Perfecting your Pitch

Pitching is the lifeblood of the agency world, however, it can be challenging and takes a lot of hard work to get right. For most agencies, there is always room for improvement, whether it’s working out the right opportunities to go for, developing your pitch, or improving your conversion rate.

Taking place on Wednesday 20th November in London, Pitch Perfect is the annual conference produced by The Drum which will arm you with a new business plan, tools and ideas to win over new clients by the end of the day.

Industry experts will help you build on your current agency business development knowledge and skills and connect with others who have great ideas on how to clinch that all-important client. This will include Diageo’s Chief Procurement Officer, Janelle Orozco, Ballantine’s Head of Brand Communications, Josh McCarthy, Cube3’s CEO, Karl Barker, Kate Bosomworth, Chief Marketing Officer at M&C Saatchi and Pip Hulbert, CEO at Wunderman Thompson. 

Also on the line-up for the day will be Upfront’s Managing Director, Jody Osman. Jody will be joining a panel with Paul Hammersley (Managing Partner at Harbour) and Sera Miller (Co-Founder, Fawnbrake Collective) to discuss Collaboration. Hosted by the Drum’s Editor, Stephen Lepitak, this will look at how when agencies join forces they can become more powerful.

Business Development is top of the agenda throughout the day, with the focus on helping to build on your current agency business development knowledge and skills, as well as connecting you with others who have great ideas on how to clinch that all-important new client win. 

The theme will continue into the evening with The BD100. Following the success of last year’s event The BD100 is back to shine the spotlight on great Business Development. The night will feature a panel discussion, awards and networking as we recognise, celebrate and learn from the best in the business of business development.

We would love to see you at Pitch Perfect and The BD100. Please do get in contact if you’d like to attend either or both events – as partners, we have a 10% discount code we can share with our clients and connections. 

Click here to find out more and buy your tickets.

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Who is the best in the business of business development? The BD100 returns

When it comes to the talent driving agency growth in the UK, the business development community has historically lacked the recognition and representation it deserves.

That all changed last year with the successful launch of The BD100 – an annual list highlighting the best creative agency business developers in the UK and published in association with The Drum. And it’s back for 2019!

Founded by Jody Osman (managing director of Upfront BD) and Richard McHardy (founder of The McHardy Collective), the ambition is to shine a light on the business development community, to highlight the great work of the people in that community and to champion the profession as a whole. These goals were achieved and surpassed at the first ever BD100 event hosted in partnership with The Drum last September.

Osman says: “A lot of agency culture is shaped around winning new business. Whether it’s winning the latest high-profile pitch or making it on to the latest agency league table. This doesn’t just happen by itself, so it’s great to be able to recognise the incredible job being done by business developers in agencies up and down the country.”

McHardy adds: “The positive and far-reaching reaction we had to the launch of The BD100 in 2018 taught us many things about the business development profession but some things stood out clearly: Business developers want to feel part of a wider BD community – they want to come together to share ideas and to help one another which is really positive. We also learned via senior agency representatives that there is a huge amount of respect, admiration and gratitude for the combined hours that business developers work to ensure that their agencies make a positive difference and continue to thrive in the toughest of times. Therefore, it’s our passionate duty to make sure that The BD100 continues to be a beacon for business development excellence in 2019.”

Fran Brook, new business and marketing director at Crispin Porter Bogusky and The BD100 Business Developer of The Year for 2018 sums up her thoughts: “The BD100 gets you access to the knowledge and expertise of your industry peers, and opens you up to great new opportunities. It really is a fantastic community to be a part of, and one that’s essential for our specialism. I encourage anyone thinking of entering to get involved!”

The BD100 also aims to inspire and support emerging talent. The winner of The BD100 Rising Star award for 2018 who continues to rise rapidly through the ranks at M&C Saatchi is Lydia Smith who says: “It was a humbling experience to be singled out in front of such a high-calibre group of business developers. The BD100 is showcasing a network of individuals who share a specific set of skills and who can all learn from each other. The BD100 list isn’t just important, it’s essential.”

