Sparrow’s Nest: It’s real…Media Pitchapoolza 2023 is underway

Sparrow's Nest

Why it’s OK to say no and how that can benefit existing clients

With economic headwinds, Sparrow’s Nest believes rightly or wrongly more clients go to pitch to ensure that they are getting the most effective, strategic, and efficient partner for the challenging times ahead.

There is lots of speculation currently around the actual number of pitches and why: Possibly post-Covid adjustments, normal contact renewals, procurement testing the market, a rash of new CMOs, the seven-year itch, or now that the talent shortage has eased … it is now maybe just the right time to review.

Agencies finally are also being more selective and saying no to certain pitch requests.

It is excellent that smart agencies are considering the real cost of pitching, staff burnout, mental health, and the resources dedicated to the pitch process. More importantly, it is the right thing to do for current clients and to ensure their service level isn’t compromised when a pitch strains the already at-capacity agency’s resources.

Currently, we have a wide selection of big global multinationals clients reviewing e.g., Unilever, Nestle, Mitsubishi, etc, and then a wrath of other larger/mid-sized clients such as TPG, Priceline, BMW, Red Bull, SBS, Vic University, Forty Winks, etc… all in pitch mode.

It’s tricky to track the exact billings figures and as the pitch duration has stretched longer so the number of pitches appears inflated. However, I think it’s in the $350+ million mark and that is not an insignificant pitch billing estimate to call Pitchapoolza well and truly a real thing.

Another interesting factor is in many countries around the world (and this is before Covid) worker productivity has been slowly declining.

An EY US report states productivity recently dropped in Q1 2023 by 2.7% and a .09 decrease year-on-year. This is just not a remote working-from-home factor but a far more nuanced situation. In our industry, it’s brilliant that we now prioritise life outside the office and are pushing back on unreasonable client demands, scope creep, unnecessary red tape/reporting/processes, etc.

However, if we go back to basics … our industry is still built on excellent relationships and doing great work that drives client growth.

I wonder if post covid we’ve let relationships slip, they aren’t as strong and we are showing less care, thoughtfulness, and commitment. We are getting the work done, ticking the boxes. However, if we are honest with ourselves, are the relationships the best they can be, and is the work excellent?

Now more than ever focus on the quality of your current client relationships, they are at the heart of any great partnership. Don’t get distracted by new client pitch flings that may not convert to long-term valuable relationships! If possible, avoid the Pitchapoolza Frenzy and treasure your current client relationships.

Read more Sparrow’s Nest columns here.

Greg encourages Sparrow’s Nest reader feedback and topic ideas. Contact the Birdman via [email protected]. The more challenging and the tougher the better!

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