Free pitches on the increase as client budgets drop, report shows
Design consultancies are increasingly being asked to work on creative pitches for free as client budgets drop, according to a new report.
The Design Industry Voices survey, authored by branding group Fairley & Associates, recruitment consultancy Gabriele Skelton and On Pointe Marketing, suggests that clients are also expecting more work for less money and that consultancies are employing fewer permanent staff - turning instead to freelancers and unpaid interns.
A total of 496 people working for digital and design consultancies were quizzed last October for the survey. Of those questioned, 71 per cent said clients were expecting more work in pitches for free.
Stef Brown, managing director of On Pointe Marketing, says, ‘Producing creative work for free during pitches means agencies are giving away their most valuable commodity: their intellectual property. I can’t think of any other professional services business where this is tolerated, or even considered an option.’
In addition, 82 per cent of respondents to the survey said client budgets had been reduced, 85 per cent said clients were expecting more work for less money and 54 per cent said clients were expecting‘safer’work.
Some 58 per cent of respondents said consultancies were using fewer permanent staff, while 58 per cent of staff surveyed said they intended to change job in the next 12 months and 35 per cent said they had been with their current consultancy for less than a year.
A report from accountant Kingston Smith W1, published last November, shows that operating profits for the Top 30 design consultancies rose by 85 per cent through 2010, while gross income for the same groups was up by £27 million.
Read analysis of this year’s Design Industry Voices report from the three co-authors here.