Nine challenges creative agencies face while pitching

Pitching is an integral part of creative agencies’ DNA for acquiring new business or even retaining the existing business. For something so integral to the success of an agency, it is alarming to know that the pitch process is mostly notoriously distraught. According to a Provoke Insights study done in 2015, approximately 47 per cent of advertising professionals surveyed said that they were dissatisfied with the current approach to pitching.

For agencies, pitching new business is often a drain on resources, time and morale, and it doesn’t always result in the best pairing of clients and their creative partners. BestMediaInfo.com interacted with industry leaders to weigh in the pain points of creative pitches.

Problems related to creative pitches are a vicious circle and to come out of it, one needs to identify them and then find solutions. This listicle is divided into two parts. The first part talks about the problems related to creative pitches and the second part will talk about the solutions.

This compilation is based on the conversation with Govind Pandey, CEO, TBWA; Kapil Arora, President, Ogilvy Group Companies, North, ‎Ogilvy & Mather; Ambarish Ray, Director, COO, Metal Communications; Shiv Sethuraman, The New Business; Vistasp Hodiwala, CCO and Co-Founder, Underdog and Shivil Gupta, ECD, Dentsu Impact.

No time for creatives to ideate

When a pitch is called by clients and a particular time is allotted to the agencies to prepare, most of that time is spent by the strategy and planning people on the pitch and then the creative directors are approached to look for an idea.

Gupta added, “The ratio of time spent by planning and creative is not right. More time is taken by the planning and strategy people and very less is given to the creative ones, which makes difficult to find insights.”

Also, time gap between briefing and calling for presentation is not enough. Sethuraman added, “Most clients don’t plan for enough time between briefing and asking for presentations. As a result, they don’t get great output and have to do multiple rounds.”

Say no to speculative creative pitches

Agencies should be careful before jumping into the speculative pitch well. One should do a proper background check on the brand, its expectations, scope and ambition before even agreeing to pitch. In the run to maintain business P/L, agencies tend to pitch for any brand without giving a much thought. A senior agency official said, “This generally happens with agencies that are either independent or struggling to maintain costs or the bigger ones that have pressures from their parent network and have too many people to deploy on any kind of a pitch.”

Pandey said, “The fact that you have limited number of people, you need to be choosy with the kind of brands you want to work with. A new business pitch is a big cost. A lot of time and resources are spent on it and that itself should limit the number of pitches you want to do.”

Trouble creative agencies for the pitch sake

Another problem that creatives talk about is that at times CMOs call pitches just for the sake of completely mandatory requirements of calling a pitch. At times, the marketers already have a set agency in their mind but call for a pitch for the sake of it. This happens when a marketer joins from another company and favours an agency he has worked with.

Excessive pitching depletes quality of creativity

A major contributor to long working hours, and in some cases staff burnout, is excessive pitching. It’s tough on the creatives because they are constantly being asked for new ideas. It is a demanding process.

Evergreen pitch fee problem

Agencies not being paid for pitching is a vicious problem for the industry. Unity is needed to come to a permanent solution and that is not happening soon. On the one hand, the agencies say they should be paid as a lot of time, money and creativity go in making even a sample presentation. On the other hand, many agencies are willing to present bids for free if clients don’t oblige. Although, there are a few agencies that do not pitch until they are paid a fee.

Pitching for projects

Although projects bring monies to the agencies in the short-term, but preparing for project pitches is a nuisance because it is for the short-term and agencies have to come up with ideas each time. There is no surety that the client would come back to the agency for another project or a longer term agreement as well.

Arora said, “The ticket size is so little that it makes the process very unviable. It is time wastage to spend one month of pitch preparation for a two-month project.”

Money matters!

Generally, the final discussion on money matters happens in the final round of any pitch. The agency charging les to the brand has a chance to be selected which puts the other agency’s hard work in vain. A senior official, who didn’t want to be quoted, said that it has happened with them a few times that in the final round when they are almost about to win the account, the client selects the agency that charged less.

Too many participants in the pitch

It is also another big problem where clients call too many agencies for a pitch. This wastes the client’s as well as the agencies’ time. The flocking number of independent agencies joining pitches throws competition to the bigger ones. Too many ideas also make it difficult for the clients to choose and simultaneously put unnecessary pressure on the agencies to compete with the bunch of fellow colleagues from the industry.

Pandey said, “The clients who don’t know their mind and what they are looking for, generally invite everybody. The pitch meetings become crowded with too many agencies.”

Evaluation metrics of agencies not clear

Sethuraman explains this point really well. He said, “In the best conducted pitches, the clients’ criterion of evaluation is always clear. For example, they might decide to give significant weightage to the past work of the agency and its local office strength and low weightage to the actual pitch campaign. But often this is not transparent so agencies don’t know what they’re being judged on.”

