New survey reveals creative pitch process increases marketing staff stress

by | Apr 11, 2018 | Marketing, Public Relations

Pitching is an unavoidable part of acquiring new business for marketing and advertising agencies. Brand strategy and market research firm Provoke Insights recently released the results of its Advertisers vs. Client-side Marketers Study, which surveyed 736 ad and marketing pros about the pitch process.

Pitching is a big part of agency life, which can take a toll on creative teams. In fact, 81 percent of ad professionals are involved in the pitch—11 percent of ad agencies pitch every week of the year and more than half pitch at least 10 times annually. Respondents indicate that involvement in the pitch increases their stress level by 28 percent.

What makes a winning pitch? 

Client-side marketers say that advertising agencies must show creativity (50 percent) and a true understanding of the company’s goals and objectives (47 percent) to stand out, followed by prior experience in the industry, listening to client’s needs, cost, and access to research in order to win a pitch. “Advertisers and client-side marketers agree that research is a primary means of strengthening a pitch. In fact, advertisers call out survey research, in particular, as the most important way to improve the process,” said Rachael Ryan, a researcher at Provoke Insights, in a news release.

Agency specialization 

Additionally, the study shows that companies hire advertising agencies (56 percent) and also conduct marketing in-house (44 percent). In a changing marketplace, companies are increasingly commissioning ad agencies in order to meet specific needs. The biggest outsourced areas are digital as well as social media, web design, and digital/interactive. Traditional media remains a core component of the marketing plan including print ads (55 percent), events (46 percent), and commercials (40 percent).

Budget disparities between large and small companies are revelatory. Companies with 500+ employees have a median advertising budget that is 10 times higher than that of smaller companies (500 employees or less) and their media spend is almost 50 times more than small companies.

Following are additional study highlights:

Meeting expectations

On average, in-house marketers work with their primary agency for five years but only two-fifths are ‘very satisfied’ with their output. Reasons for dissatisfaction are:

  • ROI
  • Distrust
  • Expectations not being met

Companies are most satisfied if their advertising partner shows an understanding of their company’s goals and objectives (54 percent).

Payment structure

The survey showed that agency compensation is also evolving. Working on retainer is no longer the norm; a combination of retainer and project-based contracts are more common, with a quarter (24 percent) of businesses only commissioning on a project basis.

The research study also covered marketing effectiveness and job satisfaction. Download the report here.

Provoke Insights conducted a ten-minute online survey in December, 2017 to better understand client-side marketing needs and the pitch process. 736 respondents completed the survey among two segments: advertising professionals (149 completes) and in-house marketing leaders (587 completes). Respondents worked at companies with a minimum of 25 employees and had full or shared decision- making authority of ad budget, marketing vendor selection, or marketing initiatives. Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 90% confidence level. Margin of error is +/- 3%. Smaller companies are defined as under 500 employees and larger companies as 500+ employees.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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