Monday, October 20, 2008

To pay or not to pay, that is the question

The message seems loud and clear – the pitching process has become an unruly battleground in Singapore and needs to be cleaned up. But is bringing in compulsory pitch fees the way to nirvana?

It’s obvious that ad agencies in Singapore are fed up with the pitch process. We explore this issue in this month’s magazine.

Many are clamoring for a mandatory pitch fee system to be introduced, as is the case in Malaysia. But most recognize this drastic measure would have several negative implications.

Smaller agencies may miss out on more pitches, as clients get selective on who they invite to pitches. Marketers may be less likely to take risks, as adding an extra layer of fees on to the advertising structure may mean the end product is of a lower of standard of work.

And more questions emerge – how big should the fee be? Is there a one-size fits all policy, or would the fee depend on the size of the client’s budget? And how would the process be regulated? In many ways the whole pitch fee issue offers more questions than answers.

One way for forward for making pitching more transparent could be to introduce one-day workshops between clients and agencies, instead of 20 or 40 minute presentations.

It’s a process Trinity P3 recently used in Australia for the Vodafone pitch, and its one that has been used in Europe for quite a while. In the workshop marketers and agencies get to spend time together and build a relationship, giving each more of an opportunity to get know each other and see if a partnership would work.

This technique wouldn’t work for every client, but it may work for some. It’s just an idea, and probably an overly-ambitious one, but overall the view seems clear that something must be done to make pitching here a more open process.

What do you think, how can pitches in Singapore be improved?

No comments: