Why you should fix your agency roster


In 2020 Observatory International considered the benefits of marketers improving their agency relationships rather than hitting “the dating scene”. At that time they were going through what seemed like a period of unprecedented uncertainty. Fast forward three years and we continue to be in uncertain times. A cost of living crisis, a war in Ukraine and the climate crisis have all contributed to further turbulence for clients and agencies alike.

There’s been a flurry of pitches reported in the first quarter of 2023 and whilst it’s known that pitching is sometimes the right solution and it is one of the areas The Observatory International specialise in, it is also known that for many brands now may not be the time to run a pitch. Instead fixing, not pitching may still be the most appropriate first step before embarking on any agency search process.

Take reasonable steps to resolve and renew
The Observatory International’s “Pitch Positive Pledge” encourages brands to take reasonable steps to reach a successful renewal of the agency relationship, and pitches should only be necessary to achieve business objectives or governance requirements. This is partly because the cost of pitching remains high both from a monetary perspective as well the toll pitching can have on an agency. Observatory International estimated that in total a client marketing team can expect to spend 35-40 days on an average pitch, excluding any additional procurement and legal counsel. In addition to this, it costs an agency in the region of £100,000+ and 72 days of people time for an average pitch process. With current budget restraints and increasing business costs, the significant costs of pitching for both sides weighed up against the need to pitch has to be considered before embarking on any process.

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