Average pitch is costing agencies £10,000

The average event pitch costs agencies £10,000, with planners dedicating an average of 124 hours per pitch, according to a new research survey from C&IT.

Andrew Winterburn, global business development director at Ashfield Meetings & Events
Andrew Winterburn, global business development director at Ashfield Meetings & Events

C&IT surveyed 30 of the top 50 UK agencies to find out the true cost of pitching, and the key challenges facing agencies.

More than half (48%) of event agencies admitted they have difficulty arranging meetings with key decision makers at corporate companies and 52% say lead times are too short. ‘Poor briefs’ were also cited as an issue, with 43% of agencies admitting that information is often lacking when companies go out to tender.

Some 50% of agencies said the pitch process needed to be improved to reduce costs, including longer lead times, open communication with the right people and better organisation. "Often the number of agencies invited to pitch seems to be excessive," said Andrew Winterburn, global business development director at Ashfield Meetings & Events.

"Further due diligence at an ITT or PQQ stage would help filter out some agencies which may not be considered the most appropriate fit for the client organisation."

He added that face-to-face interaction meant agencies were better able to interpret briefs, eliminating any confusion about what is required. "In addition, longer lead times would reduce the investment internally within an agency as it would allow better studio planning and pre-allocation of responsibility across the response team. It would also reduce any associated expense costs such as travel arrangements to attend pitches."

Helen Seaman, group managing director at Rapiergroup, agreed that changes needed to be made in the process to improve relationships and reduce costs to both agencies and clients. "At the end of the day, it’s relationships that drive business and I think both agencies and associations should be educating corporates on how important it is to make lasting ties."

C&IT will be bringing you a series of pitching reports over the next few weeks based on our survey and in-depth interviews.

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