I read an article in Campaign recently where one of the ‘pitch doctor’s was delighted to report that business was continuing to improve.
In essence they were celebrating the fact that an increasing number of Clients were so dissatisfied with their agency that they were prepared to suffer the business disruption, message discontinuities and significant costs that inevitably surround a pitch.
It seems to me that this is the equivalent of a divorce lawyer celebrating an increase in the number of divorces.
Well it’s good for their business even if it’s a potential calamity for society as a whole.
I found myself asking a couple of rather disturbing questions.
Is the Agency Client relationship doomed to be transient?
Or is there something inherent in the nature of the marcomms business that means we are for ever trapped in a cycle of pitch and pitch again?
In a business which is now trumpeting the virtues of consumer engagement and relationship management it seems a cruel irony that its own relationships are so fragile and temporal.
Some blame the fast turnover of CMO’s and the knee jerk reaction to call a pitch as part of the new incumbent making his mark.
Others feel it is all a consequence of the febrile atmosphere which surrounds the death throes of the old Agency model and the lack of any real sense of anew direction.
Or perhaps it’s simply a function of an over supplied Agency market desperate to woo any business at any price.
What is certain is that whilst the vicious cycle of pitching continues marketing will remain in the words of Market Leader magazine (Quarter 1 2010) ‘the least efficient process in business today.’
If and until, as Market Leader suggests, the process of creating marcomms is ‘simplified and streamlined’, inefficiency seems to be the unwanted guest at the table.
What is clear is that unless consistent attention is given to the way a Client and their Agency engage there is little possibility of creating clear and consistent engagement between the Client and the consumers.
We will revert to the old interruption model….
…. this is our message to you until it is interrupted by a pitch and then you’ll be interrupted by somebody else’s message