New pitching challenges revealed by agencies

Agencies are facing increased challenges around security, compliance and technology during the pitch process, as the number and burden of pitches continues to grow.

According to C&IT’s State of the Industry survey, more than 65% of agencies saw a rise in the number of pitches they took part in during 2015, despite concerns about time, cost and research.

Last year, C&IT research showed that agencies were spending an average of £10,000 on every pitch, which took around 70 hours to prepare.  While these issues still remain, agencies are also facing a series of new challenges.  


 C&IT TV: pitching new destinations 

C&IT Agency Forum: Stick to budget in pitches says brand panel 


Security and compliance

"When it comes to pitching, I think the age old problems remain," said Nigel Cooper, managing director of BCD M&E UK. "The issue of cost, resource and procurement needing a certain number of agencies to pitch hasn’t gone away.

However, we have a seen a rise in other concerns." He pointed out that security had become a big issue, in light of the recent terror attacks across the world. "If you’re looking at an event in 12 months to two years it can be hard to pitch destinations, as you have no idea where will be safe then.

The climate is constantly changing, in terms of politics, terror attacks and health issues. For example, look at the Zika virus in Rio, which nobody would have predicted. Nowadays everyone needs contingency plans."

He added that compliance was also becoming an increasingly hot topic, with larger organisations requiring agencies to demonstrate data protection and crisis management systems during pitches. "It’s no longer just a case of pitching a nice creative event, you have to prove you’ll be able to make the increasingly complex needs of clients."

Technology

Paul Stoddart, director of meetings and events at Capita Travel and Events, said: "Some clients are still guilty of putting too many agencies up to pitch and you don’t always get feedback on a pitch, which can be a major challenge since so much time and effort goes in."

In terms of new challenges, Stoddart said the increasing demand for technology was putting pressure on agencies and their partners. "Now you can’t just tell clients what technology you’d use, you have to demonstrate it in a pitch. We work with lots of production partners and it’s not just the time of the agency we’re using in a pitch- but also theirs. It’s adding to the time and cost of pitching."

Sam Robson, group events director UK at The Appointment Group agreed, pointing out that visualisation had never been more important in pitches. "It’s not just about logistics, people need to see what the event will look like. We now create dummy sites for pitches, where we can show the client what a certain aspect of the event will look like, for example their registration page. This obviously has to be done separately for every client, so it has the right branding. It can be a huge amount of work." 

More:

85% of event agencies offer enhanced benefit packages to staff

Agencies spend more than £40,000 a year on staff training 

C&IT TV: The challenges of talent management 

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