I think it’s fair to say that within the last few weeks, we have all started to see light at the end of the tunnel. But as I reflect on how things have changed in the last year, I do wonder what pre-COVID practices and behaviors will return and what will be forever changed. I know this is a popular topic these days, but I believe the agency new business pitch will be different.
Technology will remain a big part of the process – We all have a love/hate relationship with video conferences. They’re incredibly convenient, but also exhausting. Moving forward, I believe agency new business will still incorporate tech. Briefings and check-ins, driven by PowerPoint slides and background overviews, work over Zoom and Teams. And the fact that tech accommodates people from home, different cities, and different locations is still a huge plus.
Chemistry can translate remotely but collaboration sessions will be back in person – A big question for clients early in the pandemic was, “Will we really be able to gauge chemistry if we never meet in person?” The answer is a resounding YES. However, collaborative components of the new business process, e.g. creative workshops, thrive in an in-person environment. When the client and agency are in the same room, there is typically more engagement, more focus and more ideation. So, a hybrid of virtual and in-person meetings will prevail.
We will all be together for final presentations – Soon enough, it’ll be time to put our sweatpants away, enter a room with walls, and present in person. However, the conference room landscape will look a bit different. Virtual pitches “level the playing field” by focusing on the assignment rather than the pageantry. In the new pitch conference room, I think the days of huge teams, props, and tchotchkes are numbered.
The new agency pitch will blend the best of both environments—marrying the emphasis on thinking, creative and results that emerged in virtual pitches with the in-person presence of the team you’ll ultimately call partner.