Artisan Marketing Communications offers clients PR and marketing communications advice, practical support and implementation.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Should prospective clients pay for pitches?

It’s not a new question and there are many answers, but should clients contribute to the cost of pitching?

A pitch isn’t simply an hour or twos at the client’s office: it is preparation, follow up and the proposal. This amounts to a full day’s work.

We can take some satisfaction in winning the business or even coming second although to quote the great Bill Shankly, “Winning is every thing, second is nothing.”

But, it is those cases where there is no feedback, indeed I have had one experience of a prospective customer not even returning calls! And they called me after they had heard good things, stated they were happy with the ideas and thought that it would be a "yes" to the proposal.

Yet, the issue is not just the time, it is about the profession. Marketing suffers in comparison to other professions. The professional body cannot strike you off for malpractice. Marketers do not need mandatory qualifications or indeed on-going training to practice. If compounded by the intangible elements of the profession then marketers have a real problem in selling in their profession as well as the work at many pitches.

Paying for pitches would help raise the professional image of marketing and PR. If we continue the way we are on this and many other issues we will always be the downtrodden of the professional classes.

Is it possible though? The answer is yes and no. If every agency asks for a fee for pitching then the client will reveal if they are serious or just fishing for ideas.

Will it happen? No, it won’t. There will be a pitch fee breaker and just one will ruin it for everyone.

The outlook remains as always: some good pitches resulting in business, some close misses and some disillusioning experiences.

I would really appreciate comments from both sides of the pitching process.


Blogger Jim Symcox said...

Thoughtful post Rob.

You're right clients are unlikely to be paying for pitches.

In my previous existence in IT consultancy we regularly used to do pitches involving a minimum of 3 core full time team members and 10 contributors. Think how much that cost for roughly an elapsed week of work.

We didn't get paid for it either.

So marketing isn't alone in doing unpaid pitches.

The people who make a living doing paid pitches are medical consultants and dentists. And also famous marketer Jay Abraham.

So maybe it depends on how desperate people are to talk to you about their PR/marketing problem.


9:23 AM


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