[UPDATED 2021] Pitch perfect - Nail your advertising pitch

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But there’s a fine line between blowing them away and blowing your chances. I guarantee if you follow the 5 steps outlined below, your campaign pitch will knock their socks off.

What is an advertising pitch?

Let’s start with the basics. Just what are advertising pitches, and why are they so important to get right?

An advertising agency, PR agency, or marketing agency presents an idea to a prospective client that should accomplish the client’s goals and successfully convey the message of their brand.

It doesn’t matter if your client is a car dealer or a clothing boutique, a luxury hotel chain or an up-and-coming vegan café. All your potential clients have one major thing in common: They need to be wowed by your campaign pitch.

pitch advertising word cloud - marketing, media, campaign

Here are my 5 top tips on how to pull off the greatest campaign pitch imaginable.

1. Know your audience and your audience’s audience

Before you dive into a public relation, marketing, or ad pitch, it is critical you know a client’s business inside and out.

Once you’re hired, there’s no time to waste playing catch-up; you need to hit the ground running. Demonstrate that you know their business like the back of your hand by loading your campaign pitch with consumer insights and tailored details.

With the unique complications of COVID-19, it’s now more important than ever to know what consumers are saying and when.

I might be just the slightest bit biased, but Quick Search (Talkwalker’s social media search engine) is an incredibly helpful tool for agencies. Understand the conversations surrounding your client’s brand to pitch advertising ideas based on what the market is buzzing about.

Thanks to social listening, I can gather extremely useful brand insights to add to an advertising pitch, usually with a 13-month overview, as well as a 7-day analysis. 13 months gives me a general overview of the brand, so I can see what matters to the audience overall. On the flip side, 7 days helps me understand what’s important right now.

Here are some fantastic audience insights you can pull from Quick Search:

Brand engagement

Now that I know my intended audience, let’s take a look at what they care about. What’s their go-to coffee brand? Which part of the product or service keeps them coming back? What floats their boat?

Are they loyal to the brand, or will they jump ship the moment something shinier comes along? These are the things that matter, and worth including in your advertisement pitch.

Coffee is an important part of many people’s lives with some caffeine fiends more loyal than others.

Consumer trends

The voice of the customer matters.

Whether it’s a PR pitch, an advertising pitch, a media pitch, or a marketing campaign pitch, what a brand’s consumers think and say is of the utmost importance.

So, why should you give a hoot about consumer conversations? To see what topics are trending in the client's industry. Maybe they’re aware, maybe they’re not. Imagine kicking off your presentation with...

“Did you know Sam, the big trend to impact the automotive industry in the next 3 months will be hamster power?” That would certainly grab Sam’s attention.

Best be sure you have the data on hand to back up what you claim though; there’s nothing worse than getting called out in the middle of a pitch!

automotive industry word cloud visual

In actuality, “key players” has been trending in the automotive industry over the last 13 months. Hamsters are a lot cooler in my opinion...


Who is the brand engaging with? And more importantly, who are they not engaging with? An agency team might want to narrow the demographic to one ideal person, say a middle-aged mom named Giselle with watercolor tattoos. You may not want to be that precise, but creating a more personal understanding of your audience will result in a more targeted and effective game plan.

Spotify demographics: age bar chart

Spotify isn’t doing too hot with the 35+ market. If I was wooing a client, that’s something I’d bring up.

If you’re ever unsure about how to write an advertising pitch, I highly recommend you refer to Quick Search’s actionable insights and market research before jumping in. I prefer to outline the entire pitch process before fleshing it out.

“Agencies using Quick Search are able to identify social movements as they spread, allowing for lightning-fast turnarounds on agency pitches.”

(Excerpt from Industry Report Agencies)

2. Don’t forget the competition

Every decision-maker has an eye on what their competitors are doing.

I like to give them something to look at, with competitor analysis. Consumers generally think of 5 brands, so I’d take a careful look at the client and their top 4 competitors.

Impersonation may be the highest form of flattery, but blatant copying will get you zero brownie points during a creative pitch in advertising.

So, let’s dig a little deeper. See if anyone is engaging with an audience your potential client is missing. And check what tools and messages they’re using to engage that target audience.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Video comparison

I think it’s fairly obvious Netflix dominates this conversation.

3. Throw in some campaign analysis

I’ve found there are 3 types of client you will end up pitching to:

  • The ones where everything is going perfect (incredibly rare).
  • The ones that know they have a problem, but don’t know what it is (rare).
  • The ones who aren’t even aware there’s a problem (pretty common).

By digging into some of their past campaigns, I can check if they’ve been doing anything wrong and suggest improvements in the pitch deck.

I tend to look at how the campaign engaged with the audience. Whether consumers understood the brand message or got lost in the dark. I also look at campaign sentiment analysis.

Just because an ad campaign went viral, doesn’t mean it was a success. Sentiment analysis shows how a campaign impacted the audience.

H&M sentiment analysis over one month

H&M in China has seen a major dip in sentiment in the last month.

If you’re pitching campaign ideas solo, make sure you can prove how you’ll demonstrate results. A great idea is only great if you can prove it makes an impact on the business and that you can pull it off. Check out our Definitive guide to PR measurement to see how to measure results.

4. Show off your advertising or PR pitch pizzazz

This is where you can have a little fun. It’s time to introduce the wow factor.

If you’re going to win your PR or ad agency pitch, you have to stand out from your competition and create a lasting impression.

Getting creative when pitching in advertising is an absolute must. But there’s no reason why your analytics can’t impress your clients as well.

I think it’s safe to assume engagement is essential for successful social media campaigns. The same applies to a PR agency pitch or any media pitch for that matter.

Make sure you engage with the entire room including your team members, or within a Zoom call if you’re pitching virtually. You might wonder how to pitch a marketing campaign through a laptop, but there is more than one way to impress.

Show off your analytics with awesome visuals, relevant case studies, and if you can, add an interactive element to your presentation. If you have access to real-time monitoring, show it off, and ask your client what matters most to them.

The Mustr blog post suggests you should act as a showrunner. Showrunners are masters who display charisma and wit and engage clients in the creative process throughout the pitch. I’ve always found that if a client thinks an idea was partly theirs, then you’re already halfway to selling it to them.

5. Engage your client’s emotions

Never forget, your advertising or PR pitch is a story that builds a relationship with the client. I imagine them as reality shows, like the X Factor. A contestant could win through talent alone, but often, success is down to who gets the best emotional attachment with the crowd.

Emotional engagement works on TV. We know it works in marketing. Now use it to engage your client.

Consumers can get emotionally attached to commercials. You want that emotion in your advertising or PR pitch.


Now, I’m not saying you should have a sob story, but you should be passionate about your pitching. Tell a story with data that leads your client from beginning to end. I’ve had clients laugh in presentations, and I’ve had clients cry.

Just because you’re in a boardroom, doesn’t mean clients should be bored.

With so many agencies pitching, your potential client will remember the company that taps into that emotion. And that needs to be you.

Get out there and pitch!

And there you have it.

If you work in a PR or advertising agency, presenting pitches can be a walk in the park. Trust yourself and give it all you got. Research, analyze, and engage. Prove you do have what it takes.

If you want to prepare yourself with the data you need for a successful pitch, you can arrange a free demo of Quick Search below. Don’t forget to check out our incredibly thorough industry report on agencies, and feel free to comment below with any other tips you have!

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