Pitching: what makes a winner

What makes a pitch stand out? What are the top tips for pitching to corporate clients? What about the budgets, presentation formats and the absolute No No’s?

C & IT Agency Forum took place from 3 – 5 August 2016 at ExCeL London and held a session about pitching and what makes a winner. The discussion was moderated by Alison Williams, Head of Events at Loreal UK and panellists included Emma Chandisingh, Head of Events and Engagement at Roche, Sally Holt, Senior Project Manager at ITV Events and Ashleigh Jackman, Vice President, Relationships & Events at Barclays Corporate & International.

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What makes a pitch stand out

The session kicked off with sharing top tips that will make pitches stand out. The panellists suggested that most interesting conversations happen when they discuss objectives. Important for the agency to understand the objectives and what clients are trying to achieve. The agency can add value by giving an outside perspective and by questioning and challenging the objectives.

Clients like to see something fresh and different. For example, one agency did the pitch as requested and in the last slide said “have you thought about this”. This fresh thinking impressed the judges.

Also very important to plan who you bring to pitch. Often agencies bring people who are not going to work on the project and this is wrong. Instead, they should use this opportunity to build rapport with the client and introduce team members who will be working with the client on a day-to-day basis.

In addition, clients want to see agencies taking a creative risk and demonstrating awareness of the industry and what the competitors are doing.

Lastly, do your research and understand the industry very well, e.g. – pharma codes. For clients it’s frustrating when agencies pitch something that they can’t do.


Clients sometimes don’t put budgets into pitches because of two reasons. Firstly, because they did it in the past and saw that the proposals came back just few £ below the budget. Secondly, because sometimes they don’t have a budget and if good idea comes they might be able to find the money. Only the shortlisted companies will get further info about the budgets and possibilities.

When the budget is given, don’t demonstrate disregard to budget and show what is achievable. Pitches above the budget will lose interest immediately.

Lastly, clients would love to have budget options, such as gold, silver and bronze.


The client is looking for someone to be an extension of their team. Therefore it’s important that the dynamics with the client and their extended team works. Getting back to the point made earlier about bringing the right people to pitch, clients want to see who they will be working with on a day-to-day basis.


Visual presentations are recommended. Visualise how the event will look like and take the client on a journey. This can be through images or video. Also know who you’re pitching to. Very often the client will take the pitch to show to brand owners and it has to be clear to them what the final product will look like.

No No’s

  • Don’t know how to pronounce the terminology and client’s name.
  • Not having done the research, clients can tell.
  • No energy and flat pitches.
  • Not following brand guidelines.

To conclude, clients will be willing to help during the pitch process and have an open discussion. Use the opportunities – call, ask for a meeting and have questions.

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