playing a game of pitch perfect in the quest for new clients

New clients are notoriously difficult to gain in the agency business and one of the few avenues to access them is via a pitch.

A pitch being the time-honoured invite-only beauty parade of coming up with visuals against a supplied brief and presenting them to a handful of smartly dressed people in a dusty boardroom (one that isn't mac compatible in the slightest).

Those people then decide whether they like what you've come up with and if they do, hey ho, you've got yourself a new client (btw - depending on the nature of the pitch, winning it is no guarantee of actual work forthcoming).

Pitches are rarely if ever, remunerated, with clients mainly expecting the creative work for free. In spite of this, some even have the balls to request copyright over the ideas you come up with (note - please don't be one of them).

If an agency agrees to take part, they do so knowing the reward is an opportunity to earn money in the future rather than in the present.

The resources you allocate to the project/competition/gamble  (we've actually been asked to take part in a pitch against just ourselves. No other agencies were going to be asked to take part but the client just wanted to see what we would come up with before agreeing to pay for it. Nice, eh?) are entirely up to you.

All agencies have the right to decline pitch offers and no-one is forcing you to work for nothing. Clients set the rules and it's up to those invited whether or not they are accepted.

Yet even though you know it's morally wrong it's hard to turn down a potential £20k project fee or an ongoing client you know is going to earn the agency £100k a year (if you win, of course). And herein lies the great pitch conundrum. Take the gamble, put your best frock on, do your makeup and strut the catwalk of creative appreciation or stay in the office and moan about how hard it is to win new clients.

Yes, working in an agency coming up with ideas all day long can be fun, but winning new clients through as pitch rarely falls into the same category!

Want to see some of our pitch work for Northern Rail's Duo ticket from nearly 10 years ago? Click here.