Are you ready to pitch in person again…?

We had a client ask us recently whether they could conduct a pitch presentation in-person rather than online. Interesting question. Because while I have my own views, it’s not something that can be answered with an easy yes or no – irrespective of businesses that may or may not be opening around us during Covid.

As a starting point, I asked the question of my 2,000 or so followers in a LinkedIn survey which, while not scientific, I felt would at least provide a sense of where some Canadian marketers and agencies were with their views. The result showed a split down the middle with 51% saying they’re not ready to pitch in person, together with some polarizing comments on both sides.

With that kind of split, the answer would seem to be a pretty resounding ‘no‘ at the moment. But what if you really want to meet your team before selecting your agency of choice, and conduct a chemistry session in person?

If that’s an approach you’re contemplating – here are some things you should consider while the current climate prevails – irrespective of your own personal views:

  1. If you’d like to see a chemistry session (or pitch) in person, make it a request – not a requirement
  2. Be clear you respect the agency’s policy around in-person meetings and it’s their choice
  3. If you’re seeing more than one agency for your chemistry session and one says ‘no‘, change the other(s) to online sessions to ensure fairness for all.
  4. Recognize that even if agencies do pitch in-person, some staff may choose not to participate and be comfortable if some members choose to join online
  5. Be clear that if they choose not pitch in-person this will not negatively impact your decision (i.e. it’s not a decision criteria)
  6. Confirm everyone on your search team will follow safety protocols around social distancing and wearing masks and whatever additional protocols the agency may request
  7. Keep the numbers small and book a venue that’s outside

While we all continue to stumble our way through these uncertain times, this will likely remain a hot and sensitive topic for many months to come. So rather than consider this a complete list, let’s call it a work in progress and additional thoughts and comments are welcome.

Stephan Argent is Founder and Principal at Listenmore Inc offering confidential advisory to marketers looking for truly independent insight and advice they can’t find anywhere else.

Photo: 35mmMan
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