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The pitches, they are a-changin’

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Things could go a couple of ways this year, couldn’t they?

That platinum award-winning opportunity could materialise before you and you’ll deliver a new business pitch your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be boasting about. You know the kind of thing. To wow the client you flood their offices and bring in a troupe of dolphins trained to squeak soul-lifting CPA figures whilst nose-butting the beach ball of brand equity through hoops representing phenomenal consumer engagement. And your creative chutzpah wins the day.

Or it’ll be the usual grind. In which case, are you going to adopt the usual approach to the usual grind?

Maybe you’ll try and control everything from the outset. You’ll lay down the law to the client about the behaviour you will and will not accept if they really want you to deliver the amazing stuff you’re good at. And you’ll proudly stand your ground on price. After all, if they want the best they should pay for it, shouldn’t they?

Or maybe you’ll just wonder if any pitch is worth the effort, try and choose only the surest bets, perhaps even decide that pitching is stupid and something to be avoided. There’ll always be someone with more money to throw at their pitches, the client’s only going to choose their mates anyway.


Or maybe it’s time for a tweak.


You know what you need to win in 2016 and it’s what you always need: great team, great presentation, great references, great numbers. Target the right opportunities, deliver breadth of skill and depth in industry. And have a couple of people wandering around in Vives and put in stand-up desks of course.


On top of that? Well, here are three thoughts around what your clients are likely to be worried about this year and it wouldn’t do any harm for you to put them on your list of things to understand and help them with. Not glamorous but oh can they get certain key decision makers excited.


  1. Don’t dash for the cash without embracing the cashiers


Decision-making in organisations – ie sign-off to spend near any amount of money – is usually frustrating and fraught. Approval is being increasingly audited, automated and amended. It is highly likely the decision-makers you’re talking to will have to follow a process they may not even know about let alone understand.


You could let all this frustrate you or you could show you understand it, accommodate it in your approach to timescales and directly support the client in mapping it out.

You could even put your finance team in touch with your client’s finance team. These aren’t just people you chase on invoices or expenses, they’re usually people with quietly inestimable control, patience and influence. If you let them talk together, they might sort all kinds of things out for you.


  1. Protect the ones you love


What, security and infrastructure aren’t sexy, aren’t worthy of your creative attention?


Hmm. Isn’t site availability and quality of its content a critical part of UX? Well, how sexy or pretty will your amazing creation be once it’s been taken over by some vile or ridiculous message or other?


Treat your client’s data like the precious thing it is. Penetration testing on live environments people!


What should your client do when the beautiful campaign/website/app you’ve built for them gets hijacked? Show you care about it before it happens. That’s real brand love.


  1. The end is always the beginning


Are your product/campaign team directly engaging the people who are actually going to be running the thing, living with it, using it every day? Does everyone know who’s actually owning it once it’s live and are they in the room right now?


And who’s going to be helping them, on the business side, on the technical side? And how much is it going to cost to keep it going (resources, training, licenses, etc) so the client gets the full value from it?


Chances are, your client hasn’t planned well for the change. So you could ensure this is part of your proposal. Then you’ll really wow everyone who’s had to suffer in support of something they were never involved with until it went wrong. Or why not ensure its part of your offering? Plug the gap for your client whilst they figure out how to do it internally – if you don’t, they’ll be going to someone else to.