Published: Wednesday 20th November 2013

IPA and ISBA publish six key principles for media pitches

The IPA and ISBA have produced six media pitch principles to help ensure a more efficient, cohesive and cost effective media pitch process for both clients and agencies.

This latest guidance has been created by the IPA and ISBA as a follow up to its existing six pitch principles, and acknowledges the evolving remit of media agencies and the rise of e-auctions in the pitching process.

These principles are shared below:


1. Respect

Treat pitching with the respect it deserves. Ensure senior involvement from day one so that agencies are judged fairly.
Have the process clearly mapped out from the outset in terms of numbers, timings, people involvement and locations. Pitches and particularly negotiations can often go on too long – set a timescale and stick to it.
For fairness, transparency and consistency, all agencies should be briefed on the pitch at the same time and place. Make yourself available to meet with the pitching agencies individually and answer their questions in a timely manner. Treat all pitching agencies as if they were the incumbent.
Eliminate agencies, including the incumbent, along the way if they really don’t have a chance.

2. Use IPA/ISBA Standard Information Template
All IPA member media agencies have completed the industry approved Standard Information Template, which covers: basic company & financial information, company policies, insurances, agency resources and current client list.
This template is available for clients on request either direct from each agency or via your intermediary and enables immediate access to the detail you require in deciding whether they meet basic selection criteria.
Only once relevance is ascertained should you ask for a tailored credentials/RFI response focused on your specific needs.

3. Scope of Work
The modern media agency offers a wealth of expertise outside of planning and buying such as communications planning, data analytics, econometrics, sponsorship, SEM, social media and content creation.
As a client, define your scope of work at the outset; if the only requirement is great planning and buying, be upfront about it! As an agency, be clear about your specialisms and capabilities.

4. Discovery Meetings
A typical presentation is around two hours long, which isn’t sufficient time for media agencies to showcase their depth of expertise across all services. Nor is the pitch format the best platform or environment for agencies to demonstrate all relevant skills, such as data analytics, PPC, social media monitoring or econometrics.
Plan your selection process to allow time to compare and contrast their capabilities through deep dive sessions in addition to the final pitch presentation. Scheduling work in progress meetings one week prior to pitch will ensure everyone is on the right track.

5. Pricing
If agencies are to be judged on media prices and guarantees or subject to an e-auction process, you must articulate your expectations from the outset.
Potential agencies should be aware of your intended contract terms in order to make an informed decision on whether to participate in a pitch.
Similarly, if an agency has any particular contractual clauses specific to their organisation, ensure these are clearly articulated at an early stage.
Media auditors can be an invaluable help in advising on KPI’s, suitable RFP models and contract terms.

6. Judgment Criteria
What criteria are the agencies to be judged against and with what weighting?
Who are the decision makers?
Be open and transparent from the outset on what it will take for an agency to win the business.
After a decision is made you should give constructive feedback to all agencies, ideally face-to-face.

At the very least remember the five P’s of pitching:
– Process
– Preparation
– Professionalism
– Partnership
– Payment

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: IPA & ISBA. (thanks also to the AAR)

For more information see: http://www.thegoodpitch.com/the-6-principles/6-media-pitch-principles

November 2013