‘We can moan about the process, it’s not going anywhere’: Mark Coad talks pitching in 2024

Industry stalwart Mark Coad accepts and agrees that the pitch process can be an “onerous” task, but he believes the industry must adapt to it.

On a new episode of Mumbrella’s one-on-one podcast series, the IPG Mediabrands CEO sat down with host Neil Griffiths to talk about a number of topics, including the pitch process, which has drawn more criticism this year.

READ MORE: ‘It’s costly, it’s disruptive, and it rarely results in the best work’: Has pitching become adland’s poisoned apple?

While the subject has remained a hot talking point over the years, Coad believes the process hasn’t changed in 2024.

“I mean, it comes and goes. There are times where the requirements of a pitch process are quite onerous,” he said.

“The last sort of incarnation of that… was the role of procurement and media pricing. I think that went overboard a couple of years ago. That’s wound back in. But I haven’t seen a real change in the way clients are pitching.

Mark Coad

“I often say, it’s part of what we do, you know? We can moan about the process. It’s not going anywhere. Like we’re barking at the moon, right? But we can have a point of view on whether the processes that they’re asking of us are too onerous.”

Coad said he has been a part of some pitches that are extremely well run and that agencies are entitled to have conversations with pitch consultants or the clients themselves about what is being asked of them.

He added that he has also worked with clients who are also happy to have those conversations.

“If I walked into a legal office and said: ‘This is my case, I’d like you to prepare a response for me. I’m going to ask another three lawyers to do the same thing. And if I like it, I’ll pay for it, I’ll buy it from you.’ They tell me to get stuffed, right?  But we’re not lawyers. We’ve got to be realistic about that.

“Clients are entitled to have a rummage around under the hood to see if we’re the type of people they want to work with and whether we’re able to help them solve their problems.

“The same way we’re entitled to brief three tradies to put plans together to help us build a house…  it’s kind of a cost of doing business. My view is it’s part of the game as long as they don’t ask for more than what’s reasonable.”

Listen to the full podcast with Coad here.


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