A free-pitch confessional prompts some questions

After 12 years of refusing to get involved in free pitches (except for a couple of charity projects) I allowed my group to get seduced into not one, but two recently. Both were for decent clients, but having committed the requisite resources I now realise why I have avoided them for so long, and it comes back to your Trite-minded article (DW 7 March).

If consultancies put themselves into situations where they are pitching against numerous others and armed with only the allotted 30-minutes client chat and as much desk research as they can stomach, the result is more likely to be clichéd. Analysis of the scant initial understanding could trigger-off an unusual creative route that may be obliterated on the day by one small (often political) issue, that is well hidden beneath the surface of the culture.

In contrast, in-depth understanding of the client’s business and culture, its audiences and, of course, the product/service, inevitably results in the confidence to break the rules and get lateral. The pitchers no longer need to second guess what the pitchees need (rather than expect), the clichés become superfluous and everyone can exit the comfort zone.

Not surprisingly when a pitch fee is offered, the 30-minutes(ish) chat gets extended, the information supplied gets better and the politics become more transparent as the client seeks to get a greater return on its investment.

But why go through all this when surely a good credentials presentation with relevant case studies should provide all that’s needed for the selection?

Roger Felton

Managing director

Felton Communication

London EC1

roger@felton.co.uk

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