Historically, if you were an incumbent asked to re-pitch for an account (in any discipline) you were basically on a hiding to nothing! When we last looked at the figures back in 2012, only 8% of incumbents asked to re-pitch actually retained the account.

We thought it was about time that we revisited the figures to see if the situation has changed, and we’re delighted to report that the odds have, indeed, improved!

Since the beginning of 2018, when an incumbent agency was asked to re-pitch they were successful in retaining the account on 32% of occasions. With agencies generally having around a 25% chance of winning an account (assuming that there are four agencies pitching), this means that incumbents now have a better than average chance of retaining an account if invited to re-pitch.

Change in fortune

So, what are the reasons behind the change in fortune? We believe there are a number of factors behind this.

  1. First, clients are getting better – or better advised – at not inviting  their current agency to re-pitch “out of politeness” if they have no chance of winning.
  2. Secondly, agencies are looking at the reason behind the request to re-pitch and using it as part of their assessment criteria. Is it procurement led and statutory, or marketing/comms led and, therefore, more about dissatisfaction in the relationship/performance, or (at worst) a new client wanting their own team? Clearly, the more that procurement is the driver of the review, the more likely it is that the incumbent will retain the account, as the issues are more rational and commercial than “emotional”.
  3. Thirdly, agencies are being more honest with themselves about their chances of retaining an account. This often involves having honest and difficult conversations, both internally and externally, in order to come to a decision.
  4. Finally, in previous years, the “new and shiny” would often take precedence over the “tried and tested”. Today, changing agency is a hugely complex and expensive task and there has to be clear water between any new agency and the existing one.

So if you are an incumbent agency, bear this in mind before you turn down a re-pitch. Your chances of keeping the account might be better than you think, providing that you know the reason behind the rethink.


Source: AARnewbizmoves