What You Need To Know: Pitching’s Dead (And Ridiculous)

What You Need To Know: Pitching’s Dead (And Ridiculous)

Pitching vs. Sales

There is a big difference between selling yourself and pitching for business. Whether you’re a preacher or a grocery store clerk, we’re all salesmen. Being a good salesman is a great thing, but it’s time the advertising world moves away from the outdated pitching process. More importantly, it’s time for businesses trying to hire an ad agency to stop requesting pitches.

Why Pitching Is Dumb

When given the opportunity to “pitch” business, we typically decline. Don’t get me wrong, we’re aggressive and enjoy competing against other agencies for business. We just won’t do it in the typical agency fashion, which is an hour-long presentation where we try to explain why we’re the best fit and how we’ll have the best “synergy” between our team and yours. It’s ridiculous to think that you can get to know a company well enough to trust them with a couple hundred thousand dollars (or millions, in some cases) in as little as an hour-long presentation. Let alone get to know someone well enough to decide if they’ll be a good partner 5, 10, or 15 years down the road. It just doesn’t make sense, so we don’t participate. Instead, we have multiple conversations and get to know a potential client. We want to explain how we work, what to expect, and how we believe we can be of benefit to them. We also want them to decide if we’re the right fit given the information we’ve provided.

We want a long-term relationship, not a reward for the best presentation. And businesses should want that, too.

We Pitched Once…

A couple of years ago we went through the entire pitching process for a big account we wanted to land. Our pitch was great! It just wasn’t as great as one other agency’s. They pulled out all the stops and spared no expense. They “wowed” the client and won the business. We got beat. It sucked because we knew we were a better fit. Word quickly spread around town that the other company was struggling with the account, which is exactly what we predicted. After two years, they finally figured it out. The frustrating part was that the client couldn’t see past the pitch and focus on the implementation. The experience taught us to stick to our guns and never participate in that type of environment again. We’ll never be an agency that pitches, and that’s ok.

When It’s Too Good To Be True

Our experience has taught us that the companies who work tirelessly to perfect their pitch are usually the ones who suck on the backend after they’ve been awarded the business. It’s the “let’s get the business and then figure out how to manage it” philosophy. Fake it ‘til you make just isn’t our style.

When I was in college, I read the book “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, & Outnegotiate Your Competition” by Harvey McKay. The book profoundly changed my life, and the quote below perfectly sums out how we approach the business development process at Agency501.

“Never buy anything in a room with a chandelier.” — Harvey McKay

Truer words have never been spoken. Like anything in life, if someone is trying so hard to impress you, they probably need you much more than you need them. Relationships should be mutually beneficial…not one-sided. If I have to spend three weeks preparing for a meeting where I have one hour to impress you, then we’re probably not going to be a good fit. The old school pitching process kind of feels like the king who wants everyone to kiss his ring. If that’s what you’re looking for, no judgment here. Again, we’re just not going to be the right fit. Now, if you want to spend a couple hours discussing the pros and cons of working with us, I’m game. We’re not above giving anyone our time, this game just has to be played on a neutral field.

Give agencies an opportunity to sell themselves. Get to know them and spend time learning the ins-and-outs of working with them. In the long run, finding the right agency will save you a ton of money and spare you countless headaches. Nobody wants to be in a bad relationship, so spend some time playing the field and getting to know the folks who will (hopefully) be around for years to come.

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PHYSICAL ADDRESS

Agency501, Inc.

805 W 2nd St

Little Rock, AR 72201

MAILING ADDRESS

Agency501, Inc.

P.O. Box 501

Little Rock, AR 72203

COPYRIGHT © 2019 AGENCY501

Nothing Is Original, But You Still Have To Be Creative

Nothing Is Original, But You Still Have To Be Creative

“Nothing is original. Everything is a remix.” -Kirby Ferguson

If you’ve been in the advertising or creative industries for more than 5 minutes, you’ve likely heard this quote in some form or fashion. There are Ted Talks about the subject, endless articles referencing arguments for or against the statement’s validity, and just about everyone in the business has an opinion on it…including us.

