Ditch the lengthy and expensive new business pitch, says Forrester

By our News Team | 2023

Agencies have always hated pitching. Is the answer to reframe pitches into paid projects that make pitch consultants into partners?

The new business pitch has been a part of agency life for decades. And, since the beginning, there have been agency executives complaining that the process is flawed.

It’s a debate that hasn’t gone away, with international research and advisory company Forrester being the latest to exclaim that it’s ‘time to ditch the pitch’.

Agency Business

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“Agency reviews and the dysfunctional process that accompanies them cost agencies and (by proxy) their clients a whopping US$12.5-billion per year,” say Jay Pattisall and John Arnold, two senior executives at Forrester, in a recent blog post.

“That amount nearly equals the revenue of the third-largest global agency holding company. It’s no wonder that 76% of US CMOs indicate that their company’s overall 2023 marketing budget is higher than it was in 2022. Marketers are indirectly funding pitches,” the pair emphasise.

Beyond the costs, the process of selecting an agency is untenable. Procurement-driven reviews often disqualify perfectly capable agencies with cost-only criteria, given that 76% of chief procurement officers prioritise reducing costs. 

Agencies over-invest time and human capital

“The marketers in charge of managing their agencies often come to the process without adequate preparation. Agencies themselves over-invest time, materials and human capital in high-pressure, new business activity. 

“And despite the best of intentions, the conventional consultant-led selection process is lengthy, laborious and overengineered,” Pattisall and Arnold say.

The pair believe the answer is to reframe pitches into paid projects. 

“Design paid projects to facilitate agency selection rather than allowing gratis proof-of-concept collaborations where neither party has real skin in the game. 

“Clients complain about service. Agencies complain about margins. Rather than severing the relationship, focus on preserving it by scoping and compensating pitch consultants to help manage the ongoing productivity of client and agency alliances — not just the selection.”

In this model, Pattisall and Arnold say, pitch consultants become partner consultants, leveraging years of consulting experience to help CMOs select and maintain healthy working relationships.

You can read the full blog post here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.