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Free pitch debate

 

Agency gets invited to a 3-way pitch for a well-known UK Co they’d really like to work with.  Oh, and the project’s a perfect fit. Only catch? It’s a free pitch. What next?

 

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DBA member James Good of James Good found himself in this very predicament. Rather than fight those internal free-pitching demons alone (“Go on we can win it. It’ll be worth all the effort, studio time, late-nights…” you know the kind of thing that gets the adrenalin rushing), he opened up his dilemma to the wider design community for comment via the DBA’s lively LinkedIn Group. The upshot: an unreservedly united stance against free pitching and a flurry of reflective discussion about where the responsibility lies – with clients or the industry itself?

 

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The message out of the DBA Group is simple: stand firm together as an industry and the momentum will change. But, for as long as there are agencies willing to give away their creative for free, clients will continue to expect it. (And amazingly, even in some cases, get away with charging the agency to pitch.)

But if you refuse to free pitch, how can you keep your business in the frame for the job? Design-sector consultant and trainer Shan Preddy’s ‘perfectly crafted response’ to James offered a step-by-step action plan of what to do and how to respond to the client (read her views here). With a nod from Shan and others to no-pitch guru and fellow DBA Expert Blair Enns (www.winwithoutpitching.com), supporting advice from new business consultant Stef Brown on how to get fair payment from a client for a pitch, signposting to DBA guides on this issue, and a wealth of positive support and shared experiences from peers, the LinkedIn discussion provides any agency facing the same dilemma with an armory of weapons to tackle the free pitching question head on.

And even if, like James, you aren’t successful in convincing that particular client to change their mind, the chances are those free pitching demons wouldn’t have been right anyway. Does the significant amount of time, cost and effort involved really ever get fully recovered? Better to leave the client with an impression of a professionally run design business - and the door open for future conversations more in line with your own pitching values!

The DBA’s LinkedIn Group now stands at 3500 members, the majority of who operate at a senior level. The Group can act as a window to a goldmine of experience and debate on the issues you’re facing.

If you haven’t joined the Design Business Association’s LinkedIn Group yet, sign up today and benefit from this discussion and many others, in full.

Go to LinkedIn

More ammunition:

A client’s point of view: Why the ‘free pitch’ serves no-one well
Download this cast iron case against unpaid creative work, written by client Tom Foulkes and outlining why the free-pitch is as bad for clients as it is agencies. Click here

Guides for DBA Members
Access the DBA’s guide to why free pitching is wrong and download an example letter for clients on the reasons why you won’t provide unpaid creative.

Click here

DBA Expert Blair Enns on free pitching: www.winwithoutpitching.com

DBA Expert Shan Preddy on free pitching: download the guide

Guides for Clients
Best practice guides to help clients to choose the right designer including a guide to pitches. Click here

 

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