It’s an account director’s worst nightmare. The client calls and tells him that she’d like to re-pitch the account. She’s happy with performance, you’ve exceeded your agreed objectives, but the client wants to ‘see what’s out there’. From an agency perspective, the campaign is running like clockwork – good relationship, writing style aligned, know the spokespeople, understand the issues, lots of ideas and directions to take. Now this. Question is – do you fight or do you bow out gracefully? If the client doesn’t appreciate the effort you’ve put in why continue? If it’s got to the stage of a re-pitch, do you stand a chance of retention? Can you afford the opportunity cost of the effort involved?
Then again, the client is thinking the agency might have lost its hunger. Perhaps it’s time for new blood, some fresh thinking? The campaign is going well but could we do even better? Perhaps there is something else out there? Perhaps not – but best to check you have the best team at the right agency. Why not invite a few others to see what they’d do? Might be a chance to address those niggling issues. At least it will keep the agency on its toes.
And so we enter the no-man’s land of the re-pitch. Some would say that at this point, the incumbent agency has lost, so best to cut your losses and move on. Others, that you have to fight your corner, hammer home the achievements to date and show there’s plenty of gas in the tank. So what’s best? Should agencies jump the hoop or find someone who appreciates their efforts? If they do, will they win? Should PR agencies agree to re-pitch, or is this just a polite way of saying goodbye?
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