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Recipe for Pitch Success – Key Ingredients from An Agency Perspective


As the PRCA’s newly appointed Head of Matchmaker, I wanted to find out exactly what makes a perfect pitch process from an agency perspective. Thank you to all the inspirational agency leaders that I’ve met so far and for your contributions to the ‘Recipe for Pitch Success’.

The Key Ingredients:

Clear Brief

It may seem obvious, but it all starts with a clear, well written brief. This should include strategy, goals, audience segmentation, target media, KPIs and budget. An explanation as to why PR is being reviewed is also useful.

Budget Transparency

Agencies require a clear idea of budgets to be able to propose a suitable PR plan. A ball park figure is better than no figure. And clarity regarding fees and costs is also important. A lack of budget transparency impacts an agency’s ability to suggest the most appropriate strategy and tactics, ultimately hindering the creative, campaign and results.


A Q&A call after the brief has been shared and reviewed is incredibly useful. There is also a growing trend towards having Tissue sessions, an opportunity for agencies to test strategic and creative concepts with the client prior to pitch. ‘Available’ clients are always very much appreciated, happy to take a call/for a WhatsApp message outside of the official check in points.

Defined Objective

Everyone needs to be on the same page when determining what ‘success’ at the end of a campaign will look like.  What is the RESULT/OUTCOME that the client is looking for at the end of the campaign.

Pitch Expectations

Clients need to be clear about what they do and don’t want to see in the pitch. For example, does the client want to see big creative thinking, or are they needing an ‘always-on’ press office. Is the client looking for a ‘Bronze, Silver, Gold’ approach when it comes to activity/fees? Also transparency when it comes to the decision-making criteria for selecting the successful agency.

Business Background

Why is the client undertaking the PR review process?  In order to build a meaningful campaign, agencies will be wanting business info incl key research, segmentation, targeting, positioning, Agencies may also ask to undertake mystery shopper exercises or to talk to key parts of the business as part of the research and insights process.

Specific Timelines

Allow agencies a realistic amount of time to respond to a brief - they will deliver a better and more in-depth response. Give the agency enough time to build in a pre-pitch Q&A call and, depending on the size of the account, a Tissue meeting to build rapport. If a client has internal issues that will mean that dates are not going to be met, let the agency know.

Stakeholder Engagement

The best pitch processes are the ones where every stakeholder is fully committed to the process and the client team has taken the time to think and properly plan out each stage so there is a clear path to responding. Client stakeholders need to be clear on what they are looking for from an agency partner.

The Pitch

In an industry where chemistry and people are essential ingredients to success it’s great to have the opportunity to present face-to-face. Agencies will have a chance to shine as a team and build chemistry as opposed to submitting a written document alongside many other agencies where team chemistry – which is key– can’t be measured. With all the time and effort that goes into a pitch response, no more than 3 agencies pitching makes for a fair pitch process. And ensure key stakeholders are present for ALL agency pitches.

Post Pitch

The client has chosen a preferred agency but do feedback to the unsuccessful agencies. Not only does it make an agency feel valued but it also provides learnings.


Matchmaker is the PRCA’s free agency search and selection service. Matchmaker agencies are bound by the PRCA Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct and all accredited with the quality kitemark Communications Management Standard (CMS)