Speaking of The Drum’s involvement in The BD100, founder of The Drum, Gordon Young says: “The BD100 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the unsung heroes of the marketing industry – the very best businesses development professionals. The sort of people who not only deserve recognition, but our attention as we can all learn from the way they operate.” 

This year’s BD100 list will once again be celebrated in partnership with The Drum’s Pitch Perfect event in September for a day focused around the profession of business development.

Nominations for The BD100 2019 are now live. Click here to register your nomination for this year’s BD100. 

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Staying Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Health Check – Highlights

On Thursday 4th April, Upfront and Propeller Group hosted a Business Development and PR Masterclass, giving a health check on agency BD and PR plans as we enter Q2. Joining us as Keynote speaker was Bronwen Andrews, Head of Business Development for the UK and Europe at Grayling. Bronwen shared her experience, insights and tips, including that when it comes to new business you should be like a sniper.

Following Bronwen, guests broke into separate table discussions led by Jody Osman (MD, Upfront), Branwell Johnson (Head of Content, Propeller), Rose Bentley (Head of Clients & Strategy, Propeller) and Camilla Honey (MD, JFDI).

Here are our key takeaways from each table discussion:

Content: Tips for ideas, formats and distribution – Branwell Johnson, Propeller Group

As Director of Content at Propeller, Branwell highlighted that content creation should always go hand in hand with how you plan to optimise it once created. Before producing content, you need to identify what you want to get out of it. There is no value in creating content that won’t be used or seen by those its being targeted at. He advised that good content brings something new to the conversation, whether this is new ideas, trends or bespoke research. He also recommended that your clients can be a great way of getting insight for a content piece, and often they are incredibly willing to be included. Branwell noted that when it comes to creating content for your agency, it is everyone’s responsibility – the entire team should be educated on its importance and value. In order to make it easier for your team to write, he advised to create a template for your peers to follow. Be smart with your content, see what can be reworked and revised. While Branwell noted that it’s incredibly difficult to measure the effectiveness of content, what is clear is that content can provide credibility, build agency status and help you become part of the conversation.

How to build your network – Rose Bentley, Propeller Group

Currently Director of Clients and Strategy at Propeller, Rose was previously Global Head of Reputation of Wolff Olins. Rose emphasised the importance of understanding your network and how to leverage it. In her experience, she found that 80% of overall new business wins came from companies that were already within her agencies network. If there’s not an opportunity when you meet someone, it is important to keep in touch so that when an opportunity arises, you are naturally already part of the conversation. She recommended finding out what interests your contacts, researching them and their plans and either inviting them to events or organising to reconnect at industry events. Her top tips for writing emails to connections were to first personalise the email and make the connection, then address an issue relevant to them, followed by highlighting your own credibility and experience. The note should end in a proposition to meet up, with a suggested date or time that may suit. While you should be building and utilising your network and your conversations should be thought through and structured, Rose advised not to overthink it. Be natural and use your own personality to guide the conversation – how and when you think you should say something usually turns out to be the right way.

Auditing your new business success – Camilla Honey, JFDI

As Managing Director, Camilla said that she started JFDI as she believed that there was a better way to do new business. New business never used to be joined up to marketing and PR, only really in pitches. As it’s important and natural that these disciplines become increasingly joined up, it does not come without its challenges. Previously new business plans would focus on the next five years, whereas now agencies generally produce 12-month plans. Before planning, you should first look at the future both professionally and personally, and what it is you want to achieve. She advised you should then look at the past and identify any themes and threads coming out that you can then apply to your plan for the year ahead. Find out what’s working for you. Ask your clients for honest feedback which you can then incorporate into your plan. Camilla ultimately advised that when it comes to new business success; you should be disciplined, be agile but most importantly, just f**king do it!

Insights and strategies to build a successful business development programme – Jody Osman, Upfront BD

Jody echoed Camilla’s sentiments, arguing that in order to plan for the future, you need to be looking at the past and identify your key challenges, see if there are any common trends, what worked and what didn’t. Too often, agencies can rush their targeting and decide to go after a particular sector without properly considering their overall strategy. It is important to focus not only on immediate opportunities, but every conversation you have as it all can be used as insight to feed into your overall business development programme. With so many agencies wanting to talk to the same decision makers, it can be increasingly difficult to get cut through. It’s necessary to think outside the box and make an introduction memorable enough to successfully follow up. Of course, there’s always a risk that creativity might not be received in the intended way, so you should be open to the fact that it won’t always appeal to everyone. Choose something that reflects your brand and supporting Rose’s advice, being true to your own personality is almost always the best approach to take.

Thank you to all those who attended the event, to our keynote, Bronwen Andrews and to our table speakers for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion. If you’d like to talk about developing your agency’s integrated business development and PR plan, please get in touch.

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Let’s Get Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Health Check

Upfront announces next masterclass with Propeller PR – 4th April 2019, The Charlotte Street Hotel

Join us for breakfast, insights and round table discussions where we will be having a spring clean of your agency Business Development and PR plan, making sure you have everything to stay on track for the rest of the year.

With the year in full swing, it is a good time to take a moment to see how those all important Business Development and PR plans are taking shape, review progress and make any changes that are needed to stay on track. Alternatively, if you don’t yet have a plan, it’s not too late!

We’ve organised a morning Masterclass on the 4th April, bringing together a range of agency peers to cover some of the areas that will be vital to your success over the rest of the year. These will be practical, interactive sessions where we’ll share ideas and discuss specific issues and challenges you may be facing.

Opening our discussion as keynote speaker will be Bronwen Andrews, Head of Business Development for the UK and Europe at Grayling. Bronwen’s career in new business includes working at Edelman and Publicis’s MSLGROUP, helping win clients such as Coca-Cola and Netflix. She will share her experience and insights to help make sure you stay on track throughout the year.

The rest of the morning will be an interactive workshop session with table discussions. Each table will be hosted by an expert practitioner on a specific topic, where you will be invited to share pain points, ideas and advice with peers. After 20 minutes you move to another table and another topic!

The table discussions will be led by:

Auditing your new business success, sharing insights from the JFDI New Business Barometer – Camilla Honey (Managing Director, JFDI)

Content/tips for ideas, formats, distribution – Branwell Johnson (Director of Content, Propeller Group)

How to build your network – Rose Bentley (Director of Strategy, Propeller Group)

Insights and strategies to build a successful Business Development programme – Jody Osman (Managing Director, Upfront Business Development)

The morning will give you a good opportunity to gain insight, see how other agencies are getting on and ensure you have everything in place to help make sure your plans for the year are on track.

Register for tickets here.

For further information, contact Leiley Sanei on 020 3861 4450.

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Getting Fighting Fit: PR and Business Development Masterclass – Highlights

In December, Upfront and Propeller Group hosted their first joint event at The Charlotte Street Hotel, where four breakfast roundtables discussed how to create your joined up 2019 agency business development and PR plan. Kicking off the morning was Anna Burns, Managing Partner of Ogilvy, who heads up Ogilvy’s EMEA business development and marketing activities She shared her tips, insights and best practise when planning for a successful year ahead. Following her, each table broke into separate discussions led by Jody Osman, Branwell Johnson, Ian Farnfield and Ben Titchmarsh. Here are our key takeaways from each table discussion.

How to build and maintain strong client relationships

Leading this topic discussion was Ian Farnfield, CEO of Tonic Partners. He has been responsible for growing two major international agencies from small national businesses and driven the success of over a dozen start-ups. Through this extensive experience, Ian’s discussion highlighted that business development does not just involve winning business; retaining clients should be just as essential to your business development plan. Central to this, Ian advised, was planning. Planning for the year ahead should be all encompassing – involving the entire agency, outlining individual and team roles and reconnecting on a monthly basis to ensure progress and growth. New Business can often take president over clients, both in terms of investment and time. Discussion continued however, to highlight that the two shouldn’t be separated. Join up the skills needed in new business and client services and enhance all relationships. Take the time to understand each client – while planning is essential, there isn’t a one size fits all strategy. Just as you would with a pitch, tailor your strategy depending on the client’s potential. Ian’s table discussions throughout the morning took away the essential advice to be committed, be nosy and don’t let your clients forget the reason you won the pitch in the first place.

