Thinking of asking your incumbent to re-pitch? How likely is it that they’ll win?
Historically, if you were an incumbent agency asked to re-pitch for the account (in any discipline) by your client 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, very interestingly, if you are currently contemplating putting your account up for grabs but want to give your incumbent the chance to try and hang on to your business, the odds that they will have improved.
Our research show that, for those pitches taking place in 2018, an incumbent agency invited to re-pitch was 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
What are the reasons for this change in fortune and what does it mean for you, the client?
- Firstly, clients are less frequently inviting their current agency to re-pitch “out of politeness” if they genuinely believe their agency has no chance of retaining the business. No-one has the time or bandwidth to sit through pointless and time-consuming pitches.
- Secondly, agencies are becoming more commercial in the way that they look at the reason behind the request from you to re-pitch and basing their decision as to whether to participate on tougher criteria. Is it procurement led and statutory? Or marketing/comms led and, therefore, more likely to be about dissatisfaction in the relationship or their performance (which could be successfully addressed), or a new person in the role who might want to appoint their own choice of partner. There is general acknowledgement amongst agencies that they are more likely to retain an account as an incumbent if the driving cause is cost or it’s procurement-led versus the personal and more emotional drivers of disappointment and dissatisfaction with service and output.
- Thirdly, agencies are being more honest with themselves about their chances of retaining an account; with the cost of pitching versus increasingly limited resources, they are more open to having those difficult, honest conversations, both internally and externally, in order to come to a decision.
- Finally, in previous years, the “new and shiny” would often take precedence over the “tried and tested”. Today, changing agency is a hugely complex, expensive and sometimes risky task and, for reassurance and comfort that the right call is being made, there has to be clear water between any new potential agency and the existing one.