The Art of the Pitch. Lesson 1

In Clients, Pitching on January 20, 2011 at 11:40 am

I don’t suspect that many guys who eat marketing textbooks for breakfast also read this blog. It’s a bit too lateral for them. The few who do however are probably thinking, ‘Hey he’s started to speak our language. He’s called this post ‘The Art of the Pitch’ because he’s going to serve up some nuggets in the vein of Sun Tzu or Machiavelli.’ They’re thinking, ‘this is a post I want to read’ because they’ve sworn allegiance to those two authors, believing that taking their management philosophy from the works of a 6th century BC Chinaman or a 15th century Italian political philosopher is cool and nobody will notice that’s it’s really a substitute for having no worthwhile personal insights of their own.

Such marketeers are kings of jargon and herd thinking. They pepper their conversations with the latest buzz phrases such as ‘joined-up thinking’. They talk about competitors who also work in their ‘space’. Some even call themselves ‘Corpreneurs’ which apparently is a ‘Corporate Entrepreneur’ – a clear confession that they never had the courage to take that leap into the unknown themselves, but prefer to gamble with someone else’s money.

Back to my subject. These guys also make the worst clients. And you really don’t want to end up pitching to them. They’re just the type to look at a piece of creative work and mark it out of ten on five different key measures. This is marketing by formula. Instinct has no place in their armoury. So if you care about building a client list that will bring you happiness and satisfaction, avoid such people. When you go to the chemistry meeting (another classic!), ask to meet them in their office. Tell them it’s a huddle. They’ll love that. Once in, check out those bookshelves. Then their desk. Beware a Newton’s Cradle. Flinch at the ubiquitous Mont Blanc pen and pencil set in a leather case. Recoil at the cartoon of them on the wall that they got some poor sod at their last agency to draw.  But most of all listen to what they say. If they mention exploring the pitch brief at a more ‘granular level in a tissue meeting in two weeks time’, run straight out of the door.


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