We’ve stopped doing pitches and spec work – and here’s why.

3 min read
Jonny Pathan
An empty chair at a desk

We recently decided to stop pitching for work and we want to explain why.

Pitching is bad for business. Ours, yours and everyone else’s.

Taking the decision to stop pitching is quite a large one. We are regularly asked to pitch for work and it requires us to spend lots of time doing free work for a company that may or may not choose us in the end.

It’s usually some form of competition against multiple agencies and more often than not, the agency offering the lowest prices wins the pitch.

That’s the thing with spec work, tenders and pitching, it’s usually a decision decided by money, which, for both parties is surely not a good thing?

Creating a website requires a huge amount work being done if you are serious about building excellent websites.

The information and planning required before building a site are crucial and often a lengthy process.

How is it possible that some agencies pitching already know what a site will look like before truly understanding the main objectives of the website? They don’t. That’s the truth, it’s a bit of an easy way to win a job. Show someone something pretty and hope they don’t think about the true objective of having a website.

We could do that all day long if we wanted to, but here’s why we don’t.

“Clients risk compromised quality. Little time, energy and thought can go into speculative work, which precludes the most important element of most design projects—the research, thoughtful consideration of alternatives, and development and testing of prototype designs.”– AIGA, The professional association for design

Project briefs that you receive for pitch work are often quite limited. Understandably, companies may not want to give everything away until they are working with their chosen agency.

This is the biggest problem though, how can we pitch for a project without truly knowing your objectives. If we did pitch, it would be 50% guesswork, we wouldn’t truly know your company, your audience or your industry. We’d be pitching an idea based on limited knowledge.

Would we have created personas, studied data, looked at competitor sites to see what works and what doesn’t? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Imagine you planned to get an extension built on to your property. You invite five builders around to build a small wall each, you then commission the builder who’s wall you like the most to finish the job. They’re the only one that gets paid.

Is that not a bit odd?

It’s not that we’re anti-pitching, we love to meet new clients and get to know them. We’re just not convinced that pitching gives a true reflection of the job at hand.

Any agency worth their salt probably won’t pitch. It’s a worrying signal that the project is not being taken seriously.

Decisions should be made off of things such as: Do we all get along? What’s our previous work like? What sort of information have we given you?

I hope this gives some insight into why we’ve stopped pitching, this is something all agencies should consider.

Value what you do and value the customers who appreciate what you do.

If would like a to speak to a team about creating a website that achieves a purpose, we’d love to speak to you.

Pitching is bad for business. Ours, yours and everyone else’s.

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