Pitching Process Survey: PRCA urges changes to the pitching process

The findings of a joint PRCA and PRWeek survey have revealed that clients and agencies both have concerns about the pitching process.

The survey, completed by 166 respondents, revealed that 70% of agencies are unsatisfied with the quality of the briefs supplied because they are either too broad or often come without a stated budget.

In-house respondents were more positive about the quality of the pitching process, with 50% claiming that they were satisfied with it, because the agencies usually delivered a creative and well thought out pitch. However, 66% of clients said that agencies do not always deliver on the expectations set in pitches.

When asked which areas agencies should work on during the pitching process, 90% of clients cited sectoral knowledge, and 40% cited creativity.

Asked about the timescale for the pitching process, 35% of agencies were unsatisfied with the amount of time they were given to prepare for the pitch; 68% of agencies said that on average they were given two weeks to respond to a brief, whereas 50% of respondents said that they would prefer a month to prepare for pitches.

However, 41% of agencies also said that they were neither satisfied nor unsatisfied with the amount of time they were given to respond to a brief, with over 40% of respondents claiming that they would like to be given two weeks to respond to a brief.

This response was in line with the in-house responses, as 60% of respondents give agencies two weeks to respond to a brief.

Most respondents mentioned that the time given to respond to a brief was not enough to produce a thorough and well-researched response without having to sacrifice existing client work.

Shockingly, 67% of agencies said that their ideas had been used after an unsuccessful pitch.

Finally, a big source of frustration for agencies was the number of consultancies involved in the pitching process. 37% of agencies said that seven to nine companies were involved in the credentials phase of the pitching process, with 21% of agencies stating that 10 or more were involved. This drops to one to six agencies being involved in the formal pitch process.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, PRCA Director General said:

“The pitching process has been a source of ongoing frustration for both clients and agencies. It is high time that both sides consider reviewing it to ensure that the industry is using its time effectively to create well-though out and creative campaigns.

“Clients need to ensure that they are supplying agencies with appropriate briefs with specific aims and stated budgets. Getting the brief right can save both sides a lot of time and resources, which is why the PRCA worked with the IPA, MCCA, and ISBA to produce a best practice guide on this.

“We have also seen that more clients are using the same ideas after unsuccessful pitches, which is completely unacceptable. The PRCA created the Ideas Bank to give agencies the opportunity to keep a permanent record of their pitches to stop this from happening. It’s idea theft pure and simple, and it needs to stop”



About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 49 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

photo:Matt Cartmell
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Matt Cartmell
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