Marketing agency pitch process should 'not be sloppy or casual'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
9 June 2014

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10 June 2014 | Will Green

Organising pitches to appoint a marketing agency should “not be sloppy or casual”.

Lawrence Smith, commercial director for global creative and production at Mars, told a London conference the process should take three to six months.

“Pitches are a significant investment in terms of time and capital and they are not to be sloppy or casual,” he said.

Speaking at ProcureCon Marketing, Smith said a cross-functional team should be assembled, benchmarks established and a voting process agreed to assess pitches.

He said new business requirements, adapting to market or technical changes, fixing performance and correcting contract issues were all drivers to embarking on a pitch process, which was a last resort in a relationship.

“The client–agency relationship is like a marriage – you have to work at it,” said Smith, revealing that Mars worked with just two agencies - including renowned agency BBDO - across all its brands. 

“We need the maximum value from agency relationships,” he said. “We want them to be big, we want them to be successful and have happy people working with our contractors.”

Smith said organisations should move “to a collaborative, problem-solving partnership between marketing, agency and procurement”.

“Respect marketing, its objectives and KPIs,” he said. “Understand agencies’ operations, scope and value creation. Demand transparency from clients and agencies. We are an honest broker. We collaborate with everybody. We want to work with everybody.”

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