Having spent my career on the vendor side of the table talking with marketers and technologists about their needs I recently sat on the other side. And it was quite the eye-opening experience.
We were listening to pitches to develop research around shopper marketing and the path-to-purchase and here's what I noticed.
- While there was a project brief and opportunity to discuss in detail well before presenting, the opening gambit consisted of canned scripts. "We're this; we've worked with them; we do the stuff you asked for." Boring and not relevant; we did our homework - that's why you were invited in the first place. Cut to the chase.
- Our needs don't fit a standard model - in fact that's precisely why we're not doing the work ourselves - so presenting a canned approach doesn't help your cause much. Teasing this out of a written brief might be difficult, but a little research on our company - and who would be in the meeting - would have shed some light. Do your homework.
- Style and personality matters a lot more than I thought. Just like an ad agency, we know that whatever is pitched now won't ever see the light of day - there's work to be done to get it right. We're looking at you asking the question: 'would you deliver the results and make our decision look good?' Project passion, not a project.
- The level of interest in the work ranged from: "We don't do precisely that, we'll get back to you." to "That would be really different and cool." I have respect for both answers, be honest with yourselves. It is OK to not win our business if it isn't your business. Fold or go all in.
- While we asked for pricing, it wasn't really meant to be the final number but rather a means of testing the assumptions - both yours and ours. So, don't get upset that the rules of the game changed (usually by adding stuff we hadn't considered.) Custom doesn't come from a price list.