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Advertising Pitches Research by Provoke Insights

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Pitching is part of an advertising agency's DNA; it's often mandatory if an agency wants to acquire new business. With the average length of the client relationship diminishing from eight years in 1997 to only three years today, pitching is occurring more frequently.

Provoke Insights conducted an online survey among advertising professionals to determine what their thoughts are of the pitch process and their recommendations on how to improve it.

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Advertising Pitches Research by Provoke Insights

  1. 1. Research on the Advertising Pitch Process December, 2013 info@provokeinsights.com
  2. 2. Background & Objectives §  Pitching is part of an advertising agency's DNA; it's often mandatory if an agency wants to acquire new business. With the average length of the client relationship diminishing from eight years in 1997 to only three years today, pitching is occurring more frequently1. §  With pitching playing such an important role in the industry, Provoke Insights wanted to learn what advertisers thought of the process and their recommendations on how to improve it. 2 1.ANA West Coast Marketing Financial Management & Procurement Committee March 28, 2012 .
  3. 3. Methodology §  Provoke Insights conducted an online survey between November 8th - December 8th, 2013. §  The survey was distributed through targeted Facebook promoted posts (users employed by all agencies listed in the 4As directory). In addition, the survey was posted on fourteen industry relevant LinkedIn groups. §  146 advertising professionals living in the United States completed the survey. 140 employees said they participated in the advertising pitch process. 3
  4. 4. Key Findings §  Approximately half (47%) of advertising professionals say they are dissatisfied with the current internal approach to pitching. §  "I hate the pitch process," one account professional confessed, under anonymity. "It means working 24-7 and completely wears everyone out.” It is not shocking that the industry says unrealistic timelines (66%) and long work hours (65%) are key reasons for such frustration. §  "Very chaotic, no clear direction until the last minute," a professional in media mentioned when recalling his most recent pitch. 4
  5. 5. Key Findings §  Interestingly, those who are happy with their experiences when pitching mention teamwork as a key reason for their satisfaction. "Good collaboration and clear understanding of a common purpose," an account executive indicated as success factors. §  Another area of frustration during pitches is having timely access to the appropriate research and data. Forty-four percent of advertising professionals stated that if there were better availability of research and data, pitches would run smoother and more successful. More so, those who received data for pitches, 48% mentioned the speed of resources was not quick enough. 5
  6. 6. Key Findings §  Without research and insights, no matter how innovative the creative is, the pitch could be off base. "Winning creative should be based on research and insights. However, many times it ends up being loosely based on not enough research causing the strategy to end up being lackluster," a strategic planner stated. §  During the pitch process, receiving extra support and resources in regards to understanding the target audience (57%), competitive intelligence (53%) followed by trends analysis (53%), industry intelligence (47%) and social listening (42%) are key areas employees believe can be improved. 6
  7. 7. Detailed Findings
  8. 8. Vast majority of advertising professional have participated in a pitch. Participated in a Pitch No 4% Yes 96% 8 Have you ever participated in an advertising pitch(es) ? Base: All advertising professionals (N=146)
  9. 9. Almost half of respondents are dissatisfied with the internal approach to pitching. Satisfaction with the Internal Pitch Process 45% 47% 35% 12% 8% Very satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very disstisfied 9 Thinking about the last pitch you worked on, overall how satisfied were you with the internal pitch process? Base: Advertising professionals who participated in the pitch process (N=140)