The key components to a successful new business plan

Jody Osman, Managing Director of Upfront drew on his experience in business development, having helped agencies win over 150m worth of business; and led discussion around how to develop a successful new business plan. This begins, he argued, with the targeting. Take the time to get the targeting right – make sure you’re contacting the right decision makers and the right companies for your agency. Segment your plan, divide it in a way that makes sense to your strategy – whether that be by sector, job title, spend etc. Have a clear focus in what you want to achieve and set targets and deadlines – plans should always be working documents so set in quarterly reviews to see if you’re on track and what’s working. If you appear to be behind where you should be at a particular time, you need to understand why and review your strategy laid out in your initial plan. Be open to changing and adapting. Jody noted that success not only looks different for different agencies, but can look different throughout the year depending on your agency’s priorities. Adapting to what your success looks like, taking into account the ever changing agency landscape and industry trends around you is an incredibly important aspect of success. Additionally, Jody highlighted the importance of an effective CRM system to track your progress, set tasks and ensure your plan is fully in action. Ending his table discussions, he noted that while plans by their very design involve thinking ahead, you should continue to look back, drawing on past experience and previous years to ensure that this year is your most successful one yet.

Creating content that moves the dial for business growth

Branwell Johnson, Director of Content at Propeller, a former journalist and deputy editor of Marketing Week, highlighted the importance of content when it comes to joining up business development and PR. Content is often viewed as a heavy investment with relatively minimal return. Agencies need to look at the cost of creating content vs. the cost of not creating it. You can invest a lot of time and money into creating a great piece of content, but if no one sees it, then that’s where the question over its value arises. It’s not all about what you produce, but how you then go on to use this great piece of content. When deadlines hit and agencies struggle with budgets, it is challenging to get stakeholders to invest in content, but it should be your responsibility to challenge yourself and your peers to research trends, see what the industry is talking about and become part of the conversation. Not only can content help recruit talent and help your business grow internally, it can elevate your company status both agency and client side. If your business is looking for external support or investment, it needs to be seen to be innovative, it needs to be admired and respected. Branwell advised delegates that content was a key component to achieving this.

Building your agency brand in a competitive market

Director of Business Development and Partnerships at Propeller Group, Ben Titchmarsh led his table discussion around how your agency can stand out within today’s competitive landscape. He argued that at face value, agencies can often all look the same. Obvious though it may seem, a company’s website is an easy way to create content around your company, but how do you stand out in an online sea of similar agencies? It gets increasingly difficult to differentiate one from another – companies are at risk of losing their USP when they face competition from thousands of other agencies that claim to do exactly the same. This is not to say that agencies have lost their individuality but they increasingly fall short of effectively communicating their key messaging. Supporting Branwell’s sentiments, content can often get overlooked because a greater client need requires urgency. There needs to be a shift in attitude of content as an additional part of company strategy to a central element of your plan for business development.

You can read more about Upfront and Propeller’s plans to fully join up business development and PR here. Thank you to all those who attended the event, and to our speakers for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion. If you’d like to talk about creating your agency’s integrated business development and PR plan, please get in touch.

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How to Create a Winning Mindset

On Thursday 13th September, Upfront was proud to partner with The BD100 for its launch event, bringing together over 100 business developers and like-minded individuals for an evening celebrating new business and recognising the best in business development.

The evening was hosted by The BD100 founders, Upfront’s very own Jody Osman and Richard McHardy of the McHardy Collective, with a panel discussion led by Robin Bonn, founder of management consultancy, Co:definery and featuring: Kerry Glazer (CEO of AAR), Matt Edwards (CEO of WCRS), Roy Jugessur (Senior VP of Global Sales at Selligent) and Kate Bosomworth (Chief Marketing Officer at M&C Saatchi).

