Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Aleksandar Saša Grbović
It is a fact that our market loves to erode the value of every new word that emerges. The latest in a series that have experienced buzzword status and “erosion” at the same time, is the PITCH. Definition says that it is “the process of persuading the environment to do something that you propose.”
However, in our region, it looks more like selling “I Think Management”, “Houdini Marketing” (or “we need a miracle” marketing) or Fecal Marketing (ie “get us out of this shit”).
It all starts with the arrival of a brand manager or a person in charge of “marketing” to an internal morning meeting with people who are at the main defensive posts in the company. The subject of the meeting is: “If something is good, I did it, if something is lousy, it was someone else”. One of the many solutions at the end of such meetings is: “We need a new campaign! Or we need a new agency!!”
Another option of generating a pitch by the company is a consequence of planning, where majority sticks to the mantra: Marketing is a cost. You can spend that much. There’s no room for surprises and improvements.
And no, at such meetings there are no answers to WHY, only to WHAT, WHO, HOW MUCH?
The next step is creating a brief for the existing agency, or an invitation to some others for a pitch. Here we see the “mail forward management”, equally well known to employees in marketing departments of brands, as well as account managers at agencies.
And there you have it.
An email with the RFP arrives (request for proposal).
It’s mainly a wish list in the lines of: “We would like to be this and that, and we want to increase brand visibility”, with the mandatory element: THE DEADLINE.
And the deadline is usually: If possible, tomorrow! I mean, that’s peanuts for you.
Regardless of the fact that a serious response to an RFP demands at least three weeks, with engagement of all internal and external grey cells, those who created the request think you can squeeze it all into 86400 seconds. Hey man, that’s huuuuuge for them.
And the best analogy for this would be: You enter a fast food joint, and ask to be served slow food dishes.
And of course, agencies decode such an RFP something along these lines: Since they think they are in a fast food joint, and expect slow food dishes in five minutes, and at that they would like that it’s a house specialty that will win best taste awards, let’s make them believe that our burger with a couple of extras is so tasty that it’s proper slow food – finger-licking good for the budget they have”.
What follows next is a hectic race through the creative kitchen of the agency, packing burger with soy, onions and some well-done meat into an incredibly tast pastry, with a couple of extra seasonings that will delight the customer.
Every creative proposal that is even remotely different and more meaningful is greeted at knife point: “They won’t understand that. That’s already seen. We already tried something similar, It’s complicated. There is no money for that. Who will do that.” And all the other excuses that serve to direct all solutions towards delivery of a fast food snack at a price of a slow food house specialty.
Of course, guest chefs are sought, to perform solely for the glory, or to be thankful for even having a chance to demonstrate their creative culinary prowess. Mistake No. 1.
Let’s be clear.
A freelance creative can think of it this way:
Next time you want to invite me to participate in a kitchen set up like this, the following rules apply:
- a) When you call me to participate in a PITCH, my client is your agency, not the brand or the company that issued the RFP.
- b) When I offer your agency my menu, for a client of yours, then we perform together, and share the success.
Now we can move on.
And then there’s the packing of the presentation and work in Power Point. That’s a special story when it comes to pitches. We can only imagine how much time the various pitches devoured with pure creating of presentations. Probably more than locusts. (There is a research that says ppt is effective in only 4% of business situations.)
But ppt is a part of the fast food cuisine and its main role is to present the dish as a slow food specialty. That’s why so much time is devoted to it, I guess.
The hungrier the contractor is, the easier it is to sell them fast food as slow food.
And the market is hungry, but it knows very well what fast food is and what slow food is.
This circular process in which those who are “hungry” for fast solutions are sending RFPs to agency of record or other agencies on a daily level, and where agencies are getting more creative at packing fast food dishes for the price of slow food specialties, would not be so problematic if certain ground rules were introduced, and, of course, if these rules were respected.
Ie. PAY THE PITCH.
If PITCH was paid, and if RFPs were carefully written, and if the agencies were chosen and valued by their work, there wouldn’t be so many hungry people in the market, nor would the market itself be hungry.
Because creativity would come to the fore. Real specialties by different houses would be created and served.
Of course, if Gordon Ramsay was to come into your kitchen, he would have a thing or two to say, right?
For example, in his recognizable style you might hear something like: How much longer are you going to keep up with this Pitchwise???
So how do we avoid this PITCHwise collectively?
What I would suggest is the introduction of three spices and their meanings:
Introduce a Creative P.I.T.C.H. A true spice, that stands for:
P: people, purpose, popularity, participation
I: idea, innovation, implement, inspiration, identity
T: trend management, technology, thinking, timing
C: client ROI management, customer responsibility management, communication, community, content, creative
H: humanity, how to do, happy team & happy thinking
Also, when preparing a real slow food specialty, it is only befitting to have a quality RFP or brief:
Document without which there can be no production of ideas that transform. We either get the brief, or we co-create it with the potential client. We simply, define a common goal.
B/business model, R/responsibility, I/ideas & implementation, E/empathy &empower, F/finance & focus
And you season it all with the D.O.I.T. answers:
D: define challenge
O: Open Mind/ Creative REthinking/
I: Idea with implementation code
T: trend, time, technology, transformation
Of course, making dishes with all these spices takes time.
How much time would it take you to create a slow food house special – but really a specialty – and to tell the market that there’s no fast food on your menu?