Some guidelines for pitch-perfect pitches

The event industry is becoming more and more competitive every day so New Balls Please attaches a lot of importance to a smooth and honourable pitch process. ACC Belgium has listed a few tips and tricks to facilitate and clarify the pitch procedure for all parties involved.

1 - Outline the pitch procedure

When a company approaches an event agency, it’s important for the agency to know what the pitch procedure will look like. Is there a long list, short list? How were the involved agencies selected? Are credentials or testimonials needed? What is the deadline? Transparency here is key, so the agency doesn’t lose time on projects or briefings that were not in line with its expectations in the first place, and the requesting company can have clarity in its own decision-making process.  

2 - How many agencies are selected?

This might seem like a question that stems from pure curiosity of the event agency, but there is more to it. Every member of the ACC Belgium adheres to the guidelines that guarantee a respectful competition. Clients often approach as many agencies as possible to acquire as many ideas as possible. This isn’t sustainable for the agencies themselves and is an exploitation of the creative talent. That’s why members of the ACC will only participate in pitches that involve maximum three other agencies.

3 - What budget is available?

Clients often first want to hear about what an agency can do and then reveal the budget later on. However, the possibilities and ideas an agency can suggest depend on the budget. €200.000 allows for a different kind of location, caterer, .. than for example €20.000. In addition to this, the potential revenue for the event agency has to be in line with the pitch workload. Information about the budget is thus crucial!

4 - Who will take the decision?

Pitching for an audience that doesn’t have a say in the final decision, is frustrating. It is a waste of time for both parties and can delay the pitch process with unnecessary pitch rounds. Make sure that there is an opportunity to meet (all) the decision maker(s) early on in the process.  

5 - What are the defined selection criteria?

Each project is different and requires a different focus. For some clients the most important thing is to stay within budget, while other clients first off want to hear unique concepts and the budget will adjust accordingly. In each case, agencies will adapt their strategy and pitch to match the needs and priorities of the requesting party. As a client, you can thus only benefit from good communication about selection criteria as you will receive an even more tailored pitch!

6 - Give the agencies enough time

Event agencies understand deadlines like no other, but to guarantee a qualitative and thorough proposal, agencies prefer two weeks minimum to work out a decent concept. The extra waiting time will definitely be worth your while.

7 - Let all the agencies know the results ASAP

It’s courteous to inform every agency that pitched an idea about the final decision, preferably as soon as possible. Agencies might have pending options on locations, caterers, partners, etc. which have to be informed one way or another. Even the agencies that didn’t make the cut, deserve at least a short call or email with the message that they were not chosen.    

8 - Have an evaluation/feedback session after every assignment

Something that is often overlooked or not handled correctly is the act of giving feedback following a pitch or presentation. Just saying ‘the other proposal was more creative,’ isn’t very helpful and doesn’t help the event agency to learn from this project. The agency will always appreciate the time you take to give them feedback. Even when informing an agency that they won the pitch, it’s still favourable for them to hear why exactly their proposal stood out.

If all parties involved keep these tips in mind, respectful and long-term partnerships can be established.

Happy pitching everyone!