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The Art of Pitching


We are all familiar with that moment when your agency is invited for a pitch. Part of you is amazed by the new challenge and the opportunity of getting the job, but the other part is horrified by the huge amount of work you’ll need to handle in a tight schedule.

There was a shipwreck, and some people ended up on a deserted island. Now they have to survive. They have a small amount of time to work together, find food, chop some trees, make a raft and sail away ASAP. Pitching is very similar. You are always thrown into a new situation with a tight deadline, the end scenario is uncertain, so there is only one thing you can:


Start working right away and do your magic!

To be honest I didn’t see many pitches that were easy to handle (long timeframes are virtually nonexistent), so even if you get 1 month extra for your creative idea and presentation, sometimes it all ends up with this scenario: “Oh my god, we only have 1 week to do a presentation.”

You hear panic knocking on your door, anxiety is your best friend, and this is the environment you need to be creative in, and showcase your work to a client.

Here, I’m not gonna tackle the “How to handle panic” topic, instead, I’m gonna write about good sides of pitching. What is so good about them, and why are they, in my opinion, one of the most creative and collaborative moments of working in an agency.

There are a huge amount of good things going on when you are preparing for a pitch, and its not only sweat and tears 🙂

  • First, when you start preparing the pitch you and your team get a completely free “personal growth crash course”. Either you’ll behave like a champ and start solving those tasks, or you will come up with some lame excuses like: deadline is too short; I’m the only one who has the ideas; client product is so dumb etc. In our experience, these challenges, in the end get people feeling really good after a successful pitch, much stronger & happier…
  • Better team work. You just need to communicate with teammates, no hiding, and no backing up. Sometimes you can have a healthy arguing session, which is a great way to find out how people handle stress, deadlines and if they are able to listen to others.
  • Possibility of actually getting a job. Working with some new clients is like a breath of fresh air, and maybe you even get some extra rewards.

And yes, there is a great chance of disappointment (meaning: not getting the pitch), but at the end of the day everybody involved needs to know that this is just a playground, endless playground, where there is nothing to loose. Ok, except maybe some time for actually doing a pitch.


Waiting for a deadline — Panic mode


Art of pitching

Relax, this is how you become a pro. Not because you have all the time in the world to build an idea, but because you have just a few days to come up with one amazing concept that your client will love. That is a main difference between seniors and juniors in agency. Notice that a junior will always complain about the deadline. In the meanwhile, senior will just do it, and it will be freakin’ awesome. Senior is “the hustle guy”, solving problems and communicating.

Let’s rock’n’ roll.

Don’t wait for the fully detailed final idea to emerge right away. Most of the time, during a pitch preparation, it’s not gonna happen. As soon as you start getting some cool campaign ideas go to work. Draw/write, whatever… Why? Because, some ideas will develop while you are doing the “work”, and soon all the dots will connect. New details will emerge, and you will have more creative elements to enhance this initial idea. Me personally, I’m jumping on Photoshop right away(I am by vocation a designer), when I just have a glimpse of a cool campaign. So, get into the funky mode and start creating.

This is Sparta!

While you are progressing and building a presentation for a client, you will notice that your team is much stronger. Ideas start to fit and everybody is collaborative. You feel like you can win any client, and everybody is becoming confident in the “final presentation”. We’ll call it “the day”.


Your presentation needs to be like a fairytale. Serious, but funny, deep, but not complicated. Most of it all it needs to entertain the client, like some cool action movie. Use lots of sound/music if it’s possible. When you are explaining the concept, use videos — like stock videos, clients will love it. Use Gif animations, there is vast GIF library called, go there and find some WOW GIFs.


Art of pitching
Art of pitching


Always show them where they’ve been, and where they can be if they opt for your concept. People like to compare, maybe some of them are attached to their previous solution, so show them with some “before and after” images, that you are a perfect match for them.



Show, don’t tell

Yeah, yeah, I know everybody is saying this, but, seriously, are you really sure that you need more than 2–3 sentences on you presentation slides? If people listening to you, are people from marketing, they don’t need explanations on: typography, what is a body copy, or a claim. Just show them the solution.


Your solution in real world

Mockup is the king.


Art of pitching

Small things make difference

  • Use 16:9 ratio, instead of 4:3.
  • Don’t end your presentation with “thank you” slide. People need to have something to think about, something that will leave them wowed. So think about movies and about those endings where you don’t know what happened next, when you tingle the viewers imagination…well, it’s similar with presentations.
  • Don’t forget to bring your own speakers with a laptop or a tablet. You need your presentation to be in all its glory.
  • Don’t be pushy, listen to your client. What they have to say is important, so give their opinion some time and patience.
  • USB stick or some cool link to a presentation is a must.


The Presentation Team

Your team should be rested and in a good mood before a pitch, if not — try to make the atmosphere as comfortable as possible. We prefer going in this formation:

  • Account manager (he/she will do the talking and he will be the host of the presentation. He/she needs to have a rhythm (great presentation skills, and a good body language),
  • Creative director (he will be responsible for the creative idea — copy, design, applications etc., he needs to conquer, and get client to fall in love with the idea),
  • Technical guy — programmer or a developer (if it’s a digital pitch, he will answer questions like: how will this look on mobile? do you have you own server, what about security etc.)


The day — Presentation time!

Night before (it’s always the night before :)) there are always some details to be corrected, but… When time has come, all the typos are corrected, the only questions is — should we send in PPT, PDF or a KeyNote 🙂


In the end

Make sure that you leave at least 15–30 minutes for questions. Don’t present your concept as something that cannot be changed. It’s only an idea, not a live campaign. In the end give them something tangible, evidence that you should work together.

Hope this little article will help and inspire you. Let me know what are your experiences with pitching and what did you learn from them.


Happy pitching, people!