PR’S PITCHING PROCESS IS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED, PRCA RESEARCH REVEALS
Research conducted by independent, international research and insights agency Perspectus Global in partnership with the PRCA, reveals that the average PR agency spends £11k on pitching every year. Agency professionals believe that the time spent is excessive and lacks protection for the intellectual property and resources used.
The study looked at senior agency professionals to assess the average amount of time and resources that are spent on business pitches. It found that the average PR agency does 27 new business pitches every year, which adds up to 1,674 hours and £11k in costs.
Harriet Scott of research agency Perspectus Global says, “We wanted to shine a light on the pressures of pitching for new business that UK PR agencies face - and the results show that not only have client expectations risen in recent years, but the amount of work undertaken by agencies to win new projects has also grown.”
An average of 62 hours is spent on each pitch, including the time spent from brainstorming to presenting. The study also found that 40% of respondents said existing clients are often neglected due to a focus on pitches or prospective work.
As a result, 30% of agency owners and senior decision makers said that the pitching process is out of control and presented problems for the business. While 60% said that brands make agencies jump through hoops to win new business, 61% acknowledged that the marketing and brand directors they are pitching to appeared to be under greater pressure to prove ROI than ever before.
Over half of those surveyed said they do not believe there is enough protection around intellectual property when pitching to clients. “Intellectual copyright seems a key issue for agency leaders, as does the fact that some pitches involve multiple agencies competing for one brief. And the sheer time given over to new business pitching is enormous, according to our survey,” adds Scott
Just over half of agency professionals think PR professionals should be paid to pitch ideas, while 55% admitted to feeling uncomfortable sharing full formed PR programmes at pitch stage. Likewise, 36% said they have seen their team lose a pitch only to witness the client use the idea presented at a later stage via another agency.
Francis Ingham MPRCA, director general of the PRCA says, “Getting the client consultancy relationship right is integral to any PR work, and that starts at the very beginning - at the pitch. That’s why this research is so important. In 2022, the PRCA will be working hard on a global scale to sort this out. We’re going to relaunch our client consultancy charter, and we’re going to make this a key focus of our organisation’s work”.