerning costs (see Step 5). It should be made clear
that where a strategic pitch only is requested and an agency also produces creative ideas, that
this will not influence the final decision.

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The briefing phase of the process can be assisted by agreeing to agency access to senior staff
and specialists associated with your organisation to follow-up discussions on specific
questions.

While individual agencies may seek exclusive answers to their inquiries, a central register of
questions and answers will enable you to consider any information that should properly be
advised to all contenders. A lot can be learned in terms of quality of thinking indicated by
follow-up questions from agencies, so these should be recorded anyway for review by the
pitch management team.

STEP 5: DETERMINING FAIR COMPENSATION FOR PITCHING

Advertising agencies rarely give away their best ideas, nor should they be expected to. This
gives good reason for your fifth key step to be consideration of who should pay for what in
relation to the pitch.

PAYING YOUR WAY

The best answer to the question of who pays for what in relation to pitch presentations is
probably “it’s negotiable”, but here is a general guide based on the experience of advertisers
and agencies:

Requirement Costs to Advertiser Costs to Agency


Credentials Presentation # !
Strategic Submission ! !
Full Creative Pitch ! !

Agencies are generally enthusiastic to accept opportunities to present their credentials at no


cost. However most agencies seek to recover development costs of strategic and creative
submissions and expect that all out of pocket expenses will be covered.

While strategic advice carries a value deserving recognition if not full recompense, the full
creative pitch is particularly time-consuming and costly. Both can run into tens of thousands of
dollars even without inclusion of agency employee hours.

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In current practice, most agencies expect to negotiate cost recoveries where the pitch request
extends beyond the basics of layouts or storyboards to the likes of animatics, audio tracks,
original music or test Internet site work.

If you elect for a full creative pitch, you will need to decide between:
" Advising a set budget to each agency; or
" Requesting a budget from each agency

While the first course may appear the fairest as well as proving the most convenient, the
second is less likely to inhibit the scope of the creative elements featuring in the pitch
presentations. Your consideration could be influenced by other factors, including questions of
whether there is enough…

Time … to prepare a creative as well as strategic response


to the advised requirement
Understanding … on which agencies can base their creative and/or
strategic responses
Incentive … for agencies to produce their best quality work with
only a chance of winning the business
Money … to adequately fund research into the alternative
approaches flowing from the pitch process.

STEP 6: PLAYING BY THE RULES

The ‘rules of the game’ in setting up a competitive pitch situation include established ethics
and a few unwritten laws making up a sensible sixth step in pitch process management. A
formal confidentiality agreement is a good example.

While you have an automatic right to expect any agency to treat information provided or
obtained during the preparation of the pitch in the strictest of confidence, experienced
professionals recommend an exchange of letters guaranteeing this as a minimum. If the
agencies you are choosing from are AFA members, then they have agreed to abide by the
industry's Code of Practice.

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BEST PITCHING PRACTICE
" Best practice requires written agreements in relation to confidentiality and copyright.
" Under standard Australian practice, agencies very rarely release rights to conceptual or
physical work without adequate remuneration.
" Where no alternative commercial agreement is in place, Australian practice also
includes subsequent alternative use by agencies of conceptual or physical work created
in the process of pitching for a particular assignment.

The protection should work both ways, with acknowledgment of copyright ownership in relation
to work undertaken by the agency as important as the confidentiality agreement in relation to
company information.

Although it makes sense for all documentation for which protection is sought to be clearly
marked, this is not essential. Produced creative materials, including copy and artwork, are
automatically owned by the agency under copyright protection, with any unauthorised use
constituting an infringement subject to legal recourse.

Unless written agreements are negotiated to the contrary, agencies generally regard not only
their physical work but also any concepts they may choose to present as carrying copyright or
confidentiality status.

A written agreement is the sensible approach to all issues of copyright ownership. This may
well avoid troublesome and potentially expensive argument over what might otherwise result
from misunderstandings. It is not uncommon for advertisers to mistakenly presume a fee paid
in respect of a pitch includes unrestricted rights to submitted material.

STEP 7: ESTABLISHING AN OBJECTIVE EVALUATION SYSTEM

The seventh step in the successful management of the pitch process is based on objectivity
counting for more than subjectivity.

In the same way as many companies use predetermined comparison points in their personnel
selection, the establishment of an objective evaluation system for the assessment of
competitive pitch presentations will greatly assist decision-making. Advising the agencies of
your criteria for judging the presentations will also aid your assessment and reduce the risk of
political influences counting against the eventual selection on a ‘best fit’ basis.

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It will pay you to ensure that all relevant decision-makers within your organisation are fully
briefed at the outset and kept informed throughout the pitch process. They should understand
the reasons for their appointment on the selection panel, their attendance at each pitch
presentation is a useful prerequisite to an involvement in the final decision.

The presentation phase of the process provides an excellent chance of face-to-face


exchanges with agency personnel proposed to work on your account, and the best way of
assessing their compatibility with your own people is to have the two teams meet. While you
may choose to have the competing agencies present to you in your own choice of location,
some advertisers recognise benefits in attending presentations at the different agency
premises. This is held to show agency teams at their best, performing within their own
environment and will help you get a feel for the culture of the agency.

TYPICAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA


THE PITCH
How good is the response?
Remember that the pitch is based on your brief, and needs to be assessed on that
basis first and foremost.
THE PEOPLE
Who will work on your account?
Their professional history, other accounts they have worked on and their lengths of
employment with the agency or within the industry, may help you evaluate their
likely contribution. Ask yourself - can I work with these people? Is the "chemistry"
right?
THE WORK
What work is being done for other clients?
Requesting an example of work that has failed alongside samples of successes
not only provides a good basis for assessment of physical output, but tests an
agency’s ability to acknowledge weaknesses as well as strengths.
THE TESTIMONIALS
What do other clients really think?
Ask for particular references, in relation to specific work, rather than simply
accepting those the agency might provide.
THE BACK-UP
What back-up does this team have?
Any team is going to require support, and assessment of your preferred agency
could be influenced by specific capabilities such as research.
Also, remembering your potential priority within each agency’s client list, you will
need to be sure the agency’s overall workload is fully protected
by back-up.

The time you need to allow for pitch presentations should be agreed in advance with the
agencies, with between one and two hours being most frequently requested.

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Although it can be tiring on your selection panel, having each of the presentations made on the
same day, or even on succeeding days, is not only fairer on the agencies - ensuring the same
preparation time for all - but is generally regarded as assisting comparative evaluation.

Whatever the terms of agreement, ensure sufficient breaks in the presentations to avoid
fatigue and adequate breaks between presentations to allow each to be approached with
equal open-mindedness.

RELATIONSHIP CHECKLIST
You may find it useful to ask yourself a few questions about the agency
teams, including:

" How well do they appear to work together?


" How well do they listen as well as talk?
" How well do they seem to understand
- your business?
- your position ?
- your objectives?
" How well do they relate to your people?
" How well do they respond to criticism?
" How keen are they to gain your business?
" Does the agency have a formal review process in place with its
team and their clients?

You should also advise the agencies whether a period for questions is to be allowed after their
presentation or accommodated within their allocated time. You may also want to allow time for
discussion and evaluation by your selection panel following each presentation.

STEP 8: FORMULATING CONTRACTS AND REMUNERATION

Getting terms agreed in writing is a mutually-beneficial eighth step in the agency selection
process. While the past has witnessed a proliferation of compensation models and the
commission and service fee is still the most common method, there are indications that the
industry is now moving towards agreements based on fixed fees or head hours.

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Regardless of the form of payment, legitimate agencies aim to achieve 20% of income as
profit before tax and interest. This represents around 2% on billings.

Even so, you will need to be explicit about the nature and extent of services you want an
agency to provide in order to obtain accurate advice on costs—and getting terms and
conditions committed to contractual form as early as possible is a widely-acclaimed element of
successful client/agency relationships.

Forms as well as amounts of remuneration need to be detailed, with most agencies open to at
least some degree of negotiation in relation to their preferred terms and conditions. Here,
both an understanding of agency costs and an understanding of client profitability need to be
demonstrated by all parties.

CURRENT REMUNERATION MODELS


• Service fee & commission
• Commission only
• Negotiated flat fee
• Combination commission & flat fee
• Sliding scale commission
• Base fee & incentive
• Payment by project
• Payment by head hours
• Payment by head hours (plus profit contribution)
• Other performance based models
• Combinations of the above

As a client, you will need to understand your agency’s billings cycle, and the agency will want
to know your payment periods. It will also pay you to set the terms and conditions of formal
and informal performance reviews at this point. Although some advertisers and agencies
prefer the former on the basis of its demonstration of open and honest two-way
communication, others say the latter is more reliable. Industry leaders on both sides of the
equation suggest playing safe: bet on both.

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PERFORMANCE CRITERIA
While cost effectiveness affords a ‘bottom line’ basis for performance reviews, experience
affords some equally-valuable performance predictors, including the following checklist.
Scoring each out of 20 and taking the total as a percentage will clearly indicate whether you
are working towards a good, bad or indifferent bottom line outcome.
" What do you think of the calibre of the people involved? [ ]
" How good are your relationships with the people involved? [ ]
" How good is the two-way information flow? [ ]
" How good is the recovery from mistakes and
misunderstandings? [ ]
" How objective do you regard the agency? [ ]
%

Other matters for consideration at this time include the longstanding agency argument that not
all clients have traditionally recognised the need for agencies to charge for intellectual input.
Agencies claim that, under the commission and fee system, many of their services—
particularly strategic advice and creative concepts—have been provided without recompense.

Increasingly, agencies are seeking to charge for what they regard as their intellectual property,
reflecting this in fees for creative concepts and strategic advice, outside the contracted
services. Increasingly, also, advertisers are demanding transparency in third-party costs, with
agreements requiring copies of subcontracted service invoices to be provided either on
request or as a matter of course.

The best advice for any advertiser is to require a contract detailing the specific inclusions and
exclusions of the arrangement, together with an agreed schedule of fees for all services
available from the agency.