[“Source-bestmediainfo”]

Innovative financing for health: Insights from the Grand Challenges Award Repository

Kenya’s Ugunja Community Resource Center will empower community health volunteers in Western Kenya with field-tested, mobile phone software to individualize early child development care. Photo by: Grand Challenges Canada

A new database managed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing opportunities to better understand priorities for funders supporting innovative health projects.

Years in the making, the Grand Challenges Award Repository provides information on 2,009 projects that have been through funded seven innovative health initiatives since 2005 — including five grand challenges, Saving Brains and Saving Lives at Birth.

To understand how these initiatives are helping the development community in Going for Goals, Devex has analyzed the data and produced a visualization tool to unlock critical insights.

What are the funding priorities?

The Devex analysis of the dataset reveals infectious diseases tops innovative funding support according to the dataset. Since 2005, this sector of development health has received more than $550 million in funding for 1,057 projects providing new and innovative ideas to tackle, prevent and eliminate infectious diseases in the developing world.

Of the diseases the projects aim to support, HIV projects dominate, accounting for 199 projects and almost $100 million in funding since 2005. The peak for HIV projects was in 2011, where 44 were awarded funding. Malaria and tuberculosis projects are also high priorities for funders, according to the data, each receiving $51 million in funding support.

Funding for maternal and child health follows behind infectious diseases in priority, with $136 million in funding since 2005. And a long way behind that are mental health and WASH, both receiving $22 million in support since 2005.

With 1,300 projects in the database managed through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the focus on infectious diseases is unsurprising — it is a high priority for the organization. So far, they have invested $357 million into this area of innovative research.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health has also been an important source of funding for this area, managing $178 million worth of grants for infectious diseases since 2005.

But the dataset also shows that funding in support of innovation is allowing for experimentation and risk. For Grand Challenges Canada, 593 projects were classified as a “proof-of-concept” with 38 classified as “transition-to-scale.” Innovative funding for health is allowing for true innovation and impact of new ideas to be determined.

What is the geographic distribution?

The location of funding recipients shows a large sway toward research from the United States. A total of 771 projects have gone to the U.S., accounting for $393 million in grants. And a massive 86 percent of this goes directly to research and projects for infectious diseases.

The United Kingdom is a long way behind in second, with $93 million in funding followed by Canada with $57 million. Kenyan organizations have secured $34 million in funding and are ranked fourth in recipients, ahead of Germany and Australia.

In looking at the geographic location of projects, India tops the list in both number of projects (98) and funding (almost $20 million) thanks to Grand Challenges India. 2014 was their peak year for funding, with 36 projects accounting for $6 million. Maternal and child health is a focus for India-based projects, accounting for 26 projects and more than $8 million in funding. Close behind are projects responding to infectious disease — 25 projects and more than $4 million in funding.

Kenya and Uganda round out the top three for both number of projects and funding, with projects operating in these countries prioritizing maternal and child health needs within their borders.

Canada is the only western country to make the top 10 — ranked sixth for projects but 15th for funding with Grand Challenges Canada an important source of this.

Additional geographic data is available in the dataset that identifies countries supported by projects, however this is a field that is not predominantly populated within the database and provides only minor insight into impact. It is an area of the dataset that is hoped will be improved over time.

Click here to explore the Grand Challenges Award Repository data through our Tableau data visualization.

The challenge of collecting innovative funding data

Zach Charat, from the global health, discovery and translational sciences with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke to Devex about the purpose, development and future for the data repository — which he describes as been a long and demanding process.

“We wanted to create a data model that was powerful but limited,” he said. “Some of the initial conversations were crazy in terms of the tracking requests we had. But there was no way we could get the community to agree to everything, so we decided to simply focus on what is most useful — a core set of 20 or fewer fields to start with.”

Information within the database is provided by the managing organization of the grants, and the process of tracking funders and getting them to agree to the data fields for inclusion highlighted the issues with data collection on innovative funding.

Where the money goes, where the work is being done and potential beneficiaries are useful pieces of information that are available within the database, but not necessarily populated universally by the data providers.

“Most of the really juicy information is not in there — including outcomes,” Charat said. “But all of the data providers have a relatively clean checkbook, and can at least tell us where the money went.”

And it is still easily the most informative dataset available on innovative health funding, according to Charat. “We’ve got India in there, China in there, Korea in there,” he said. “I need to work on Israel but they only have a dozen. It’s actually quite complete — it is missing a few but if you are working on a dataset for innovative health funding, this is the most complete available.”

And the ease of accessibility to information makes this a valuable dataset for the development sector.

“Now we can answer question on a range of issues related to health funding, including maternal and child health funding,” Charat said. “Previously it would have taken weeks — or you would just have given up.”

What is the next stage for innovating funding data?

Now that the data is available, the priority is to convince the development community it is an important initiative to get behind and add even more value to the data.

