13 August 2015
As members of the DBA we have signed up to the practise of not entering into free creative pitches with prospective clients.
A pitch is commonly defined as: ‘to try to sell or promote something such as a product, personal viewpoint or potential business venture, often in an aggressive way.’
Pitching is any practice that involves the speculative or competitive provision of design services (including concepts) for a commercial client that results in the designer receiving or charging less than their normal professional rates for work that is intended or likely to be commercially realised or in an attempt to win new business.
Interestingly, (for us), pitch is also defined as: ‘to fall or stumble, especially headfirst.’
Pitching in the design world probably originated as a spin-off from the advertising industry. For better or worse, both are popularly regarded as being in the ‘creative’ domain, and therefore the methods used in the advertising industry for appointing new business were extended into design.
However this neatly overlooked the fact that traditional advertising agencies could better afford the many costs of pitching, as they made a substantial portion of their income from additional media commissions. Design studios have no likelihood of gaining media commissions and cannot afford the costs of pitching – even aside from the philosophical issues involved.
There are plenty of reasons we could mention why as members of the DBA we try to educate prospective clients into reconsidering the pitch process, away from the free-pitch to something more consultative and long-term:
A more balanced view can be seen in our other post on this subject "No to free pitching".
So what is the alternative? Well the DBA have kindly allowed us access to share their documentation to help support enquiring prospects and would-be clients of ours, along with readers of this blog. Below is a list of downloadable resource pdfs outlining the various stages involved in commissioning an agency like ourselves.
Another useful resource is The Good Pitch—a joint industry initiative which brings together client and agency representative organisations to tackle the issue of pitching and best practice pitch processes. The Good Pitch microsite: www.thegoodpitch.com hosts outputs from the Good Pitch Taskforce including: 6 Pitch Principles for use by agencies and clients; results of research carried out regarding pitch practices; and an overview of the Pitch Alternatives identified.