Arthur Anderson provides the following advice which serves as a valuable checklist during
formulation of your remuneration model.

AGENCY REMUNERATION !
1. Does it provide adequate professional service to the advertiser?
2. Does it fairly compensate the agency for its work?
3. Does it provide an incentive to both parties?
4. Is it simple to operate?
5. Has it been reviewed periodically?

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STEP 9: MAKING THE DECISION

The ninth step in the process is making and advising your decision.

With your preferred agency determined through a fair and reasonable evaluation process, it is
a reasonable expectation that your decision should follow within an agreed timeframe after the
pitch presentations. You should advise the agencies of your expected timeframe.

It is also generally accepted that your decision should be advised to all contenders on the
same day in the same way. Certainly, your selection should not be communicated elsewhere
until each of the agencies has been informed.

Any materials held by you should be returned at this time, and you should also formally
request the return of any property belonging to your organisation.

After each agency has been advised, it is an increasing practice in Australia for advertisers—
rather than any of the agencies—to make the decision public through a media release to the
trade press specifying the successful agency. With this element of the process included in the
original brief, there is no standard or required form, and in current practice the amount of
supporting detail about the decision varies considerably.

Increasingly, agencies failing to win the business are requesting a debrief on the basis for
such decisions, and except where specifically excluded in the original invitation to pitch, such
requests are usually being granted.

For these and other commercial reasons, it is good practice to document the decision and the
basis on which it has been made, and advise all parties involved.

STEP 10: GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS

Your final step is to get down to business just as soon as you can.

The selection of an agency is the beginning of a continuous management process requiring


significant investment of time and resources.

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Clearly, dealing with new people will create its own additional demands, but whether you are
now working with a new agency or continuing with an established arrangement, you will need
ongoing management of the relationship to obtain the best benefits from it.

The most difficult situation is one involving a change of agency, where those involved—and
observers—will find it hard not to see the outcome in terms of winners and losers.
Being seen to treat all of those involved with respect and courtesy has the potential to benefit
you the most, remembering that you are likely to be repeating the pitch process at some time
in the future.

It is important to ensure that any contract you have with an outgoing agency is properly
fulfilled, with particular reference to the contracted notice period and payment of all monies
due.

Although a standard has yet to be set in Australia, a period of 90 days is generally accepted as
fair and reasonable for the transfer of responsibility from one agency to another, with the
outgoing agency entitled to regular remuneration, including any outstanding commissions
and/or cost recoveries during this time.

For the successful agencies—newly-appointed or reappointed—some see benefits in


celebratory social functions, while others favour more work-related events to mark the
conclusion of the pitch process and the start of the new relationship.

When they get down to business, however, comparatively few agencies end up implementing
the pitch they presented to win the work.

As they get to know your business, agencies are more likely to create solutions to suit specific
objectives, and it can be useful to allow for an initial settling-in period of relatively low output
expectations.

Certainly it will take time for you to learn to work together to mutual advantage. And, equally
certainly, the eventual success of your new relationship will depend on recognition of mutual
benefit in a profitable partnership.

The work will never stop, but you can have fun doing it!

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PITCHING TIPS & TRAPS TO AVOID

Professionals throughout the Australian advertising industry are evidencing increasing concern
about what might be regarded as bad pitching practices, including:

♦ Providing agencies with different briefs for the same pitch

♦ Restricting agency access to information that could assist


the pitch or influence assessment of 'fit'
♦ Changing the brief during the pitch process in a way that
favours one of the competing agencies
♦ Providing one agency with information or materials
produced by another
♦ Failing to properly compensate or handle an outgoing
agency
♦ Failing to have the full approval of management to
appoint or change agencies
♦ Providing misleading (or over-promising) budget
estimates
♦ Unfair pressure on final shortlist candidates to reduce
costs
♦ Giving insufficient notice of changed arrangements
(meetings or deadlines)
♦ Pitching just to keep the existing agency "on its toes"
when there is no intention to change agencies

♦ Briefing competing agencies as a group

♦ Not involving key decision makers in the pitch

♦ Inconsistency in the pitch management team. All


members of the team should attend each and every
presentation.

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APPENDIX 1

AGENCY SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE

SAMPLE QUESTIONS

1. Agency Name ______________________________________


2. Address ______________________________________
Total number of employees __________________________
Head Office __________________________
Branches __________________________
3. a) Ownership
Multinational Australian Owned
b) Names and titles of principal shareholders/partners:
c) Membership in Advertising Federation of Australia (AFA) Yes No
4. Principal client list year acquired
Senior client person dealt with? May we contact? Yes No
5. a) List clients gained over past 24 months
b) List clients lost over past 24 months
6. Which type of compensation arrangement do you prefer?
Commission and Service Fee
Project Fee
Head Hour Fees
Flexible
Other
Guaranteed Fees & Commission with performance override
Please explain:
7. Comment on those accounts on which you feel you have made a significant contribution to
the client's success.
8. What is the creative philosophy of your company?
9. Is there any other agency information that is relevant?
10. Special resources available (eg. Direct Marketing, Public Relations, Sales Promotion).

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