“It would be great if each organization could track nuances in their data better, but we are in the early stages of collecting data and are focused on getting them out of the mud to see the value,” Charat said. “If they see value, organizations may look to hire a summer student to do a big clean up and provide more value.”

But there are also a range of options being trialled and tested for dynamic inputs, outputs and analytics.

“Some organizations want a dynamic API to collect their data but others may make a dozen grants per year — their upload process is manual,” Charat explained. “We are working through the development of the API to make it easy for an organization to hook into the dataset.”

Analysis in understanding the next stage of needs is important to progressing the database moving forward. The first generation of users are primarily funders who just want to understand what their colleagues are doing. Charat will be helping to scope the second generation use case of the site to identify and provide future services.

And increased datasets is also a priority in development.

“The next big one we are fishing for is the U.S. Agency for International Development data, particularly Saving Lives at Birth programs that are not currently managed by Gates Foundation or Grand Challenges Canada,” Charat said. “Saving Lives at Birth is a complicated one — even the grantees themselves don’t know who their funder is. It is a split funding disaster. That’s my last frontier in terms of big sets we need.”

For Charat, the possibilities of the stories and successes that can come out of the dataset are endless. “Once you get a good foundation of data, you can go crazy and dream up all sorts of really fun and potential applications,” he said.

[“Source-devex”]

Airtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services Offer

Airtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services OfferAirtel Challenges TRAI Decision Allowing Reliance Jio to Continue Free Services Offer
Bharti Airtel on Friday moved telecom dispute tribunal TDSAT against TRAI allowing Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to continue free promotional offer beyond stipulated 90 days, charging the telecom regulator of being a “mute spectator” to violations.

In its 25-page petition before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), Airtel – India’s largest private mobile services operator – asked the quasi-judicial body to direct TRAI to ensure that Reliance Jio does not provide its free voice and data plan beyond December 3.

Airtel alleged that violation of TRAI’s tariff orders has been continuing since March 2016, causing “significant prejudice and day-to-day loss” to it and “affecting its network” as it has to bear asymmetric traffic due to free call offer by Reliance Jio.

Jio first launched an inaugural free voice and data plan beginning September 4 and earlier this month extended it till March 31.

Giving reasons for its petition, Airtel said the “free services” continue in blatant violation of the TRAI’s Directions, Tariff Orders and the Regulations with “TRAI as a mute spectator.”
When the petition was mentioned before a bench of TDSAT on Friday, Jio counsel was present who asked to be impleaded as a party to the case. TRAI submitted that it needs 10 more days to take a decision.
TDSAT directed TRAI to come back with its decision on the next day and directed Reliance Jio to file an impleadment application.

Next date of hearing has been fixed for January 6, 2017. Airtel in the petition alleged that TRAI in its decision dated October 20 “erroneously concluded” that since the Jio’s promotional offer of free services was only valid till December 3, it is consistent with the “90 days” directions of TRAI.

“The TRAI further without affording any reasoning baldly, cryptically and in a non-transparent manner in violation of Section 11(4) of the TRAI Act concluded that the Tariff Plans offered by the said TSP are not non-compliant with IUC and are not predatory and discriminatory at present. The impugned decision of TRAI is thus bad in law and deserves to be quashed,” it said.

The appeal, it said, has been filed against TRAI’s October 20 decision as well as against its “continued failure to fulfil its statutory obligation” under TRAI Act by prohibiting the blatant violation of its own Tariff Orders and Regulations.

Tags: Airtel, Reliance Jio, TRAI, Jio Happy New Year Offer, India

[“source-ndtv”]

Flipkart challenges E-commerce entry Tax in Gujarat high court docket

Flipkart Challenges E-Commerce Entry Tax in Gujarat High Court

Gujarat high courtroom Thursday issued a word to the country authorities on a petition filed by using the net retail foremost Flipkart towards the access tax inside the nation on the goods sold via the e-tradeportals.

The division bench of chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi scheduled the followinglistening to for June 9.

Flipkart has claimed the tax is discriminatory, because no such tax is imposed on the products brought into Gujarat through different modes of sale.

It moved the HC after the Gujarat authorities amended the law to levy access tax on goods purchasedthrough e-commerce portals, seemingly to offer a levelplaying discipline to the investors and retailerswithin the kingdom.

The Gujarat Tax on entry of special items into local regions (modification) invoice, 2016, becomehanded on March 31. Now 15 percent entry tax is levied on the web purchases.

Flipkart’s contention is it does not promote any product itself but best affords a web platform toproducers/buyers, so the tax is unjustified.

the new law amends the phrase “importer” to cowl individuals whoconvey or facilitate to convey anycertain goods for intake, use or sale in Gujarat from any part of the country using on-line systems.”

down load the devices 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the cutting-edge tech news, product evaluations, and unique offers on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, E trade, Ecommerce, Flipkart, net