How is the art of new business pitching evolving?
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How is the art of new business pitching evolving?

Arun Sudhaman

I recently met with one of the industry’s more creative PR agencies, which revealed how it had overhauled its approach to pitch presentations. In truth, this did not surprise me greatly. After covering ad agencies for many years, I have always been struck by the formulaic, even generic approach to pitching that many PR agencies take. In 2009, for example, I helped run a pitch for the NSPCC which pitted agencies from different disciplines against each other. In that instance the advertising agency’s presentation was simply spellbinding - taking a sensitive topic and deftly tugging the heartstrings with a mixture of insight and emotion. (They didn’t win in the end because the client thought they had strayed off brief. There may be a lesson there somewhere). If PR agencies want - to use that well-worn phrase - a seat at the top table, and access to marketing budgets, then presumably the ability to persuade CMOs of their abilities becomes increasingly important. And nowhere is that more fundamental than in the new business pitch itself, where as one agency exec pointed out to me, “Powerpoint bullets can kill”. So, with that in mind, I would love to hear about how PR firms are changing the way they pitch, employing more strategic insight, becoming more creative, perhaps even theatrical. And I think we should also try to identify some of the best ‘pitchers’ in the industry. Please leave your comments below, and if you don’t want to go on the record with your pitch stories then email me and we can discuss things in confidence.
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