The quote has two basic interpretations:

 

1. Everything mankind creates takes inspiration from something that came before it.

This is basically the acknowledgment that there is no such thing as reinventing the wheel. What we have to do is take the wheel, and create a car…or at least a solid cart. Maybe that wasn’t the best analogy, but you get the point. You have to build upon what came before. Add value. Add creativity. Transform what is available, and make it unique.

The key is inspiration. This isn’t an excuse to carbon copy what everyone else is doing, it’s motivation to find what inspires you, and create something jaw-dropping from it. This is what the quote is really talking about. Of course, a lot of people have bypassed this and created another meaning in its entirety.

2. It’s totally okay to rip off people’s work. (Spoiler: It’s not.)

Upwork. Fiverr. Design Crowd. The land of carbon copied logos in the name of making an extra five bucks. Don’t get us wrong, there are a lot of real designers that create amazing work on those sites, but a large portion of people don’t. Lately, it seems like no one is willing to bunker down and really create anything creative. As an agency that employs a number of extremely talented and creative individuals, this mindset strikes a nerve with us.

For one, it’s not an ethical practice. You can’t steal someone else’s blood, sweat, and tears for your own portfolio, and call yourself a designer. For every award-winning, effective logo or design, an art director and/or graphic designer spent hours and hours creating thumbnail sketches, refining ideas, revising drafts, resizing specs, and rendering every last detail to ensure that the logo is as perfect as humanly possible. Googling “fire logo,” and ripping off someone else’s idea with just enough differences to not be legally called plagiarism devalues your work as well as the work of every other creative professional in the industry.

Being creative is a talent and a skill. Some people are born with a naturally creative mind, but everyone who works in a creative field spends a lot of time practicing and perfecting their process. Going a step further and physically turning their ideas into work on a page takes hours of training, software fees, oftentimes college degrees in a certain subject… don’t be the guy to cheat those deserving artists out of the recognition and compensation they deserve.

 

In A World Of Carbon Copies, Be Creative

 

We’ll give you the first step to truly creating something unique. It’ll sound counter-intuitive, but just hear us out:

Turn. Off. Your. Computer.

Just do it. Finish reading this blog post (insert our shameless plug telling you to share this to Facebook while you’re at it), save all your important work, and hit the power button. Walk away from your desk. Take a walk through a park with a sketchbook and a pencil. Idea vomit all over a page, with every single terrible idea or design that exists inside that mind of yours.

At the end of the day, that Macbook is just another tool. A necessary tool, but a tool nonetheless. Get out of your own head, and experience the world. THAT is where true inspiration comes from, not Pinterest or Google Images or Ad Age’s Award Winners.

A (Short) Letter To All The Designers:

 

Do the work. Put in the time. Create something that has value. For the love of all things, be creative.

Your clients will thank you. Your portfolio will thank you. Every other designer in the world that benefits from the validity of the industry will thank you, too.

A (Similarly Short) Letter to All The Clients:

 

Suck it up, and be willing to pay for the value you’re asking for. Exposure is not compensation. Neither is minimum wage hourly work for a logo project. Creativity takes time and money and talent. Paying $5 for a ripped off design doesn’t help your business any more than it helps the designers that spend every second of every day creating wonderful work.

You’d never offer your high-quality business product or service up for free, so why do you expect creatives to?

Looking for an agency willing to get their hands dirty to produce real creative work?

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What You Need To Know: Pitching’s Dead (And Ridiculous)

Pitching vs. Sales There is a big difference between selling yourself and pitching for business. Whether you’re a preacher or a grocery store clerk, we’re all salesmen. Being a good salesman is a great thing, but it’s time the advertising world moves away from the...

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“Nothing is original. Everything is a remix.” -Kirby FergusonIf you’ve been in the advertising or creative industries for more than 5 minutes, you’ve likely heard this quote in some form or fashion. There are Ted Talks about the subject, endless articles referencing...

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Here’s how it usually goes down… You hire an advertising agency and you agree on a budget. They tell you that it’s great and you’ll start seeing results before you know it. You do see some results… just not as much as you were expecting. You’re expecting that the...

PHYSICAL ADDRESS

Agency501, Inc.

805 W 2nd St

Little Rock, AR 72201

MAILING ADDRESS

Agency501, Inc.

P.O. Box 501

Little Rock, AR 72203

COPYRIGHT © 2019 AGENCY501