Giving it up on the first date

You people have dirty minds!  I’m talking about new business pitches for PR firms or any other service related business.  This is by no means a new topic but one that popped up in two different venues for me today.  First it showed up in the “Young PR Pros” group on Yahoo and then again on PRNewser.

The discussion centers on whether this is a risk of a potential clients “stealing” ideas and not compensating the agency for them.  The answer is yes.  There is that risk.  My thought is that if someone wants to “steal” your ideas you don’t want to work with them anyway.  You also need to demonstrate your understanding of their issue/goals/objectives and demonstrate your ability to meet/exceed those goals. That requires going out on a limb.  Yes, you’re going to have some instances where people take your ideas and run with them, but more often than not, if you spend the time to create something of real value to a prospective customer, they’re going to want you to execute on it. The analogy used in a response to this question on the Young PR Pros list was  that someone who just takes a plan and tries to execute it will be like someone who chooses to be their own general contractor when building a house. Sure you have a list of things that need to be done, but can you do them? That’s why people hire agencies.

This is a place where this blog has come in very handy.  Many prospective clients of Morgan/Dorado read DontEatTheShrimp.  They see that we know what we’re talking about and how we execute.

We also tend to not participate in ‘bake-offs’ or large ‘calls for proposals’ that put us against many other firms. That tends to whittle down the  amount of time we spend of responding to requests so when we do want to respond we can create real creative that sets us apart.

So here’s a list of things to think about when deciding to spend time/money on creative for a pitch:

  1. Is this someone you really want to work with?
  2. Do they really want to work with you?
  3. Can you win?
  4. Can you execute better than anyone else if you do win?
  5. Do they understand what you bring to the table?
  6. Can you afford to lose?
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