Running a media agency pitch? Here’s how to evaluate competing media agencies.

Media Agency Pitch

Jul 08, 2022 | Philippe Dominois

Running a media agency pitch? Here’s how to evaluate competing media agencies.

When you’re running a media agency pitch, the aim is obvious. You’re looking to evaluate the competing media agencies and find the best possible partner for your needs. Because, ultimately, you’re looking for long-term business growth and brand recognition.
So there’s simply no point investing time, money and resources into running a media agency pitch if you’re not sure you’re going to end up with the right agency at the end. You’ve got to be certain of your evaluation methods from the start.

Determining the winner of a media agency pitch should be a clear, logical and objective process. It shouldn’t be a subjective decision in any significant way. With so much at stake, judging a media agency pitch simply isn’t the place for feelings or emotions. What you’re looking for is a cold-headed assessment of strengths and weaknesses of each participating agency, and an understanding of how those qualities fit with the profile of the agency you need.

In this piece, you’ll learn how to use scorecards as an almost foolproof method for evaluating different media agencies. This will help with both shortlisting and deciding your eventual winner, giving you increased confidence that you will arrive at the correct conclusion in every pitch you run. Here’s how to do it…


What is a media agency pitch scorecard?

Before we discuss how to use a media agency pitch scorecard, it’s important to consider why they are so important.

A media agency pitch scorecard details all the assessment criteria you will use in making your decisions. Think of it as a tool for systematically determining the winner of your media agency pitch.

Approaching your decision in this way isn’t just good for your business. It’s also a way of building trust and transparency between you and the competing agencies, because it signals to them that the pitch process will be run fairly and professionally.

Using a media agency pitch scorecard is also an excellent way of helping to ensure the relationship between you and your chosen agency works well after the contract is signed, and not just during the pitch process.


How to structure media agency scorecards for best effect

How you structure your media agency scorecard has a direct impact on the outcome of your media agency pitch. There are two aspects to consider here.

Firstly, the questions you use to assess your competing media agencies will determine the direct criteria on which any assessments will be made.

Secondly, the weighting you place on each of these questions will also impact your final choices. So before your pitch begins, your internal team needs to determine what is important in your pitch. From there, you can weigh each scoring criteria according to its importance in your overall decision.

Measuring the performance and offers of the participating agencies’ pitches relies on having clearly determined scoring parameters. We recommend four key sections in your scoring methodologies:


Section 1: Response to the RFP

In this section, you’ll make a formal assessment of each agency’s responses to the RFP — both their written responses and their pitch presentations. Broadly speaking, we recommend dividing this section into four important subsections, each of which contains specific questions for your team to consider. These subsections are:

  • Strategic value

  • Creativity and innovation

  • Media planning and buying process

  • Data and digital technologies

Within this part of your scorecard, you’ll consider issues such as whether the agency demonstrated a proactive strategic approach, whether the agency can provide a best-in-class media planning and buying process for all campaigns, and if the agency demonstrated strong experience working with data and technology. Several other specific matters for consideration are included in our measurement and scoring template.


Section 2: Agency chemistry and capabilities

In the second section of your media agency pitch scorecard, you’ll analyse the potential relationships between your brand and each competing agency. We recommend dividing this section into two important subsections:

  • Proposed agency team chemistry

  • Proposed agency team capabilities

This is your opportunity to assess each agency for passion, enthusiasm, thought leadership and more. You’ll also consider issues such as whether the team presenting to you is the same as that outlined in the FTE proposal.


Section 3: Savings

The third section of your scorecard takes a closer look at the financial offerings each agency is making. This work is divided into four important subsections:

  • Savings from improved media prices at equivalent media quality

  • Savings from improved digital media technical rates

  • Savings from increased transparency and cash rebates

  • Savings from reduced agency remuneration

This is a particularly analytical and methodical stage in the media agency pitch scorecard, because you’re looking at cold, hard financial figures. No subjective judgements are necessary here. It’s simply a case of understanding each of the criteria, filling in the appropriate figures, and assessing each agency against the others to determine which performs best.


Section 4: Contractual agreement

The final section of your scorecard looks closely at the terms and conditions of any potential agreement between your brand and the winning agency. It includes five important subsections:

  • Acceptance to your of T&Cs

  • Robustness of the PRF scheme

  • Agency acting as an agent

  • Full media transparency provided

  • Agreement in providing the required information and data

This section helps you to make a clear-headed assessment of which agency is most aligned with your contractual objectives. It also enables you to quickly determine which agency is least likely to be a good fit for your brand.

The Abintus process for evaluating competing media agencies

Under each of these four main sections (and the subsections contained within each), our proprietary process asks specific questions designed to give you all the detail you need to assess each competing agency.

Through many years of experience, Abintus has also learned how to score and weigh each of these sections for the best possible outcome. All of this information is supplied as standard when you choose to work with Abintus as your media agency pitch consultant.

It’s important to remember two further points as you complete your media agency pitch process. 

1. Every member of your pitch team should complete a scorecard for every competing agency. This gives you a holistic view of your brand’s assessment of each agency, rather than relying solely on a single decision maker.

2. All generated scores should then be aggregated to determine your two finalists. This gives you a chance to receive best-and-final offers from each of the two remaining agencies before making the final choice about your pitch’s winner.


Lower the risks of getting your media agency pitch process wrong

Running a media agency pitch is a huge responsibility. Get the choice of winner wrong, and you could be setting your brand up for years of underperformance and wasted media spend. This would put you at a significant risk of losing market share to your nearest competitors.

Using a proven scoring methodology helps to eliminate a lot of this risk, because it codifies and quantifies exactly how you will assess each agency in your pitch. In turn, that lowers the possibility of an agency being chosen simply because a senior decision maker ‘likes them’.

Abintus’s founders have more than 40 years’ experience in international media, and together they have helped challenger brands choose the very best agencies for their needs in pitches across the world.

Book a free consultation today and take the first major step towards running a successful media agency pitch process.


Author Expertise and Experience:

Philippe Dominois is co-founder and CEO of Abintus Consulting, and Head Coach at the Abintus Academy. He has over 25 years of international media experience, having worked on the media agency side, client side, and media auditing side throughout his career. Philippe has authored hundreds of articles over the years that focus on media management best practices.

Media Auditing Guide: Click Here

Media Agency Pitch Management Guide: Click Here

Free Media Agency Contract Assessment: Click Here

Free Media Management Training for Advertisers: Click Here

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