There’s never been a more competitive time to be running a media agency pitch process.
After the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, advertisers are pitching their media business in a frenzy of activity. As a result, the best media agencies are being extremely selective. They don’t have the time, energy or resources to compete in every pitch on the market.
So for challenger brands in particular, the only way to stand out and attract the best possible agencies to your pitch is to demonstrate that you know how to run a pitch professionally.
Consider what it would mean for your business if you could access a media pitch process that:
Has been proven highly effective for challenger brands in competitive markets.
Eliminates hunches by relying on a detailed scoring methodology.
Maximises your leverage to secure the best possible deal.
Guarantees a signed contract with the best possible T&Cs.
How to make a media pitch process successful
After years of experience, practice, and refinement, we have established six clear phases in our recommended best practice for running a successful media agency pitch:
The Preparation Phase, which includes preparing both your team and the documents and templates you’ll require as the process progresses.
The Baseline Collection Phase, which is completed in parallel with the Preparation Phase and involves you collecting crucial baseline information from your incumbent agency ahead of the pitch process.
The Agency Shortlist Phase, which uses Abintus’s unique approach to reduce a longlist of potential media agencies to a shortlist based on the comments and feedback you receive from each agency following their review of your media agency contract template.
The RFP Phase, which involves distributing your RFP, conducting chemistry meetings, assessing written submissions, attending pitch presentations, and accurately scoring each agency’s contribution.
The Decision Phase, which involves identifying your finalist agencies and negotiating with them the best possible deal. Once you have identified your winning agency, your contract will be ready to sign.
- The Onboarding Phase, which is very important to ensure a smooth transition, includes a media agency contract workshop and the development of a media agency contract guidebook.
But beyond this broad direction of travel, there are five essential steps that challenger brands must take to ensure their media agency pitch process reaches its full potential.
The five essential steps in a successful pitch process
Step 1 - Use COMvergence for Agency Intelligence
Defining the media agencies that are most suitable to your needs is critical in the development of an appropriate longlist.
Not all media agencies will fit with what you are trying to achieve. You might also want to exclude others who already work with your key competitors. So you must have an effective way of assessing agencies before you develop your longlist. That’s why we use insights and reports produced by COMvergence, who specialise in media agency intelligence.
These reports can help you understand which are the top agencies in your market, which perform best when it comes to winning and retaining clients, and which agencies may have potential conflicts of interest if they worked with your brand.
Step 2 - Secure Media Agency Contract Pre-Agreements
Using our media agency contract template and our unique email template, you should make it clear that contract pre-agreements are a compulsory part of participating in your media agency pitch.
By making it clear that written acceptance of the media agency contract template is mandatory for all participating agencies, you take an important step towards defining your media agency shortlist. Some agencies will agree in full to your contract. Others will come back with lots of comments and pushback. And others will be somewhere in the middle. Our process involves showing you how to get as many agencies as possible to pre-agree to your agency contract template upfront.
Step 3 - Instigate The RFP Process
Once you have shortlisted your chosen media agencies, you should send your RFP using our bespoke template. This template outlines what is required from the agency and what next steps they can expect as part of the ongoing process. It also includes appropriate deadlines and dates, to ensure your pitch process maintains its momentum.
Step 4 - Analyse the RFP Responses and Pitch Presentations
The written responses you receive from each agency will include lots of information. It’s therefore essential that you know how to extract the relevant insights efficiently and effectively. Our process uses analysis templates to look at various elements, including agency remuneration, cash AVBs, and media pricing.
We’ll also show you how to develop a scoring methodology that helps you generate an agency score for each measurement criteria in your RFP process. Once this work is complete, you are ready to move on to one of the final stages of your media pitch process.
Step 5 - Sign The Contract and Select Your Winning Agency
Your scoring methodology and resulting scorecards should clearly identify your two finalist agencies. This then enables you to start agency contract negotiations with both finalists.
Your preferred agencies can then put together their best possible offer for your consideration. This entire process normally happens within one week of the final pitch presentations.
Once you have decided which agency you would like to work with, you will need to prepare your media agency contract based on the latest T&Cs provided by your winning agency. Once your media agency contract has been approved by your legal team and your senior management, you can sign it and send it to your winning media agency for signature.
One final thing to remember throughout your pitch process…
These five steps are critical to ensuring you achieve the best possible outcome from your media pitch process. However, all of them rely on another crucial component: engaged, clear, and consistent communication from the start of the process through to its completion.
That’s why we provide extensive feedback to participating agencies at every stage of the pitch process, including:
Communicating transparent expectations from the outset of the process.
Ensuring clear contract requirements are laid out to all competing agencies.
Handling agency negotiations in an efficient and effective manner.
Delivering post-pitch debriefs that give concrete feedback on performance.
The only important thing: does this media pitch process actually work?
In a word – yes. In 2021, our secret sauce for media agency pitch process helped our clients secure on average:
30% reductions in agency fees.
36% reductions in media prices.
29% increases in AVBs / cash rebates.
It also generated stronger media agency contracts, stronger media agency teams, more effective performance-related incentive programs (PRIPs), and reduced digital media technical costs.
Here’s what two of our clients said after working with Abintus on their media pitch process.
"The Abintus team has been fantastic in supporting us through our media agency pitch process. Their expertise, processes and strong relationship management have enabled us to achieve a great result. Thank you!"
Wendy Brown, UK Customer Director, Kao Corporation
"It was a very good journey, very enriching, and I’m sure all of us learned from this process. I’ve been previously in media pitches and, let me add, none was so complete and methodical as this one! Congrats on a great job done!”
Joana Franco, Head of Marketing, Pernod Ricard Portugal
Get the best possible result from your next media pitch process
In a competitive arena, challenger brands have to get every advantage they can. That means squeezing every last drop of value out of their media pitches by using a process that has been refined and proven in the white heat of real-world negotiations.
Abintus’s experience and media pitch process has simultaneously delivered significant savings and remarkable uplifts in media effectiveness, media accountability, and media transparency.