The increase in the number of pitches is being seen as both an opportunity and a challenge – an opportunity because agencies are getting the chance to win more new business, and a challenge because of the huge cost and resources involved in pitching.
To deliver a good pitch, an agency has to do a large proportion of the work up front, with a one in four or five chance – or even more, depending on the size of the tender – that this investment will be recouped. Kevin Jackson, George P Johnson VP sales & marketing EMEA, says: "Each pitch costs us around £30K – it’s like driving a BMW off the roof every time. It hurts."
There are various theories behind the increase in pitches, one being that there is more money in the sector and more activity as clients start spending on events again post-recession. But most believe it down to the increased involvement from client procurement teams.
Phil Watton, managing director at Lodestar says: "The increased amount of pitches we did in 2013 is an awful lot to do with procurement. We’ve seen an increased involvement with procurement across the board as the pressure on companies to buy better continues, which puts pressure on events and all marketing areas. We’ve found that some projects that probably wouldn’t have gone out to pitch before are now going out to pitch - particularly with a few of our automotive clients."