As an ambitious challenger brand looking to make your mark in a competitive field, are you concerned about the complexities of successfully running a media agency pitch?
With so much riding on finding the best media agency for your specific objectives, it’s crucial you have confidence in your selection process and are able to clearly identify and reach an agreement with your favoured choice.
Many challenger brands share similar challenges when it comes to managing a pitch process.
- You might not know how to make your RFP attractive to media agencies.
- You might not know the best practices required to negotiate the best possible deal with your chosen media agency.
- You might not know how to recognise the most suitable media agencies for your needs.
- You might not know how to run an effective pitch process, from the initial design of the process through to the formal completion.
- You might not have the necessary time and resources to run a successful media agency pitch in-house.
With so many issues at play, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, overseeing a pitch process is not something you have to face alone.
This post outlines why engaging a media pitch consultant could be the best decision you ever make. We’ll look at the role of a media pitch consultant, how you can start to recognise a good media pitch consultant, and the results and anticipated value you should expect from working with a proven media pitch consultant.
The role of a media pitch consultant
A good media pitch consultant doesn’t stand by the sidelines waiting to be invited into the action. They take control from the beginning, helping you to work through the weakest parts of your process and spotting opportunities for improvement wherever they arise.
Some, of course, will be happy to simply offer piecemeal support throughout the agency selection process – if that is what you want. But a more attractive option for challenger brands is to let a proven media pitch consultant manage the whole process on your behalf. This means you have to dedicate fewer resources and less time, and can simply allow a skilled professional team to get on with the tasks.
At Abintus, our media pitch consultants work with challenger brands to ensure every base is covered through a defined, six-step process:
1. The Preparation Phase
During the Preparation Phase, which can take up to two months to complete, our consultants help to prepare nine different resources, including pitch timelines, pitch requirements, communication protocols, media agency contract templates, measurement criteria, agency commitment requirements, media agency long lists, and the RFP.
We also used a RACI Matrix to help you prepare your pitch team.
2. The Baseline Collection Phase
At the same time, we also oversee the Baseline Collection Phase, which typically lasts one month and is completed in parallel to the Preparation Phase.
Key milestones in this phase include informing your incumbent agencies about your pitch and collecting baseline information from them, using that information to prepare media pricing exercises, and sending your written notice of termination to your incumbent agencies in a way that complies with all contractual agreements.
3. The Agency Shortlist Phase
Next, in the Agency Shortlist Phase, we help you whittle down your longlist to a shortlist – using our unique approach.
First, we send invitation letters to longlisted agencies. We then send them and sign mutual NDAs, followed by sending your media agency contract template for review.
Secondly, we provide you with the support you need to define your media agency shortlist following feedback and comments received from the agencies involved.
4. The RFP Phase
Phase four, the RFP Phase, is when you finally begin to see and understand the capabilities and commitment of the agencies on your shortlist.
After sending out the RFP to your shortlisted agencies (and communicating with the agencies that have not made your shortlist), we manage any initial queries; manage and attend initial chemistry meetings between you and each of the shortlisted agencies.
We assess written submissions from each agency; attend pitch presentations; analyse and benchmark the offers for agency remuneration, media pricing, and commitments; and aggregate your scores to help you identify the finalist agencies moving forward. This is essential for effective media management.
5. The Decision Phase
In the Decision Phase, we will negotiate the best possible deal on your behalf with your chosen media agency.
After helping you to select your preferred agency, we will conduct contract negotiations and continue to negotiate the terms of the agreement until we make our recommendation that it is time to sign the contract. Having done each of these stages, we will then help you to communicate your decision both internally and externally.
6. The Onboarding Phase
Finally, the Onboarding Phase sees us prepare and conduct your media agency contract workshop, which gives your team full transparency and clarity about your new media agency contract.
We will also develop a media agency contract guidebook, which is designed to act as a reference document for your team as they deal with your new media agency moving forward.
How to recognise a good media pitch consultant
A quick Google search can lead you to countless media pitch consultants, each with websites making bold claims about the impact of their work. However, we would urge a cautious approach when you are conducting your search. Finding a consultant with evidence of six key factors in their work is likely to pay significant dividends. Ask yourself:
- Does this consultant have a clearly defined pitch management process (such as the proprietary six-phase agency selection process outlined in the previous section)?
- Does this consultant use strong local market intelligence, such as the COMvergence platform we use to acquire unbiased and detailed media agency intelligence?
- Does this consultant have demonstrable relevant market experience?
- Does this consultant provide transparent and detailed fees from the outset, so you are clear from the start about the size of your investment?
- Does this consultant have a bank of testimonials and recommendations from other challenger brands in your position?
- Is this consultant well respected by media agencies, giving them confidence and credibility in your process?
If the answer is ‘yes’ to all six of these questions, then you can start to feel more confident about the credentials and quality of your potential media pitch consultant.
“Abintus has demonstrated not only the ability to deliver a working process, but also flexibility to adapt to the local specifications. We love the process from top to bottom!”
Ricardo Zafra Perez, Head of Communications, Pernod Ricard España
The value of working with skilled media pitch consultants
If you engage the services of an experienced media pitch consultant, you are likely to see several significant benefits.
- You have more chance of having the best media agencies pay attention to, and ultimately participate in your pitch, because they are reassured by the production of a world-class RFP and recognise that the process will be handled professionally from start to finish.
- You are more likely to be able to correctly recognise the most suitable media agencies for your business.
- You are more likely to achieve a signed best-in-class contract with the media agency best suited to your specific profile and requirements.
- You are more likely to secure the best possible deal with your chosen media agency.
During 2021, Abintus’s efforts as a media pitch consultant resulted in an average of 30% savings on media agency remuneration. We helped our clients achieve an average of 36% reductions in media prices, average increases in AVBs of 29%, and more effective PRIP/performance-related fees (PRFs). We also consistently reduced digital media technical costs and secured stronger media agency contracts and stronger teams delivering the work.
There is too much at stake to risk going it alone
Investing in a media pitch consultant may seem like a cost you can live without, but the benefits pay for themselves many times over and the risks of attempting to oversee the process yourself are significant.
Without the credibility of a known expert, and with the competition of an increasingly large number of alternative pitches in play, the best agencies may simply choose not to participate in your pitch. You may end up agreeing to a contract that is biased towards the agency, rather than either neutral or constructed in your favour. You may also lack the expertise to achieve the best possible deal in the current climate.
For the relatively small fee of a proven pitch consultant, challenger brands can maximise the results from their pitch process and secure significant savings in their contract terms.
The top 100 global advertisers all use pitch consultants because they all recognise the risks of going alone. For a challenger brand looking to maximise results, and secure and grow its own position in the market, an experienced media pitch consultant is critical.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you run best-in-class agency pitches.