  10. 10. Reason for dissatisfaction with pitch process Long Hours Lack of Process “I hate that the pitch process means 24/7. It completely wears everyone out.” “There is such poor organization, it's a huge (and expensive) scramble up to the last minute.” “Tight deadlines. All night work. Weekend work.” “Inability to effectively align resources and difficultly seeing strategic platform inform final recommendations.” Management Issues Lack of research/ strategy “Everyone competing to be the smartest person in the room. No thought leadership. Indecision and changes up to the last second.” “Winning creative should be based on research and insights. However, many times it ends up being loosely based on not enough research causing the strategy to end up being lackluster.” “Senior people sweeping in last minute and upending everything.” “Not enough market/ audience information.” 10 Please briefly describe why you were dissatisfied. Base: Advertising professionals who say they are dissatisfied with the pitch process (N=66)
  11. 11. Reasons for satisfaction with the pitch process Team Work & Collaboration “Team work always pulls through” “Team actually came together as a team. Agreed on strategy and resulted in a great solution.” “It was a great team effort.” “Good collaboration between disciplines.” “The team worked together to assemble a good deck/presentation.” Availability of Resources (Research & Insights) “I think I found some good insights that strengthened the pitch focus.” “We developed insights and positioning that will really affect the brand. And the client saw that in our presentation.” “Efficient account people to help find resources that were needed.” “Availability of a plethora of research sources such as focus groups, surveys and market information. It gave us an upper hand with the strategy. “ 11 Please briefly describe why you were satisfied. Base: Advertising professionals who participated in the pitch process (N=74)
  12. 12. Unrealistic timelines and long work hours are key reasons for dissatisfaction. Aspects of Dissatisfaction with the Pitch Process 43% Realistic timelines 38% Number of hours worked Organization Available research/data Relationships with clients 10% 29% 10% 23% 21% 46% 10% 34% 9% 5% 65% 48% 9% 36% 66% 50% 21% 39% Budget for pitch Relationship with management 27% 29% Speed of resources received Morale 23% Dissatisfied Very Dissatisfied 44% 39% 32% 26% 12 How satisfied were you with the following aspects of the pitch process? (Scale: very satisfied, satisfied, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied) Base: Advertising professionals who participated in the pitch process (N=140)
  13. 13. Areas to improve the pitch process include information regarding the target audience, competitors, trends, and the industry. Resources/Extra Support to Help Improve the Pitch Process Analysis of target audience 57% Competitive intelligence 53% Trends analysis 53% Industry intelligence 47% Social listening 42% In-depth interviews of the audience 38% Market sizing information 34% Insight videos 33% 28% Survey research Focus group research 25% 20% Mystery shopping 8% None Other 4% Which of the following resources/extra support would help improve the pitch process in the future? (select all that apply) Base: Advertising professionals who participated in the pitch process (N=140) 13
  14. 14. The majority of respondents work for general or digital advertising agencies. In-language 3% CRM 4% Pharma 4% Media 8% Brand consultancy 9% General 49% Digital 23% 14 What type of advertising firm do you work for? Base: All advertising professionals (N=146)
  15. 15. Respondents work in a variety of advertising specialties. Job Description 30% 26% 19% 8% 8% 8% 1% Account Planning What is your job role? Base: All advertising professionals (N=146) Creative New Business Research/ Analytics Project Management Production 15
  16. 16. Over half of respondents work at agencies with more than 100 employees. Number of Employees at Agency 36% 26% 24% 14% Less than 25 25 to less than 100 100 to less than 500 More than 500 16 What is the size of your agency? Base: All advertising professionals (N=146)
  17. 17. Questionnaire 17
  18. 18. Questionnaire 18
  19. 19. Questionnaire 19
  20. 20. About Provoke Insights Provoke Insights is a marketing consultancy and a full service market research firm. Whether you are creating a new brand or strengthening an existing one, you need a plan that is sharp, actionable and captivating. Our approach to strategy is rooted in a 360 degree-research method, strategic thinking and creativity. We have experience in traditional, digital, social, and relationship marketing. As experts in traditional and innovative research methodologies, we provide strategic solutions to help answer your marketing needs through tools such as quantitative and qualitative research, social listening, competitive intelligence, and trends analysis. Provoke insights has experience serving clients across a variety of industries: advertising, financial services, professional services, technology, political/government, consumer goods, non-profit, OTC, health care, and pharmaceutical. Our nimble internal process allows us to be efficient in speed, flexibility and cost. 20

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