You, Me & Us – The Agency Pitch Dilemma

modomodoagency
October 2, 2014

I’ve been in the agency business for 21 years and I’ve never done the same pitch twice. It’s hard to tell how you are being evaluated and it’s hard to tell what information will be most valuable to the prospect selecting you. I think in the future, we’re going to give prospects an option of three styles of pitch: A) You (Prospect), B) Me (Agency), C) Us (A picture of the partnership). Let’s talk about the differences so that when you want us to come see you, we address the information most of value to you.

The “You” Pitch

We often hear from senior executives with strategic business challenges, sales and marketing challenges and questions about how much they should spend on marketing to affect change, and gain conversions/leads/engagement. In this pitch, we spend a slide or two on agency highlights, but focus our primary content on what we understand about their challenges, how we feel they should address them and some of our experience in helping companies like theirs. This can give you, as a prospect, clarity on what we might do, but probably not enough of a flavor of what the agency is like to work with and what it means to work in partnership with an agency.

The “Me” (Agency) Pitch

These pitches often come off of RFP and feel not unlike an NFL roundup. The agency is stood up on the block—they want to look at your teeth, they want to meet all your people, they want to know how many clients you have, how much of your business they will represent, they want to understand your processes and methodologies, they want to know your org chart, they want to see a lot of your creative work and they want to know how much you want their business. These pitches can be demoralizing to the agency for a few reasons: they make us feel like commodity skill sets, they make us educate prospects on how agencies work (not necessarily how we’d work with you), and they fail to focus on forward-thinking approaches to your business that we feel would set us apart (and give you the most meaningful criteria on how to make a decision). Don’t get me wrong…these questions can help flush out fake agencies that are overselling past experience and rolodex agencies that outsource much of their work…but it still leaves you with a portrait of who we have been—without you—not who we would be or what we would do to support you.

The “Us” Pitch

This is probably the best pitch and the one Modo Modo Agency prefers to use. We usually balance content to 25% on the agency and 75% on you, the prospect. We tell you a bit about how we gained our reputation, relevant client experience and sometimes a few examples of campaigns similar to what we believe your business challenges may be. The rest of the presentation is spent on what we’ve learned about you, what we feel your challenges are, how we would approach them and why we believe we are the best group to solve those challenges. The million-dollar question in these pitches is always: so who is the team that would be working on our account? To us—and this may sound like a cop out—the answer is always “that depends” and “all of us”. Modo Modo Agency has a range of disciplines and depths of experience on the account management side and the creative, interactive and integrated disciplines that will form your programs and your core team. All of us work on shaping the solution, but who you would be matched with in terms of a daily contact and a supervisory team is extremely dependent on what we are doing for you. Some clients require 10% strategy up front and 90% of getting it done. Some clients require a balance of strategy and execution throughout their relationship…sometimes over a number of years. Coming into a pitch, prior to outlining the work, it is very difficult to name names of the optimum team to support a client’s objectives.

So the next time you find yourselves looking at agencies—and want Modo Modo Agency at the table—take a look at the above approaches. Let us know what you need to know to be confident in us…but most importantly to be confident in what we might do for you. That will shape how we present to you. And we know from experience that will shape whether we are the best match for you and whether you have what you need to make an informed decision.

We won’t tell you the names of our dogs, we won’t ask you whether you want to be wined and dined, we’ll want to know how you will make your decision and what facts you need to ensure you have the best strategic marketing partner.