Q4 2013 IPA Post-Pitch Survey: negative pitches declined during 2013

The proportion of pitches rated negatively by agencies fell significantly over the course of 2013, reveals the IPA's Q4 2013 Post-Pitch Survey, published today (31st January 2014).

The latest Survey, which reports on the aggregated responses received from IPA member agencies during 2013, reveals that the proportion of pitches rated negatively dropped from 34.2% in Q1 to 14% in Q4. Additionally 62% of pitches were rated positively in Q4, up slightly from 59.5% in Q1, although down from 75% in Q3.

This has resulted in a net positive score for pitches (calculated by subtracting those that that reported a positive pitch experience from those that reported a negative pitch experience) of 48 percentage points in Q4, compared with only 25.3 percentage points in Q1, although this has fallen back slightly from 53.1 in Q3.

Overall across 2013 as a whole, this has resulted in a positive picture regarding the pitch experience, with 64% reporting that this was excellent, good or very good, versus 26% who reported it as very poor, poor, or fair (10% said it was neither good nor poor).

Specific areas of pitch process:

The survey also reveals specific areas of the pitch process that are performing well, and those that need to be addressed, based on the average net positive scores (in percentage points difference from those reporting a positive experience to those reporting a negative experience).

Despite some areas remaining low overall in 2013, there have been improvements across 11 out of the 14 attributes in Q4 (indicated by *) revealing that clients are paying closer attention to the quality of pitches they are undertaking, particularly regarding clarity of the client’s requirement of the pitch and upfront clarity of the client’s budget. Details:

Areas where the pitch process is working (based on average net positive scores across 2013):

• The business opportunity was clear from the outset: 75.2 percentage points in 2013 (*83.6 in Q4)

• Any interim meetings were well handled: 58.5 (*59.2 in Q4)

• The RFI was clear and concise: 54.4 (*68% in Q4)

• Timeframes and deadlines were agreed, set and kept: 54.3 (*63.3 in Q4)

• The RFI allowed agencies to differentiate their offering: 53.3 (45.8 in Q4)

Areas of the pitch process that need to be addressed (based on average net positive scores across 2013):

• Feedback from interim meetings was clearly actionable: 46.9 percentage points in 2013 (39.6% in Q4)

• Appropriate feedback on agency performance was given at the end of the pitch process: 46.2 (*53%) in Q4)

• The client’s requirement of the pitch was clear: 45.5 (*62.4 in Q4) • Key stakeholders were involved throughout the pitch process: 44.5 (*51 in Q4)

 • The client brief was well articulated: 39.6 (*53.1 in Q4)

• It was clear how many other agencies were involved in the pitch: 37.1 (*47 in Q4)

• There was no doubt regarding the decision process and the decision maker(s): 31.0 (*39.6 in Q4)

• There was adequate access to key stakeholders: 30.0 (26.4 in Q4)

 • The client’s budget was clear upfront: 24.8 (*41.7 in Q4)   

The role of intermediaries:

The rating of intermediaries across the different quarters of 2013 was mixed, recording a net positive of 42.7 percentage points in Q4, which is up significantly from the net positive score of 6.3 percentage points in Q2, but down from a net positive of 57.6 percentage points in Q1 and 59.9 percentage points in Q3.

Overall across the year as a whole, this provides a positive picture: in 69% of instances where intermediaries were involved in the pitch, respondents indicated that their performance was excellent, very good or good, while 23% described intermediary performance as being poor, very poor, or fair.

The role of procurement:

There has been more clarity and positivity about the role of procurement in the pitching process over the course of the year.

From a net negative of -14.4 percentage points in Q1 there was a net positive of 46.9 percentage points in Q4 for pitches that had involvement from procurement, although this is down slightly from a net positive of 48 percentage points in Q3.

Overall across the course of the year, 62% of cases where respondents indicated that procurement had been involved, the management of the pitch was regarded as excellent, good or very good, while in 30% of cases it was regarded as fair, poor or very poor.

Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA: “We are delighted to see from the Q4 results that agency experiences of the pitch process have improved and that the majority of key areas of the pitching process have also improved. These results are testament to the hard work of the IPA’s New Business and Marketing Group, in partnership with ISBA, whose various initiatives - such as the inaugural client/agency Good Pitch Week, thegoodpitch.com website as well as its best practice advice – have helped to address the issues that this pitching survey uncovers. As IPA President Ian Priest’s Alliances strand of his ADAPT agenda shows, better client agency relationships produce better work, so given the pitch forms their first and most crucial interaction it is imperative we continue to make improvements to the process.”

Any IPA member agency interested in seeing the full results or in participating in the survey can contact IPA New Business Manager Zoe Mitchell: zoem@ipa.co.uk

The IPA Post-Pitch Survey was formerly known as the IPA New Business Monitor.

The core objective of the IPA Post-Pitch Survey is to review perceptions of pitches that IPA members are involved in, and in particular, to identify which aspects of the pitch process are being performed well and which need to be improved. The monitor is also designed to review the performance of intermediaries and procurement in the pitch process. The survey questionnaire is completed anonymously via an online survey on a monthly basis.

In the period under review a total of 223 responses were received.

View The Good Pitch site – the industry’s leading platform for debate and comment on new business practices.

View the industry blueprint for better client/agency relationships, produced and developed.

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