Tips for Presenting Creative in an Agency Pitch

In one of our recent creative reviews, a finalist agency took great care in walking the client through their customer’s brand journey. They meticulously outlined how the brand would meet the customer “where they are.” They mapped out every channel. They showed scores of executions. And when the client ultimately chose another shop, one of the reasons they cited was that the agency’s thinking “felt small.”

So, what went wrong?

The agency led with a Facebook post; because that is how the brand’s consumer starts their day. And for better or worse, this made the thinking feel very small.

The agency was right in delivering on what every marketer is asking for—a big, strategic platform that integrates across the smallest of channels. But as some of today’s most important tactics get smaller and smaller, you need to demonstrate that the thinking behind it is still big.

Here are a few things to consider in your next creative pitch:

-Lead with the platform. Spend time on the strategy that will ultimately hold the brand message, look and voice together. Focus on the insights that led to your tactics, explaining how they address the brand’s business and communications challenges.

-Simplify. In a pitch environment, assume you’re dealing with a sophisticated marketer. A few examples are enough. A million examples will make your presentation feel overly tactical and your thinking, small.

-Explore more than one creative direction. This used to be the norm. Agencies would come to pitches with two to three different concepts. Some still do. But many are putting their eggs all in one creative basket and then stuffing that basket with tons of executions.

-Tell a story. If you want storytelling in your creative, the pitch is the place to start. Think about making a connection as you walk the client through the insights, creative and tactics. Just like an ad, a story will resonate with your target—in this case, your potential client.

In a pitch, agencies should demonstrate how an idea can integrate across channels. This is what clients are asking for. But be wary of jumping so quickly to the execution that the thinking is lost. Your creative is built on big ideas. Make sure it feels that way.