Winning pitches in a recession: part two

Read part one here

6 Turn down business “Don’t go for pitches you can’t win,” says Chris Murphy, founder of marketing agency Balloon Dog. “If you have nagging doubts, it’s a waste of time and money. Far better to focus on those clients you have an affinity with and put in 100 per cent of your energy than attend as many pitches as you can fit into a day. This can be an annoying distraction from business as usual. We do fewer pitches these days, but we certainly win more.”

7 Play to your strengths “Some years ago, we were pitching for the European launch for PlayStation,” explains Paul Simons, CEO of £25m-turnover ad agency Truly London. “We were outgunned by bigger competitors with international networks – we were purely UK focused. But we had our own advantage: we were the creative mavericks; we weren’t tied to corporate structures. To keep the client focused on that element of our pitch, we hired a famous comedy actor, Hugh Dennis, to present the creative ideas. The client was blown away and appointed us for being the most exciting option. Suddenly the disadvantage of not having global offices was less important…”

8 Don’t save the best for last Alex Macpherson is CEO of Octopus Ventures, a UK investor in early-stage and expanding companies. His advice is simple and concise: “Start strong. Be clear and powerful in the first 60 seconds.”

9 If you want something done, do it yourself Gavin Stewart founded brand affinity marketing agency Touchdown 13 years ago. Today, the firm turns over £2m a year and employs seven people. Stewart has never stopped attending pitches and mucking in with his sales team. “It makes a big difference to a prospective client when the owner of the company comes in for a meeting,” he says. “I’ve built a company in this sector; I know the industry inside-out. It gives our pitches extra clout.”

10 Dare to be different Truly London’s Graham Hawkey-Smith says: “We were pitching against six agencies for The financial news and comparison website was looking for an agency to fit in with their fun and funky team. They were considering a jester as their logo, so we hired jester costumes for two members of the team who spent the next week hanging out near Fool’s offices. Four days in, one of our jesters was stopped by someone from Fool who took him up to the office. The MD interrupted a big meeting when he saw our jester (who at no point revealed his connection to Truly), and invited him in for a chat over coffee. When we finally pitched, the first slide was our man in the jester suit cheekily looking round the reception desk. Before we even did £1,000 bonus to leave within know what aspect of the business anything else, we were the agency they wanted to work with.” what we had in mind’ or ‘Yes, we anything else, we were the agency they wanted to work with.”

Related articlesWinning pitches in a recession: part oneBusinesses to run in a recession: part oneBusinesses to run in a recession: part two

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