The theme of the discussion was mindset, including how to create a winning mindset, making sure you’re “pitch fit”, and everything in between. Each of the panel shared their experience, insight and ideas to provide inspiration and tips around a number of key topics.

Business Development should be at the heart of every agency

How do agencies create an environment where business development can thrive? Roy believes it starts from the top, whilst Kerry added that the best agencies are those that are led by people who put new business at the heart. Matt, who before becoming CEO, led business development at WCRS, drew on his knowledge both in new business as well as leadership. He argued that this environment can be created by educating your entire team about just how difficult new business is. All successes should be celebrated, not just a pitch win, but all the small successes that led to that point. Agreeing with Matt, Kate stated that new business doesn’t happen in silo, and the entire company – from top to bottom – needs to understand their relationship with the agency business developer.

Good mentors can be found close to home

As a mentor to various people, Kate advised that you need to think about what you want from your relationship with your mentor very carefully. No matter where you are in your career, you can always benefit from a mentor, whether you’re just getting started or if you’re running your own agency. Roy added that it is beneficial to build good relationships with leaders within your company and attributed high emotional intelligence as key to a good mentor. Matt agreed with this, and also recommended that if your agency is part of a larger agency network, make use of these connections and find mentors within other companies. Whilst there may be resistance to this due to the competitive nature of the job, Kerry argued that business development is a small but unique community and we should be taking advantage of our shared experiences.

There can be very little difference between success and failure

Whilst Business Development is often a team effort, it can often feel like a Business Developer’s personal responsibility – and when it’s not going the way you want, it can feel like a personal failure. Kerry advised that you need to be resilient, you need to galvanise yourself and your time, and don’t let your team try to get out of rehearsing for pitches. To achieve this Roy recommended that you need to plan, plan, plan and work hard to maintain creativity on a daily basis. Kate attributed one of the biggest struggles for business developers is coping with the highs and lows of the job: If it isn’t going brilliantly, then it’s awful, and there’s not really an in-between. Matt added that it’s a role with a very visible definition of success with a much less visible means of getting there.

It’s not just about the wins

On the night Diane Young, co-founder of The Drum, also asked what would be a reasonable rate of growth was for an agency to expect. All panellists agreed that this was incredibly difficult to measure and that it varied depending on agency. Robin highlighted that an agencies definition of growth should be unique to them and their plans as a business. Kerry and Kate agreed that retention of clients is often overlooked, and business development should be celebrated as much as new business. If a client’s budget increases, this can be as important for an agency’s growth as a new win.

You have to know when to say no

The subject of conversation soon moved to the topic of pitching. All panelists agreed that who you should be selective about who choose to pitch for, and you shouldn’t be afraid to reject new opportunities. Kate went on to elaborate: Say no to a pitch opportunity and believe me, you will have the attention of your business

Thank you to all the panelists for an insightful and thought-provoking discussion.
See the highlights of The BD100 2018 event below:

If you are interested in finding out more about The BD100, attending or speaking at any future events, then please get in touch.

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The Drum’s Pitch Perfect: 5 Key Take-aways

On Thursday 13th September, Upfront’s Senior Business Development Manager, Jessica Milham attended The Drum’s Pitch Perfect event for a day focused on sharing ideas, knowledge and skills to perfect your pitch and clinch that all important client.

Here are Jess’s key insights from the day:

Think about qualification

It’s my job to ask all the right questions and ensure we are qualifying the right opportunities for agencies. However, Peter Czap, Director of The Wow Company, gave me a fresh perspective of how we can be qualifying who you want to work with. It really stuck with me, it’s important to sit back and ask yourself questions such as: Who do you REALLY want to work with? What do you want to be famous for? What can you be the best in the world at? Those were only a few out of 21 questions and most of these we do ask, but it was more of the way in which you can ask these questions which really stuck with me. There is definitely value in constantly asking these questions.

Create a culture of winning new business

This was a theme throughout the day which carried into The BD100 evening event and being a business developer, it resonated with me. If you work for an agency, do you have the whole agency striving to win new business or do you find that BD activity is purely down to one person?

If it’s the latter, well, you really need to question why. Surely everyone working for the agency should be just as passionate about the success of the business. New business should be everyone’s business.

Put everything into a client’s perspective

There was a fabulous client workshop including speakers such as Anna Stark, Head of Marketing at Sloggi and Adrian Cutler, Account Director at Microsoft. It got me thinking about how best to approach brands – how can you make it more personal or interesting? The panel shared lots of interesting approaches that stood out and where agencies can add value, rather than just sell. Kristal Ireland, Head of Ecommerce and Retail at LNER explained that one agency she remembers that invited her to join an online book club, where people share their latest read across the industry!

Your client isn’t just your client

A running theme throughout the day was around how you should work together as team and focus on collaboration. Initially mentioned by Josie Cartridge, Customer Director at River Island, she referred to her agency Studio Blvd as her partner and the way they work is a collaborative process. They have an honest, open relationship and when something works, you celebrate together… When something isn’t quite right, you sit down and work out how you’re going to fix this.

Get out more

Having reflected on a fantastic day, it’s given me time to realise the value of getting out and meeting people who are working towards the same goals as you. Of course, it’s good to meet potential new clients, but it’s just as valuable to meet potential business partners, mentors, coaches, talk about best practice and share the highs and the lows of new business.

This year Pitch Perfect partnered with The BD100, an initiative aimed to recognise The UK’s most influential business developers. Upfront was proud to sponsor this event which provided a great platform to shine a light on the business development community and share experience and insight with a fantastic panel discussion – click here read the highlights.

 

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The Pitch Process: Evolution or Reinvention?

5 Key Takeaways from Upfront Straight Talking event: How can the pitch process be improved?

Last month Upfront Business Development hosted the latest in its Straight Talking Series, bringing together over 100 agencies and brands to debate the pitch process. Robin Bonn, Founder of Co:definery, led the discussion with representatives from brand, agency, intermediary and procurement. The expert panel consisted of Carolyn McKeever, Global Head of Downstream Marketing at Shell, Nina Jasinski, Chief Marketing Officer at Ogilvy, Charlie Carpenter, Managing Director at Creativebrief and Tina Fegent, from Tina Fegent Consulting.

  1. Views on the pitch process were split 

 Creativebrief’s recent research suggested that 61% of brands and 93% of agencies didn’t think the current pitch process was fit for purpose. Upfront’s Founder, Jody Osman, kicked off the day by asking the audience their views on this. The room was evenly split between those that agreed and those who disagreed. A good starting point to continue the discussion on how it can be improved.

There was also difference in opinion amongst the panel. Nina (agency) and Tina (procurement) were in general agreement that if the proper procedures are adhered to, the pitch process largely works. From the brand perspective, Carolyn agreed that the current process is working, but recognised the many flaws for both client and agency, and called for more fluidity in relationship between those involved. Charlie, as supported by Creativebrief’s research, highlighted the growing dissatisfaction with the current process by both brands and agencies. Due to increased selectivity of agencies, brands are not always getting the agencies they necessarily want, in which Carolyn agreed, based on her experiences at Shell, where five agencies that they wanted to work with turned them down.

  1. Agency stand out is vital

In order to stand out from the crowd, Nina commented that for agencies, “reputation is definitely paramount…if you don’t understand how the client is finding you and you’re hoping that its just going to happen by luck, it’s going to take a long time for you to grow”. Carolyn agreed with this statement. Whilst she concurred that a number of boxes need to be ticked to narrow down a short list of appropriate agencies, she commented that once it gets to pitching, every agency can do everything they need across every market in every possible way and it’s therefore very difficult to make the final decision.

“That final decision comes down to: did you like the people? Was the work good? Was there chemistry? Was there any diversity at all on their panel side?” (Shell)

  1. Partnership is a complicated term

Debate continued around to what extent the pitch demonstrates a good future relationship between client and agency. Carolyn argued that the more important question to be asked is “why are we even pitching?” commenting that the pitch process doesn’t fully give a sense of how the partnership will work. Charlie added  that the pitch process doesn’t offers a “true sense” of what it will be like to work with an agency. Nina contended that this doesn’t mean that they didn’t end up happy in the choice of agency and argued that transparency on both sides will create a stronger collaboration between client and agency.  After conducting a comprehensive global agency review earlier this year, Carolyn believes that the idea of “partnership is seriously lacking”, and in order to change this, both sides need to be open to the change. Tina commented that partnership is a really tough word to use, and one procurement doesn’t use lightly.

“Agencies are suppliers and while you should try to do the most to make sure it’s a two-way relationship, it’s ultimately a client- supplier relationship.” (Tina Fegent Consulting)

Tina did note that finding out about each other is essential, so workshops within the process need to be utilised. Charlie commented that the current process in place doesn’t promote a strong partnership, and clients will find much greater value from spending significant time with the agency, as indicated in the “try before you buy” process that Creativebrief are beginning to promote. He highlighted that the narrative around leverage which procurement specialist tend to argue needs to change in order to promote a successful partnership.

  1. One size doesn’t fit all

Although disagreement on best practices, all panellists were in general agreement that there wasn’t one strict structure of the pitch process that worked for every client and agency. There are over 20,000 agencies in the UK and 40 different agency models so there isn’t going to be one solution to suit everyone. Robin argued that there is an opportunity for both brands and agencies to challenge the process in place, and there are a whole variety of different pitching models, which can be tailored depending on type, size and resource of agency.

“It’s’ incumbent on everybody to have a conversation, and to push to have that conversation about what’s the right kind of model, both on the client and on the agency side. It’s a question of taking responsibility…agencies should make sure you have the remit, responsibility and the criteria that are pertinent, and give yourself permission to have that conversation with the client.” (Co:definery)

The day ended with Robin wrapping up and offering the advice that all parties need to choose the model that is right for them. It’s not about dramatic change, but evolution of the process to eventually get the best for all involved.

  1. Still plenty more to discuss

The conversation will continue at The Drum’s Pitch Perfect event on 13th September. That evening, The BD100 awards, will celebrate the best UK business developers; bringing together the Business Development community for a night of networking, conversation, insight and celebration.
Get your ticket for Pitch Perfect, and The BD100 event here

See more highlights from the event below:

If you are interested in finding out more about Pitch Perfect, attending or speaking at any future events, please get in touch.

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How Can The Pitch Process Be Improved?

Upfront announces next Straight-Talking event – 12 June 2018, The Soho Hotel

Pitching has always been a hot topic among agencies and brands and in recent months many are calling to rid the agency world of the pitch. As marketing budgets continue to feel economic pressures, new business is becoming increasingly competitive at all spending levels, and many are searching for a different solution – a practical, streamlined alternative to the traditional pitch.

On 12 June 2018, agencies and brands will come together for a panel discussion, hosted by Upfront Business Development, to examine the pitch process and debate how it can be improved.

The panel for the morning will be made up of agencies, brands, intermediaries and procurement – all bringing a different perspective.

The Brand Perspective

Carolyn McKeever is Shell’s Global Head of Downstream Marketing Communications. Her team develop the communication strategies and creative executions that drive consumer demand for Shell’s multi-billion dollar retail and lubricants global brand portfolio, across 40+ markets. She leads the capability programme on Integrated Marketing Communications and is committed to maximising professional competence within Shell’s global and local marketing teams. Prior to Shell she was at Boots, Zurich Financial Services and OgilvyOne. She has just conducted a comprehensive global agency review, project name ‘Agency of the Future’ and aims to share what she has learned at our event.

The Agency Perspective

Speaking exclusively from an agency perspective, Nina Jasinski, Chief Marketing Officer at Ogilvy, will draw from her extensive marketing experience across all disciplines. Having spent an equal amount of time working in advertising, as well as direct and digital agencies, she understands issues of integration, digital and convergence perfectly.

