You’ve been approached by someone to participate in a pitch. Yet it will cost you money to participate. Is this fair?
This has been a sensitive issue for many in the business. It touches on search consultants who accept money from both sides of the agency/client relationship. It also touches on consultants or business models who don’t accept money from clients. Their models rely on agency compensation – they’re not paid by marketers.
You may feel differently, but to me, a “pay to play” scenario can work. But it can get messy.
Is a little transparency too much to ask? Having thought about this a bunch, maybe that’s the key. Does the marketer know what’s going on? Do the agencies? And are all parties comfortable with the arrangement? If they are, have at it. Who are we as transaction outsiders to cry foul?
Another key is the level of support being provided by the middle-man / connector. It starts getting mushy when the services being provided move beyond providing a simple list of qualified, interested agencies.
Here’s a related thought that will be far from the final one around this issue: we consultants should heal ourselves! We just shouldn’t take money from clients if we also take money from agencies. It’s too easy to see how this kind of situation would influence the service and outcome of a given pitch. Very slippery slope.
Find out more about this in another post: http://thunderclapcg.com/new-business-vs-search-consultants/.