Guidance urges clear role for purchasers in advertising pitches

29 August 2012

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29 August 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Clients should be clear about the role procurement is playing in pitches, according to guidelines issued by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

The trade association has issued the guidance to agencies and clients following concerns from its members over the use of e-auctions and pitches to procurement professionals, which often focus more on commercial aspects.

Cormac Loughran, co-chairman of IPA New Business Group, said: “With the ever-increasing competition and expense involved, it's absolutely crucial that both clients and agencies recognise the new world of pitching. It's incumbent upon clients to create a clear pitch process, with no surprises, and incumbent upon agencies to enter these processes fully aware of the people and financial investment required to successfully reach the finish line.”

Pitches based solely on price criteria are rare, but due to the increasingly important role that procurement is playing in the pitching process, the advice has been provided for clients and agencies for ‘procurement-led’ pitches and reverse auctions where sellers compete to obtain business from the buyer.

The IPA cautioned purchasers and clients that careful consideration should be made as to whether an e-auction is appropriate. If an e-auction is used as the determining basis of a pitch, this should be made clear and agencies should be judged solely on their reputation and past work, rather than making them invest time and money in a creative or strategic pitch. It stated if procurement is to have an input in the final pitch decision, this should also be made clear to both parties at the earliest opportunity.

Further, the value procurement adds to the pitch process should also be clearly communicated by both agency and client.

In addition, the IPA is also recommending clients and agencies follow the established six ‘pitch principles', which include openness and transparency, respect, bravery, access and navigation, timing and the power of collective action.

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