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The Perfect Agency Pitch: How to Land New Business with Competitive Intelligence

Wesley Mathew

Jan 28, 2022

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In many ways, the age of the “mad man” is over - especially as the brand landscape has become such an intricate, digital and nuanced space. No longer can agencies rely on charisma and persuasion alone to convince would-be clients that they are bringing something exciting to the table. And, as PR, marketing and communications steadily continue to merge, so the focus is less on the volume of a pitch and more on the value - but what does this mean in practice? 

Table of Contents

Tip: Learn how to hire a marketing agency.

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What Are the Basics of an Agency Pitch?

Clients want to know that you can help them:

  • Save on costs and time
  • Increase productivity and get closer to meeting business objectives
  • Stay ahead of market trends to pre-empt opportunity and identify threats early
  • Give them insights into their industry, market share and potential customers especially if it’s insight they didn’t have before
  • Increase their ROI, affecting their bottom line in a tangible way that can be demonstrated to the big decision-makers
  • Understand the competitor landscape. Do your market research and let them know you understand their industry pain points
  • Understand realistic timelines and how to reach them
  • Wow their consumers with something different

But most importantly, during the pitching stage, they need to see that you are credible, invested in their success and understand their market and the technicalities behind the creativity. According to Statista, global agencies pitch on average 4 times a year and a lot of time, money and resource investment goes into getting those off the ground. So, we want to explore ways in which you can make that effort worth it - every time. So, with this in mind...

What Goes Into The Perfect Pitch?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to creating a pitch deck because customisation is key. That being said, there are some standard recommendations for agency partnership pitches that come into play. 

1. Clearly Define The Goal Of Your Pitch

Try to keep this value orientated and succinct by outlining what you are trying to communicate to them on the day. This is an opportunity to grab their attention with a bold statement (backed up by a source) or a value-orientated objective.  Start with a strong creative concept, theme or story that runs throughout your pitch and is backed by data at every step. 

2. An Introduction To Who and What Your Agency Is

This can include your vision and mission statement, an introduction to key members of your team and why you are uniquely equipped to support this client in taking their brand to the next level and easing internal pressure, for example.

This is also a good place to demonstrate your value by referencing use cases and testimonials. Make sure the data drives the narrative here, using performance metrics and real-world examples that clearly demonstrate success. Source positive quotes about your agency and press releases online, using a media monitoring tool to find mentions.

Now that’s enough about you. Remember, your potential client needs to clearly see how partnering with you will benefit them - both immediately and in the long run. 

3. Show Them That You’ve Done Your Research

In The Art Of The Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills That Win Business by Peter Coughter he says: “Remember, the appearance of spontaneity is the product of preparation”. Start by highlighting the things that your agency and their brand have in common as a segway into why this partnership makes sense. This could be shared values, a common commitment to experimentation, creativity or a cause. 

Or, it could be something as simple as understanding the same markets because of location. Once you’ve established a parallel, it’s time to show them something about their business that they didn’t know. The real wow-factor is by offering them insights or showing them mentions of their brands online. How do you achieve this? By using Meltwater’s Boolean search to find mentions in editorial and social media, scanning millions of sources almost instantly. 

Highlight instances of where their brand has or hasn’t interacted with those mentions. The goal here is to present opportunities and threats in a relevant and interesting way. 

Showing them competitor intel they may not already know. Again using Boolean searches you can draw out competitive insights to show you understand their position in the industry and market share. Gathering intel on their current processes and content will also help you analyse their language and tailor your messaging within your pitch, this is an important tactic and will give you a key advantage.

Meltwater platform showing search for SpaceX

4. What’s The Big Idea? Get Creative

Take some of the insights you’ve drawn and use them to hypothetically sell a creative idea, showing first-hand the relationship between your deep knowledge of consumers, the web, their industry and brand and how it links to the execution of exciting campaigns. The goal here is to have them asking “when do we start?”

You can also offer in-depth competitor research to get their attention and show them the strategic thinking behind how you approach marketing, PR or communications. How do you get these insights? Use a media monitoring tool to profile their audiences, identify competitors they may not have noticed and bring up big topics in their industry with the proof to back up why they are relevant. 

Make sure the campaigns you propose are integrated and can simply be executed across multiple platforms or broadened with user engagement. Remember to keep your storyline or theme as a red thread throughout. 

5. Speak To Direct Benefits

While credibility, insight and creativity are big selling points, clients need to know that this will not mean extra work and complications for them. As with any transition or partnership there will be a teething phase and the goal here is to show them how you’ve thought through the challenges of managing change, and are ready to transition in ways that will directly benefit them. 

Practical ways to do this include selling them on automation, collaboration and effective communication strategies. If you’re already using Meltwater social media management software, for example, you’ll have the capability to manage paid and organic social campaigns for a single collaborative workspace. This means faster responses, happier customers and more significant cost savings for the client. If you don't have a social media management platform, it is designed to help teams streamline workflows and achieve significant time savings. Here are some insights as to why it might be worth investing in a social media or community management tool:

  • 39% of consumers expect brands to respond within 60 minutes of reaching out on social media, while
  • 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours. (Convince and Convert)
  • 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. (Lyfemarketing)
  • 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. (GlobalWebIndex)
  • 39% of customers only trust brands if they have interacted with them on social platforms. (Edelman)

Most importantly, showing the client the value your partnership will add to their business is essential. If you're the only agency using a social listening or community management you will certainly add more value than those that don't. But crucially, by understanding their audience's demographics, interests and conversations you will be able to deliver a pitch backed by real-time data and intelligence.

6. Show Them You’re In It For The Long Haul

Did you know, one study found the average length of agency-client relationships to be 3.2 years (Cohen) and in the same breath Michelle Goodall, CMO at Guild, says to “never underestimate the power of networks” in terms of the importance of client retention for business growth. 

Long-term clients can be more lucrative, especially as you are not repeating the induction process. So, how do you demonstrate your desire to commit? Speak to the long-term plan and show them how you are equipped to adapt to their changing needs over time. 

Show them you understand their long-term potential and are futureproofing your agency accordingly. 

Several screens with people sitting in front

7. Pro Tips

Seemingly small details, like the formatting and length of your pitch, can have a significant impact on your performance and ability to engage potential clients. Some key points to note:

  • Text should be in font size 30 or higher 
  • Don’t use more than 3 fonts
  • Vary the style of the content in your deck between different media types
  • Build in question and answer periods
  • Prepare to answer questions with thorough research
  • Leave them with actionable insights

Set The Right Tone By Partnering with Meltwater

Need better tools to help you draw deep insights and competitive intelligence that can land you new business and ultimately wow potential clients? Meltwater has you covered. with us to find out more about how marketing and PR analytics can take a pitch from “satisfactory” to “sold”. 

Meltwater for Agencies

French marketing agency Brut discussing how they use Meltwater.

Case study Brut x Meltwater

If you want to find out how Meltwater can support your agency and clients, fill out the form below and our team will be happy to discuss your needs, as well as potential solutions.