Alex Young, a Business Director at AAR, talks perfect pitching.
The UK economy is finally showing strong signs of improvement, with consumer confidence increasing, business outlooks brightening and marketing budgets beginning to return.
This is good news for PR agencies and marketers, but before you rush to pop the champagne, our new study suggests agencies and client-side marketers are failing to be ‘Pitch Perfect’.
To put it simply, more business means more competition. This can be a great catalyst to hone your skills, but agencies need to make sure they have an incredibly targeted marketing strategy, or risk missing the mark.
We commissioned an independent study based on interviews with 200 senior-level UK client and agency representatives, and whilst it confirmed that the volume of work going through agencies is increasing, it also flagged the challenges marketers still face.
The fact that there are more pitches being put out to tender is fantastic news, but it also means the pressure is on to capitalise on this uplift and make sure you are the stand out candidate. I have compiled a list of things agencies should do to ensure they don’t crash and burn:
What does more competition mean? Yes, flurried excitement and business movement, but it’s also a time for agencies to pause and take stock. Far from pitching to every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes your way, you need to be discerning in the number of pitches you do. PR agencies in particular are guilty of participating in far too many pitches, to the detriment of the business.
Agencies need to do their own PR. It may sound ridiculous, but this crucial business element can often be neglected. Agencies need to take the time to think about their internal processes and make sure that prospective clients can find them easily and that their expertise is clearly demonstrated. In such a competitive market, it’s vital to make yourselves known and build on your reputation and respectability.
Budgets in PR tend to be smaller than in other sectors, which gives you yet another argument for a more considered approach. The pitch process can be costly, in terms of both money and hours, and you need to be sure you pick the pitches best aligned to your business aspirations and needs, rather than use the scattergun approach.
Marketers are the yin to agencies’ yang, and there are also proactive steps they can take to ensure a smooth pitching process all around:
You need to be absolutely clear about your briefs, and make sure agencies know how a pitch will be judged, so there is no time wasted or problems down the line.
What are you expecting to achieve from the process? A simple question, but a crucial one to bring up and check everyone is on the same page.
One of the biggest challenges that marketers face according to our research is negotiating with low/changing budgets, which gives you even more reason to think very carefully about whether or not to use a retainer or project model, move activity in house or consolidate agencies.
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog is managed by b2b pr specialist Heather Baker, founder TopLine Comms, an inbound marketing, B2B content marketing agency and proud HubSpot partner agency and takes contribution from anyone sensible in the industry with something intelligent to say. Follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder or contact her via email on [email protected].
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