Marketers across the industry are preparing to review media and creative accounts as 2024 shapes up to be a “big year of pitches”.
The increased activity is the result of a combination of budget constraints and delayed reviews as marketers opted to extend relationships due to the economic uncertainty and ongoing impact of the pandemic in recent years.
Leading pitch consultants told Mediaweek the activity followed the recent ramp-up of agency reviews in 2023, which was led by global account reviews.
Peter Coffey at Enth Degree said, “Coming out of Covid, we expected a rush of tenders; however, last year, we mostly saw global activity in terms of pitches. Marketers have been spending the last year or so, looking at what they need from agencies and suppliers, and as a result, we are going to see the results of that. There’s certainly going to be a lot more activity this year from a tender point of view. It’s going to be a big year of pitches.”
Darren Woolley at Trinity P3 told Mediaweek that marketers have started the year getting their houses in order.
“Trinity P3 has never been busier. We have got clients coming out of the woodwork with everything from roster realignment, to pitches, to wanting to renegotiate agency contracts – and it’s not all driven by price. There are lots of marketers doing what I’d call housekeeping.”
“I don’t want agencies to think there’s going be a lot more pitches. There are pitches in there, but there’s also a lot of work around roster realignment, contract assessments and renegotiations. Some clients are saying, ‘We don’t want to pitch. But can you do a roster?’ As I said, it’s housekeeping. It’s like marketers’ have got back to work and said, “Right, I’m gonna clean up my desk, and I’m gonna make sure everything is ready for whatever comes,” said Woolley.
While the economic uncertainty and tightening budgets are playing a factor in the push for reviews, both consultants rejected ideas that it’s all about money.
Coffey said, “A lot of companies are under financial pressures, and it’s not unusual you should expect cost to have an impact on all companies. It is always a consideration in a review. However, that doesn’t mean that clients are looking for the cheapest option; rather, they are seeking the best partner to navigate difficult times.”
Woolley agreed, “I think it’s more about marketers preparing for the uncertainty.”
See also: PHD Australia wins McCain