As a creative professional, I love a good pitch. There’s nothing more exciting to me than coming up with a great idea, bringing it to fruition and introducing my brain baby to a room full of clients. It’s just like when Rafiki stands on that rock and presents Simba to the rest of the animal kingdom. (Cue “The Circle of Life.”) And presenting a big idea isn’t just exciting––it’s also a vital part of the creative process.
Some clients love being pitched. They’ve spent time with their OOHology team to identify target audiences, develop marketing strategies, create a unique brand voice and more, and it all comes together in the pitch meeting. This may be their first time laying eyes on the brain baby, seeing tangible pieces of creative and being allowed to react in real time.
Surprisingly though, some clients don’t really like pitch meetings. I’ve had some clients who felt like a formal pitch meeting was more style than substance, and some who just didn’t think that a truly good idea would even need a formal pitch. They’d just as soon received PDFs via email, and be allowed to deliver their feedback the same way. And that’s fine, I guess… Whatever. #notsalty
But here’s my personal pitch for the pitch meeting, the reasons I think all clients should get invested in the creative process and never ever skip another chance to step up to the plate.
Pitches are a chance to see work in the wild.
A campaign can look wholly different as a print ad than it does as a digital ad. The former offers ample space for copy and a great visual, while the latter hits hard and fast with minimal real estate. A YouTube pre-roll ad, on the other hand, allows an idea to be put into story form with video and music. All three mediums can communicate the same message in very different ways, so sending a concept to a client without any kind of walkthrough can leave them misinformed. It’s invaluable to be in the room together, so everyone can talk through how an idea will take shape across different mediums.
Pitches are more than just an excuse for creative directors to get more air time.
Marketing directors don’t always belong to the same demographic as their companies’ target audiences, which can make it hard for them to get certain creative approaches. For instance, a 50-something white male CMO might not understand the sensibilities of heavily pierced, tattooed millennials (and vice versa). The pitch provides the chance to explain audience personas in depth, so the client gets a clear idea of the consumer mindset. This makes it easier to grasp how the concept will be received by the target audience.
Pitches are a more-fun version of a college review session.
How does the look and feel of the creative execution relate to the audience? Where will the creative be deployed? Is the campaign message on target? A face-to-face pitch is the perfect time to hammer out these strategic details and come to a complete understanding of how the concept relates to the brand as a whole.
The pitch is the time to look back at where everything started, revisit the strategic decisions, marketing tactics and thinking, then showcase how the entire plan has come full circle (of Life) right before their eyes.