Initiative aims to reduce wastes, promote wellbeing, and streamline pitching process © Photo by Filadendron via GettyImages
Initiative aims to reduce wastes, promote wellbeing, and streamline pitching process © Photo by Filadendron via GettyImages

Campaign launched to improve marketing procurement

A new initiative has been launched to overhaul marketing procurement and reduce pitches that have become too “frequent, more complex, and more costly”.

The Positive Pitching Pledge (PPP) establishes a set of principles between marketing procurement executives and agencies to reduce waste, promote wellbeing and reduce costs by streamlining pitching processes. 

Adam Durston-Hillyer, director of goods not for resale procurement at Specsavers, which has signed up to the PPP, said: “Procurement plays a key role in the pitch process and ensuring we are aligned not only with our marketing team but also the agencies who are pitching is vital. The Pitch Positive Pledge considers the behaviour of all stakeholders and in doing so we believe will lead to better outcomes for everyone.”

The PPP, a joint project between the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers, establishes three principles:

1. Ensure a pitch is needed

Procurement professionals should be sure a pitch is necessary and firms signed up to the pledge must prepare a written statement stating clearly why they are commencing a pitch process. They must clearly state the proposed timeline of the pitch and when work will commence.

2. Run a positive pitch

Buyers should consider the implications of the requirements they ask agencies to fulfil during the pitch, and consider what is “really needed from an agency” versus what is simply wanted. They should further consider how many agencies are actually needed to pitch.

The PPP said: “Transparency, openness, collaboration and consistency throughout the pitch phase will provide the greatest opportunity to achieve the outcome you seek.”

3. Conclusions

Win or lose, buyers should inform agencies of the pitch outcome directly and provide feedback on their performance.  They should be “prepared to answer difficult questions, but equally be ready to be challenged on those questions”.

In a report the PPP said: “We have started to see agencies choosing to decline to pitch, not least due to lack of resources.

“Pitching is costly to both agency and advertiser, but those costs extend beyond money, as we consider the impact on individuals and the environment. Pitching has become the default option, even for smaller projects that previously would not have required a pitch.

“Today, many companies have environmental, social and governance commitments including wastage reduction and promoting diversity and wellbeing in their supply chain. The pitch process as it stands represents a challenge to these commitments. Due to its competitive nature there is inherent wastage in the process. It demands significant investment in time and money for agencies and clients alike.” 

Some 70 companies have so far signed up to the pledge including Samsung, Nestlé, British Gas and Nationwide Building Society.

Julian Douglas president of the IPA and co-founder of the PPP, said it would cut “unnecessary waste, in terms of resources, time and energy”.

He said: “One of the very few positives that the coronavirus has delivered is an inflection point, a discontinuous moment to change things, and an opportunity to tackle the long standing challenges facing our industry. One of those challenges has been pitching, of which the negative impacts are so high.

“This is our chance to really make a difference for the benefit of our current industry employees and for future generations for whom we hope conditions will be fairer and even more enjoyable.” 

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