Interviewing the brand and being interviewed as the agency are core skills for pitching.
Getting to “the close” for new business and a signature on the contract requires a clear purchase decision from a brand decision maker. If you are pitching to a brand – prepare for these questions that they should be asking you.
When you get invited to pitch there are 2 reasons you are in the room
- Your track record indicates you should be good enough to do the job
- Your future WILL deliver an excellent job
Chief Marketing Officer pitch questions to agency
So how can you tell what the future of this agency will be? the same old, same old competent delivery of past campaigns or new and exciting incremental creativity that will accelerate your brand in front of consumers?
First question: Vision
What do you, the agency, think is the future of marketing/advertising?
You want to know whether they are aware of new technologies, brands moving to new social platforms and integrating mobile solutions into their campaigns.
Second question: New Hires
Tell us about the new team members who have joined this past year.
What are the characteristics of these people and why did they join the team? Are they crazy future-ologists, or competent deliverers. Will they bring new expertise to the team (see answer to question 1 above) and can you see your brand leveraging their knowledge to advantage?
Third question: Team Structure
What is your creative team structure and composition?
Listen hard to how many ‘traditional’ job titles are described. Find out about the digital specialists – are they in a separate group who get brought in to assist or are they part of the core delivery group. What about outsourcing production and expert tool creation – how honest is the agency about areas in which they are not expert and are buying in talent.
Fourth question: Modern Marketing Communications
Tell us about recent campaigns that were not advertising-led
How many message delivery tools have they used that were not print or TV advertising, direct mail/email or public relations. Look for innovation and incorporation of ‘gamification’, apps, integration with social media (leading edge at the time of writing is Pinterest, G+), brand collaborations and joint ventures.
Fifth question: The Delivery Team
Who will be working on our account and why?
The individual attributes of the core account team matter. This will help you get round the agency that pitches with one team and delivers with another. Why does the agency pick each individual and what are their skills – you’ve got to work with these people. Go and check them all out on Linked In and Facebook.
The Agency’s reply 6 questions
We found this post from W+K London in which they tried to give the reciprocal questions the agency should ask the client.
- Who are the decision makers on the pitch and on the agency’s work?
- What are your criteria for judging the success of your agency’s work?
- Is your inclination to aim high and do something extraordinary, or to settle for the ordinary and avoid the risk of failure?
- What made you consider us for this pitch?
- How many agencies are pitching and who are they?
- Will you pay a pitch fee?
Go forth and pitch. But be careful!
Thanks to Edward Boches for the original inspiration for this article