Pitch perfect - spotlight your PR or advertising pitch

Pitch perfect - spotlight your PR or advertising pitch

Imagine. You’ve spent months trying to arrange a meeting with your dream client. Now, after all that hard work, you've one hour to give that perfect advertising or PR pitch. But there’s a fine line between blowing them away and blowing your chances. These 5 steps show you how to light their fuse.

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When I worked in advertising, I sat through hundreds, if not thousands of pitches. From bathroom designers and car dealers, to chocolatiers and clothes shops, I pitched to tons of different businesses. But they all still expected the same thing from a pitch. They wanted to be wowed.

And it didn’t matter if it was a PR pitch, an advertising pitch, a media pitch, whatever. The wow desire is still the same. And the methods to get it are too.

Here’re my 5 top tips on how to make that happen.

1. Know your audience and your audience’s audience

When presenting a public relations, marketing or advertising pitch, you need to know their business back to front.

Once you’re hired, the client doesn't want to waste time waiting for you to catch-up. You can demonstrate that you know their business back to front, by peppering your pitch with consumer insights.

These give you a rounded knowledge of how the brand is perceived.

With social listening, I arm myself with those brand insights, usually with a 13-month overview, and 7-day analysis. 13 months gives me a general overview of the brand, so I can see what matters to the audience as a whole. While 7 days helps me understand what’s important right now.

My preferred audience insights are:

Brand engagement

Once I know who I’m talking to, I look at what they care about.

Which part of the brand communications are they engaging with? Are they loyal to the brand, or a fickle buyer that jumps from one product to the next? These are the things that matter.

Fast food consumers are fickle, with hunger often overriding brand loyalty

Consumer trends

And then, I look at the consumer conversations, to see what topics are trending in the client's industry. Imagine starting off your pitch 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.

Although if you are going to pull out awesome facts like that, have the data on hand to back-up your claims. Everyone is a cynic!

Internet of Things is trending in the automotive industry

In fact, the internet of things (IoT) has trended in the automotive industry over the last 13 months


Who is the brand engaging with? And more importantly, who are they not engaging with? I’ve known some agencies to narrow the demographic to one ideal person, say a 35-year-old bald motorcyclist called Brian. You may not want to be that precise, but by creating a more personal understanding of your audience it helps you create a more targeted strategy.

Netflix Demographics

Netflix is struggling to engage the 35+ market. If I was doing an advertising pitch, that’s an angle I would look at.

2. Don’t forget the competition

Every decision maker has one eye on what their competitors are doing. I like to give them something to look at, with some competitor analysis. For top of mind awareness, consumers generally think of 5 brands, so I look at the client and their top 4 competitors in detail.

At this point, I’m not trying to copy anything a competitor is doing. Impersonation may be the highest form of flattery, but blatant copying will get you nowhere.

See if anyone is engaging with an audience your potential client is missing. And see what messages they’re using to engage that audience.

US coffee shop brand comparison

Starbucks dominates the conversation for US coffee shops. Although Costa is catching up!

3. Add some campaign analysis

I’ve found there are 3 types of client in the world.

  • The ones where everything is going perfect (very 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 looking at some of their past campaigns, I can discover where they’ve been going wrong, and help suggest improvements.

I tend to look at how the campaign engaged with the audience. Whether consumers took the brand messages and ran with them, or stumbled over what the campaign was trying to say. I also look at campaign sentiment analysis. Just because a campaign went viral, it doesn’t mean it was a success. Sentiment analysis shows how a campaign impacted the audience.

Diet Coke campaign sentiment

Diet Coke’s “Because I can” hasn’t been too popular following the launch in January ‘18.

Oh, if you are pitching campaign ideas yourself, make sure you can show how you’ll demonstrate results. A great idea is only great if you can prove it makes an impact on the business. 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 the fun bit. The showstopper. The wow.

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

For me, I used creative campaign ideas, music, and voices, to win over clients during the pitching process. But there’s no reason why your analytics can’t impress your clients as well.

We all know that engagement is essential for successful social media campaigns. Make sure you engage in the room (or email pitch, if you’re pitching from afar).

Show off your analytics with awesome visuals, 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 master pitchers, who 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 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 (unless your hamster couldn’t keep the pace), but you should be passionate in 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 to pitch, your client will remember the company that taps into that emotion. And that needs to be you.

Go out there and pitch

There you have it. If you work in a PR or advertising agency, presenting pitches can be easy. You just need to do what you do every day in your campaigns. You research, you analyze and you engage.

If you want to arm yourself with the data you need for pitch success, you can arrange a free demo of Quick Search below. Or leave me a comment with any other pitching tips you have.

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