At the climax of another World Cup, I could only marvel at the performance of the Germans. They made winning a lot of games over a short period look easy with a combination of fluid movement, progressive passing, a turn of pace, and formidable teamwork honed over years using a winning combination of youth & experience. It reminded me of OMD Melbourne’s recent performance in the game of pitching. We recently delivered 4 pitch presentations in a fortnight for separate clients. Our final score was to win 3 and to retire undefeated from the 4th. As a tribute to the all-conquering Germans, and especially their 7.1 blitzkreig of big guns Brazil, here are 7 steps to ensure a Mondial winning track record in winning pitches.
- Be clear on your winning proposition
The hardest task in media agency land is to differentiate. So it is vital to not only play to your strengths but to identify what you believe is your competitive advantage for a given pitch and communicate those strengths consistently. Think of ways of painting this consistent narrative across the pitch process. In this instance, effective frequency works!!
- Get organised early
Time is of the essence, especially when managing multiple pitches. So nailing exactly what needs to be completed in week 1 provides a framework that makes it easier to achieve. Eg nailing the presentation template in week 1 makes it easier for everyone to work on their parts. In stretching the football analogy, we assign positions to the broader pitch team so everyone knows exactly what they need to do over the pitch period.
- Develop Strength in depth
We employed 17 presenters across the 4 presentations, with a much larger body of people contributing to the supporting work. Breadth of talent is vital, not only to ensure you have sufficient resources but also a depth of talent that enables you to tailor a relevant team to each pitch. Just like Germany, if two stars are taken ill in pitch week, always have a Mario Goetze to come off the bench and score the winner!! And like Germany, the only way to achieve this is through a long term strategy to grow your talent pool.
- Leverage senior management expertise
With the edge of a large team, productivity is maximised by a senior management team that can divide & conquer through the process whilst delivering regular checkpoints to ensure everything is of sufficient quality and on time. This ensures you also continue to effectively service your existing clients when the pitch binge hits. When Kedira & Kroos surge forward, Schweinstiger hangs back.
- Answer the brief & follow the process
You have to score points to stay in the game. Always be focussed on the brief and what the client wants from you. Then with a strong baseline in the RFP and a range of documents & demands, a strong dab of innovation & creative thinking ensures you hit a high score. Just like ensuring you are sufficiently practised to score a lot of your goals from set pieces.
- Sweat the details
Not just accuracy in numbers, but all the little things that when added up impress clients at every touchpoint. The Germans never leave anything to chance.
- Fixate on Big Ideas
Despite all the preparation and faultless process, you will still finish 2nd without inspiration. As you look to finish your media recommendation with a big idea, look to do everything you can to help the team look for inspiration on the way through. From ideation sessions, through to briefing & insight stimuli and breaking the grinding pitch work with some unexpected inspiration to generate different thinking. Someone needs to find that chested pirouette & volley before deadline. Goal!!
And there it is. With the 7 steps progressively passed forward, you can enjoy the presentation on the day, and deliver a Germanically calm, relaxed yet confident presentation. And not go to pieces the minute you stumble on a slide, like those Brazillians….