Are you still pitching, or are you selling?

The renowned international real estate agent has not had an agency for nine months. He held a so-called pitch. Of the 20 or so selected agencies, only six had survived the first round of competition. Still no winner. But now something unusual happened: The broker invited another ten agencies to the competition. And he said: “The best thing about it is that it costs nothing.”

It seems like an extraordinarily bizarre idea. Nevertheless, it is astonishing how widespread it still is. Although the episode described above dates back several years, many companies still allow themselves to be seduced by a process that is as ineffective as imaginable and that makes them economically blind.

The framework conditions are often similar. Purchasing or controlling issues new guidelines for pricing at suppliers, the old and possibly proven agency relationship is to be checked to see “whether something better is found”, or the leading position in marketing has been newly filled.

In all these situations it is almost a matter of reflex: Now the pitching is what it takes. At least three, if not as many agencies as possible, are now invited to set mouse and man in motion, to develop and present unique ideas and sample campaigns for real or even fictitious projects. Gladly in one or more rounds of elimination.


After each individual round, each idea is then to be refined and worked out more precisely. Of course, as free as possible or for a symbolic compensation – an astonishing process that would be completely out of the question in any other industry.

Pitcht is for projects whose market has long since moved on.

Many agencies have meanwhile renounced such low-priority tenders – but that is another issue. That enormous resources also go into such a process on the customer side.

But it is astonishing that there was probably originally a rational reason for the agency change. Finally, the briefing spoke of a number of problems that needed to be solved. So by the time a new agency was finally identified and appointed, none of these problems had been solved.

One distant day, then, this new agency finally takes up its work. More time passes before she finishes her work. In the traditional customer-agency relationship, this is many months – and very often more than a year. So when the project is finally completed, the market has moved on. Basically, you can start over now.


Digital projects must become more predictable – and deliver immediately presentable results


This process has become obsolete. And he has made sure in the past that many digital projects had a bad reputation. Rarely did they deliver what they promised: First excessive, then burned budgets. How were many project managers therefore already in the crossfire?

The only thing that helps is speed. And a strategy that promises to deliver the necessary results in such a short time that budgets can be measured against it. Because finally, the management can do something with it.

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