Marketers say clients use ideas of agencies that lose out at pitch time

Survey finds half of respondents believe fees should be paid for time invested in pitches

Marketing.ie editor Michael Cullen: ‘Sometimes you do hear that ideas that have been presented in pitches do crop up again in campaigns.’

Marketing.ie editor Michael Cullen: ‘Sometimes you do hear that ideas that have been presented in pitches do crop up again in campaigns.’

 

With three-quarters of Ireland’s marketing professionals having been involved in at least one advertising pitch within the past four years, the perils of the process are well known across the industry. For an agency, the worst-case scenario is investing time and money in a pitch, losing out and then seeing what looks very much like your idea surface anyway.

According to a survey commissioned by monthly trade bible Marketing.ie to celebrate its 25th birthday, seven in 10 (71 per cent) of marketers believe clients tend to use some of the ideas suggested by agencies that have not won the business. Of these, two-thirds (65 per cent) feel this is an unfair practice.

“Sometimes you do hear that ideas that have been presented in pitches do crop up again in campaigns in future years or months even,” says Marketing.ie editor Michael Cullen.

Half of the 303 respondents to the survey, carried out for Marketing.ie by Behaviour & Attitudes, agree clients should pay agencies some sort of fee for pitching. Within this half, 60 per cent say payment should be made to all participating agencies, with 40 per cent of the view that a sum should be paid to the winning agency only.

The last finding is a surprise, says Cullen. “It would seem right to reward the agencies that lose out on the pitch – there should be some compensation for the time and effort put in. But for the victorious agency, I think the prize is winning the business.”

Two years ago, advertising body IAPI published a set of pitching guidelines in a bid to persuade clients to keep the number of agencies invited to pitch as low as possible – to make the odds of winning better and reduce the amount of wasted time.

“There seems to be far more compliance now,” says Cullen. On average, Irish marketers feel that between three and four is the ideal number of agencies to invite to pitch for business, with one of those typically being the incumbent agency bidding to retain its client.

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