The Intermediary Perspective

Charlie Carpenter, Managing Director of Creativebrief will draw from his experience of working closely with both brands and agencies. Under Charlie’s direction Creativebrief has set a disruptive course, focusing on the power of technology to transform how brands and agencies can work together to create great content. Creativebrief are calling for more appropriate and effective alternative, which is fit for today’s landscape and previously hosted an event on ridding the agency of the pitch, as we know it.

The Procurement Perspective

Tina Fegent will be sharing her insights from a procurement perspective. She has a unique background having worked for both clients and agencies and was one of the first globally to get involved in Marketing Procurement. In 2006, she set up Tina Fegent Consulting to offer a procurement consultancy service to clients.

The discussion will be led by Robin Bonn, founder of New Business Management Consultancy, Co:definery. Robin has spent his whole career in new business, winning pitches for Skype, Eurostar, Fujitsu, Experian, Spotify, P&G, ITV, Microsoft, Facebook and Ford, to name a few. He launched Co:definery when he realised that agencies really are their own worst enemies, and in his own words said: “they keep churning out the same generic new business plans, wondering why they always get what they always got.”

Jody Osman, Managing Director at Upfront Business Development, said: “We’ve increasingly found both clients and agencies questioning the traditional pitch process and looking for a better way to find the right partners. We decided to bring together clients and agencies to discuss how the pitch process can be improved, as well as bringing in both the procurement and intermediary perspective who increasingly have a crucial role to play.”

The event will begin with breakfast at 8:30am, where there will be a chance to network with a mix of agencies and brands. The panel discussion will take place in the Screening Room, where the process around pitching will be closely explored by the panel, opening a Q&A at the end to the audience.

Register for tickets here.
Early bird ticket offers are on sale at a discounted price until 1st June 2018.

For further information contact Leiley Sanei on 020 3861 4450 or visit the Upfront website.

 

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The Drum’s RAR Awards Winners Announced

Earlier this week, The Drum hosted the annual RAR Awards, recognising the most highly respected agencies. The RAR awards are based solely on clients rating agencies that they have chosen through the register’s platform.

The biggest brands, including Nestle, Merlin Entertainment and Diageo, were required to give their opinion on agencies across industries.

The RAR then download these ratings from its database to see which agencies are the highest-rated by clients. The awards recognise these agencies. The winners reflect a clear regard their clients, who have rated them highly via recommendedagencies.com.

Grand Prix Winners

The Big Group was awarded the Grand Prix in the 100+ staff category. Established in 1991 and with a total of 131 staff today, the independent creative agency also broke into Econsultancy’s Annual Top 100 Digital agencies report top 50 for the 1st time last year.

In the 40-99 staff members category, Love took home the Grand Prix Award. Established in 2001, Love has won over 300 awards, including recognition by D&AD and voted global “Design Agency of the Year” by The Drum in 2015.

BURN and TMC Strategic Communications both won awards for agencies with under 40 staff members. This was impressively the third year in a row for TMC. The Manchester based agency took home several awards in this category, including design and B2B marketing.

Other Notable Winners

RRD took home several awards in the 100+ category, winning for Client Service, Creativity and innovation, Print and Service Delivery. They were also nominated in five other groupings

BURN also won for awards for Strategic Thinking and Data category, and was nominated in five other groupings in Agencies with under 40 members.

Refinery Marketing Communications also cleaned up in the 40-99 staff members category, winning in both Strategic Thinking and Direct Marketing. They were also nominated in 12 out of all 14 groupings.

The full list of winning agencies in the large, medium and small categories can be found here.

It was fantastic to see a number of Upfront clients recognised for their hard work and contribution to the industry. Congratulations to all agencies that were nominated and well done to all the category winners. This should  provide a great reference point for any future clients and confidence that you will deliver consistently.

It’s also great for new business and we know first hand how important the RAR can be when establishing credibility and confidence with future clients. If you’d like to find out more about how the RAR can help you to win new business, please get in contact.

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